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ECRE study analyses impact of three key Court of Justice of the European Union judgments

Date of Publication: 
20 March 2017

Report examines how Court judgments have influenced national asylum policies in 8 EU countries

ECRE study analyses impact of three key Court of Justice of the European Union asylum judgments

20 March 2017

A useful recent report by the European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE) looks at how asylum-related judgments of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) have impacted on relevant national asylum policies in eight EU countries, including the UK.

It's an 82 page report and can be downloaded here.

ECRE says the report is designed for legal practitioners, academics and decision makers.

The report analyses in detail the impact of three CJEU judgments, namely:

• X, Y and Z v Minister voor Immigratie en Asiel

• A, B and C v Staatssecretaris van Veiligheid en Justitie

• CIMADE, Groupe d'information et de soutien des immigrés (GISTI) v Ministre de l'Intérieur, de l'Outre-Mer, des Collectivités Territoriales et de l'Immigration

The report also looks at the role national authorities and the judiciary play in ensuring the application of CJEU case law and the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU.

In a news release, ECRE says its study found the Court's judgments had a significant impact, often leading to a shift in national practices and internal guidance, and sometimes even to formal legislative changes.

ECRE adds that it found while the judgements were clarifying certain provisions, they left others unclear and often with a wide margin of interpretation from national judiciaries. As for the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, the study found that State authorities often preferred to rely on more established instruments, such as the European Convention on Human Rights, and that additional time and training were necessary to resolve this issue.

The report recommends that future questions addressed to the Court on the interpretation of EU law should be framed to ensure clarity, stating: "From reviewing the questions posed in the three judgments studied, as well as a broader analysis of references to the CJEU in the asylum domain, it is clear that the Court will restrict itself to the questions posed, and generally, not go beyond this. Therefore, questions posed to the Court should be phrased in a manner that enables the Court, when examining a legislative provision, to explain both impermissible State actions and proactive obligations upon authorities. Judicial training on EU law should also address how to refer and frame a reference to the Court of Justice of the EU."

The report further recommends that national legislation and practices should at all times be in line with EU Charter provisions; national authorities should proactively apply and rely on EU Charter provisions in order to make it a "real living instrument".