The Grand Chamber of the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) issued a judgment on 10 December 2013 in Case C 394/12 Abdullahi limiting the opportunities for an asylum seeker to challenge a decision to transfer him/her under the Dublin II Regulation once a Member State has agreed to a take charge of the examination of his/her application. The Court held that once a Member State takes charge of an application, this decision can only be overturned due to systemic deficiencies in the asylum procedure and reception conditions of that Member State.

The background to the case concerns a Somali national, Ms Abdullahi, who entered Greece irregularly by boat via Syria and Turkey in summer 2011. Without having lodged an asylum application, she travelled to Austria via the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Serbia and Hungary. On arrest by Austrian police officials, she claimed asylum. The Austrian authorities requested Hungary to take charge of her under the Dublin II Regulation, and Hungary accepted.  Ms. Abdullahi appealed the transfer request and a dispute arose as to whether Greece or Hungary was responsible for examining the asylum claim in light of Art. 10(1) of the Dublin II Regulation. The Austrian court asked the CJEU to clarify the procedure for determining responsibility.

The effect of this judgment will be limited by the Dublin III Regulation, which will supersede Dublin II and apply to transfer requests issued from 1 January 2014 onwards. The new right to an effective remedy in Article 27 will better enable asylum seekers to challenge the legal and factual premises to a transfer decision.


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This article originally appeared in the ECRE Weekly Bulletin of 13 December 2013
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