Greece – Appellate Court of Piraeus rules on vulnerability exception from border procedures

Thursday, May 10, 2018

On 10 May, the Piraeus Administrative Court of Appeal ruled on a case concerning the exception of vulnerable persons from accelerated border procedures in Greece.

The applicant had applied for international protection, with the examination of his request being subject to the accelerated border procedures. After his initial rejection, an appeal was lodged before the Greek Appeals Authority. Pending the appeal, the applicant was diagnosed with a medical condition that ex lege classified him as vulnerable. The Appeals Committee, however, did not refer the appellant’s case to the regular procedure. Instead, the Committee held that his application was lawfully examined under the border procedure and dismissed the appeal.

On appeal, the court observed that, although the Appeals Committee recognised the vulnerable status of the applicant, it failed to correctly assess the procedural requirements triggered by his vulnerability. As stated, such an assessment should have resulted in the exception of the applicant from the border procedure, regardless of whether the asylum application would be examined in its merits under the regular procedure.

The Court further remarked that the Committee’s considerations regarding the nature and effects of vulnerability categorisation are unlawful. The Committee had reasoned that vulnerability is related to the need to ensure special treatment of asylum seekers at the reception stage, and does not constitute a qualification-related element. Moreover it had stated that the only effect of vulnerability is the enjoyment of longer procedural time limits, adding that the applicant should prove that procedural injury took place due to miscategorisation. The Court, however, dismissed all three contentions, indicating that their acceptance would amount to rendering the legally guaranteed protection of vulnerable groups among asylum seekers irrelevant. It went on to annul the contested decision and to remit the case to the administrative authorities, to be examined according to the regular procedure.

Based on an unofficial translation by the ELENA Weekly Legal Update. An excerpt from the judgment in Greek can be found here.

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.




Accelerated procedure
Procedural guarantees
Vulnerable person