Germany - Administrative Court of Cologne, 02 June 2015, case no. 16 K 2829/14.A

Country of Decision:
Country of Applicant:
Date of Decision:
Decision of 02 June 2015, case no. 16 K 2829/14.A
Court Name:
Administrative Court of Cologne
National / Other Legislative Provisions:
Germany - VwGO (Code of Administrative Court Procedure) Article 84(1)
Germany - VwGO (Code of Administrative Court Procedure) 113(1)
Germany - AsylvfG (Asylum Procedure Act) - § 26a
Germany - AsylvfG (Asylum Procedure Act) - §34a
Germany - GG (Basic Law for the Federal Republic of Germany) - Article 16a(1)(2)
Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly versionPDF version of SummaryPDF version of Summary

When enforcing the Dublin III Regulation, the deporting country must verify whether the asylum procedure in the intermediary country sufficiently guarantees that the applicant will not be subject to a treatment which violates Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights. The deportation order was illegitimate due to inadequate conditions for the reception of asylum seekers and recognised refugees in Greece and the serious risk of inhuman or degrading treatment for asylum seekers and recognised refugees in Greece.



The Applicants applied for asylum in Germany on 28 October 2013. Applicant 1 has previously applied for asylum in Italy and Norway and Applicant 2 has previously applied for asylum in Greece, The Netherlands and Norway. It is unclear if and where Applicant 3 has previously applied for asylum. The Applicants filed a claim on 19 May 2014, reporting that their refugee and residency statuses in Greece were unclear and they had not even had a personal interview with the Greek authorities. However, according to an e-mail from the Greek Federal Office dated 8 August 2014, the Applicants were recognised as refugees in Greece and hold Greek residency permits valid until 30 July 2017. On 27 October 2014, the German Federal Office for Migration and Refugees denied the application for asylum in Germany and ordered the deportation of the Applicants to Greece on the basis that Greece is a safe third country. The Applicants challenged the administrative decision of 27 October 2014. 

Decision & Reasoning: 

The Court acknowledged that Greece is a Member State of the European Union and as such considered to be a safe third country in accordance with the German Asylum Procedure Act. However, the Court held that due to the poor conditions for the reception of refugees in Greece, it couldn’t be excluded with the required certainty that the Applicants wouldn’t be exposed to inhuman or degrading treatment within the meaning of Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights. Therefore, the deportation order was unlawful. 


The Applicants succeeded in their action. The Federal Office’s deportation order of 27 October 2014 was rescinded. 

Subsequent Proceedings : 

The mere fact that a country has legal arrangements in place and has signed up to international treaties which provide guarantees in respect of human rights does not mean that the country has adequate protection against the risk of mistreatment. In this case, there was sufficient evidence to establish that the Greek authorities do not enforce the laws which aim to set the minimum standards for the reception of asylum seekers, as provided for in the Directive 2003/09/EG. In the case of the deportation of an asylum seeker to an intermediary country, the deporting country is responsible to verify whether the applicant will be at risk of torture or inhuman or degrading treatment in the country of destination.


This case summary was written by Linklaters LLP.

This case summary was proof read by Julia Oberndorfer, a law student at Leibniz Universität Hannover.