France - Council of State, 13 February 2012, n° 356457

Country of Decision:
Country of Applicant:
Date of Decision:
CE, 13 February 2012, n°356457
Court Name:
Council of State
National / Other Legislative Provisions:
France - Ceseda (Code of the Entry and Stay of Foreigners and Asylum Law)
France - CJA (Code of Administrative Justice)
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An administrative authority seriously and manifestly illegally violated the right to asylum by refusing on principle to register an asylum application on the sole ground that the party concerned would not be accompanied by an interpreter for an additional interview. That situation constituted an emergency situation pursuant to article L. 521-2 of the French Code of Administrative Justice.


The Minister of Interior brought a challenge before the Council of State against an order of the urgent applications judge of the Toulouse administrative court. According to the Minister of Interior, the urgent applications judge committed a mistake of law by holding that the refusal to register the Applicant’s application for admission to stay constituted an emergency situation. The Minister also challenged the order to the Prefect of Haute Garonne to inform the party concerned in writing of his rights and obligations in a language he could understand.

Decision & Reasoning: 

Firstly, the Council of State reiterated the terms of Article R. 741-2 of the Code on the Admission and Residence of Aliens and the Right of Asylum (Ceseda), according to which “an alien who has not already been given permission to residein France can request permission to remain for asylum pursuant to Article L. 741-1”, and referred to the documents which the party concerned must provide in support of his application.

Concerning the information to be provided on the Applicant’s entry into France and his travel itinerary, the Council of State reiterated that, if the prefecture is entitled to request further information, “it should not, for that purpose, require the asylum seeker to attend accompanied by an interpreter”.

Furthermore, the Council of State found that the direction the interested party had received from the prefecture service did not provide information about his rights and obligations which Article R. 741-2 stipulates should be given to him in a language he understands.

The Council of State also found that the letter sent to the asylum seeker on 19 December 2011 inviting him to contact an interpreter at his expense to assist him during the interview at the prefecture, failing which he would be considered to have a sufficient understanding of French, was not adequate to make up for the irregularity noted.

Finally, the CE held that, if the administrative authority was entitled to refuse an incomplete file, in this case it had seriously and manifestly unlawfully violated the right to asylum “by refusing a priori and in principle to register the asylum application on the sole ground that the party concerned was not accompanied by an interpreter”, without examining his file; therefore the urgent applications judge of the Administrative Court was right in law to find that this constituted an emergency situation.


The appeal by the Ministry of Interior, Overseas, Regional Authorities and Immigration was rejected.


This decision relates to the prefectural phase of the asylum application procedure in France, relating to admission to stay (see Overview).