CJEU - Opinion of AG Mengozzi in Case C-652/16 Ahmedbekova, 28 June 2018

Thursday, June 28, 2018

On 28 June 2018, Advocate General Mengozzi published his opinion in case C-652/16 Ahmedbekova, which concerned, inter alia, the interpretation of the recast Qualification Directive (rQD) and recast Asylum Procedures Directive with regard to the assessment of asylum applications lodged by family members.

First, AG Mengozzi put forward that a person who is of age and has legal capacity has the right to submit an asylum application on his/her own behalf, independently of the fact that the only basis for the application would be being the family member of a person who has applied for asylum. In that sense, an asylum application cannot be presented by an applicant on behalf of a person of age who has legal capacity unless this person is his/her dependent and has expressly consented to that.

The Advocate General argued that the recast Qualification Directive does not preclude the recognition of refugee status to an asylum applicant on the basis of his or her family links with a person who was, or fears becoming, the victim of acts of persecution. However, the applicant should be able to put forward an individual, well-founded fear of being a victim of persecution due to that family link.

In the AG’s view, the recast Qualification Directive and recast Procedures Directive do not preclude national authorities from putting on hold the examination of asylum claims of family members that are based on the well-founded fear of persecution of another member of the family while the outcome of this asylum application is still pending. This “suspension” must not, however, jeopardise the autonomous nature of their applications or the examination of the merits of their individual claims, regardless of the outcome of the asylum application of their family member. 

AG Mengozzi also submitted that the recast Qualification Directive does not preclude a national provision by virtue of which the family members of a person who has been granted refugee status are also recognised as refugees regardless of whether or not they fulfil the criteria on an individual basis, as long as they do not fall under the exclusion clauses of Article 12 rQD and that they are not deprived of the possibility to apply and be granted refugee status on an autonomous basis should they comply with the conditions under the rQD.

Finally, the Advocate General is of the opinion that the submission of a complaint before the European Court of Human Rights against the country of origin does not automatically establish the applicant’s membership in a “particular social group” under Article 10(1)(d) rQD or his/her “political opinion” under Article 10(1)(e) rQD.

Based on an unofficial translation by the ELENA Weekly Legal Update.

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Family member
Persecution Grounds/Reasons
Personal circumstances of applicant