Belgium – Council of State suspends registration quota on asylum requests

Date: 
Thursday, December 20, 2018

On 20 December, the Belgian Council of State decided to suspend a measure introducing a cap on the number of asylum application registrations.

The decision, which limited the number of possible registrations to 50-60 per day, was challenged before the Council of State by several civil society organisations. The Council of State assumed competence and dismissed the government’s arguments against the urgent procedure, finding that the risks that prospective asylum applicants were facing, due to the contested measure, could not be the subject of an ordinary procedure.

The Council took note of the applicants’ repeated attempts to return to the registration office, in order to submit an asylum application, to conclude that such a measure constitutes a barrier to the effective exercise of a fundamental right. It further disagreed with the government’s argument that the current measure only postpones and does not bar the exercise of the right to asylum, by referring to the fundamental nature of the right to apply for asylum recognised to everyone fleeing persecution and in the meaning of the 1951 Geneva Convention and the national law.

Lastly, the Council particularly stressed the importance of Article 7 (1) of the Asylum Procedures Directive, which obliges the Member States to make sure that every person, whether a minor or an adult, has the right to make an asylum request. In this connection, the Council concluded that prima facie the contested act makes it unreasonably difficult to gain effective access to the procedure.

The Council decided to suspend the measure with immediate effect.


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. 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.   

                                                     

 

Keywords: 
Effective access to procedures
Procedural guarantees