The Netherlands: Assurances of access to legal aid required in transfers to Greece

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

On 23 October 2019, the Council of State published its ruling concerning the return of applicants of international protection to Greece.
The applicant, a Syrian national, submitted an application for international protection in the Netherlands after arriving from Greece. The Secretary of State rejected this application on the grounds that Greece was responsible for processing the application under the Dublin III Regulation. The applicant submitted that he should not be transferred to Greece due to the serious deficiencies in reception and asylum procedures.
Referencing information from various sources, including the 2019 AIDA report, the Council highlighted limited access to legal aid by international protection applicants in appeals procedures and its impact on access to effective remedies. While a lack of access to legal aid does not ordinarily amount to a violation of Article 3 ECHR or Article 4 EU Charter, the circumstances in this particular case were such that meant ill treatment was foreseeable.

The Council held that returns to Greece cannot take place unless legal aid can be guaranteed to asylum applicants, or unless there are individual guarantees that asylum applicants will be appointed legal representation upon return. 
The Weekly Legal Update and EDAL would like to thank Sadhia Rafi, the Dutch ELENA coordinator, for informing ECRE about this judgment.

Photo: Jeffrey Beall, August 2010, Flickr (CC)

This item was reproduced with the permission of ECRE from the ELENA Weekly 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 pusexblished but no responsibility for its accuracy and correctness, or for any consequences of relying on it, is assumed by ECRE.



Dublin Transfer
Inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment
Legal assistance / Legal representation / Legal aid