Netherlands: District Court of the Hague invalidates provisions of national law in breach of recast Reception Conditions Directive

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

On 24 January 2018, the District Court of The Hague ruled in case AWB 17/13382 which concerned an asylum applicant whose application was considered manifestly unfounded and who received a return decision accompanied by a ten-year entry ban. The applicant appealed against these decisions. Pending the outcome of his appeal, he was informed that he would no longer be entitled to benefits in kind under the 2005 Regulation on benefits for asylum seekers and other categories of foreign nationals, in accordance with Article 5 of that Regulation which establishes that an applicant shall no longer benefit from benefits in kind after the expiry of the period for voluntary return. The applicant appealed against this decision on the basis of the recast Reception Conditions Directive.

The District Court of The Hague understood that the negative asylum decision the applicant had received did not constitute a final decision within the meaning of Article 2(b) of the recast Reception Conditions Directive. This understanding is supported by Article 2(e) of the recast Asylum Procedures Directive, which defines a “final decision” as one that is no longer subject to a remedy. Therefore, according to the District Court, the applicant has the right to material reception conditions under the recast Reception Conditions Directive until a decision has been taken on his appeal against the negative asylum decision and return decision. The fact that the applicant, as a result of the negative asylum decision and the entry ban, can no longer be considered to have “lawful residence” under Section 8 of the Dutch Aliens Act is not relevant in that regard. Therefore, the District Court declared Articles 5 and 7 of the Dutch 2005 Regulation on benefits for asylum seekers to be contrary to EU law and are, thus, not legally valid. It found it unnecessary to refer preliminary questions to the CJEU on this topic.

Based on an unofficial translation by the ELENA Weekly Legal Update.

This item was reproduced with the permission of ECRE from the weekly ELENA legal update supported by the Fundamental Rights and Citizenship Funding Programme and distributed by email. The purpose of these updates is to inform asylum lawyers and legal organizations supporting asylum seekers and refugees of recent developments in the field of asylum law. Please note that the information provided is taken from publicly available information on the internet. Every reasonable effort is made to make the content accurate and up to date at the time each item is published but no responsibility for its accuracy and correctness, or for any consequences of relying on it, is assumed by ECRE, the IRC or its partners.



Final decision
Material reception conditions
Reception conditions