Netherlands: Transfers to Italy halted due to lack of individual guarantees

Friday, July 28, 2017

In a judgment on 30 June 2017, the Dutch Council of State halted a Dublin transfer to Italy due to a lack of individual guarantees in relation to the treatment of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) of a minor. Similarly, in a case decided by the Court of first instance in The Hague, a transfer to Italy was stopped on the account of a lack of clarity and guarantees asked by the State Secretary to the Italian authorities.
In the first case, the 12-year old daughter of two applicants suffered from severe PTSD for which she received specialised treatment in the Netherlands, which according to a medical professional should not be hampered by an interruption. Contrary to this, the State Secretary had informed the Italian authorities that the girl suffered from torture or physical violence but that she was not undergoing treatment at the moment. PTSD was not mentioned in the communication. The Council of State, thus, decided that the State Secretary had transferred insufficient and incorrect information and thus acted carelessly. The appeal was granted and the transfer halted. The State Secretary is consequently obliged to take a new decision taking this judgment into account.
The case in front of the Court of first instance of The Hague concerned a Dublin transfer to Italy of an applicant who had previously been transferred from Switzerland to Italy under the Dublin III Regulation. In that occasion and one day after the transfer, the Italian authorities had already issued a negative decision which did not contain details on the state of the procedure or information on the hearing of the applicant. The applicant declared that the Italian authorities had not granted him the opportunity to motivate his asylum claim. The Court of The Hague decided that this shows that the Dutch authorities cannot automatically assume the inter-state principle of legitimate expectation and that the Dutch authorities should first inform themselves about the procedure after the applicant was transferred from Switzerland. Several questions are suggested in relation to the availability of a hearing, detention and the asylum procedure. The Court advanced that the answer to these questions is relevant for the case since the answers will show whether the Dutch authorities can assume the inter-state principle of legitimate expectation and whether the applicant will be able to properly substantiate his asylum claim. The Court therefore stopped the transfer and quashed the previous administrative decision.

These articles are based on an unofficial translation by the ELENA Weekly Legal Update. We would like to thank Ruben Fierens, AIDA Legal Officer, for his collaboration.  


This item was reproduced with the permission of ECRE from the weekly ELENA legal update supported by the Fundamental Rights and Citizenship Funding Programme and distributed by email. 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, the IRC or its partners.



Best interest of the child
Child Specific Considerations
Dublin Transfer
Vulnerable person