The Netherlands: Dublin Regulation does not contain a provision to allow suspension of Dublin time limits as a result of COVID-19

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

On 21 April 2020, the Court of the Hague published its decision in Case NL20.6494 in which the Immigration and Naturalisation Office applied for suspensive effect to suspend the time limit for a Dublin transfer.

The Secretary of State for Justice and Security did not process the applicant’s request for issuing a temporary asylum residence permit on the grounds that France was responsible under the Dublin Regulation. The Court noted that the applicant had filed a request for an interim injunction to prevent the possibility of being transferred before their appeal could be heard in person. It also noted the wish of the Secretary of State to interrupt the transfer period in Dublin cases as it is undesirable to become responsible for the asylum application should the transfer period expire as a result of measures in place due to COVID-19, thus observing that both parties intend to suspend the legal consequences of the contested decision.

The Court notes that transfers are currently not possible and may therefore result in the expiry of the transfer period of 6 months. However, Dublin III does not provide for the possibility to extend or interrupt time limits as a result of a pandemic or other circumstances where a transfer can otherwise not physically take place. This is supported by the recent guidelines on the implementation of the relevant EU provision as a result of COVID-19 which states that the Dublin Regulation does not contain any provision allowing derogation from this rule in a situation such as that which arose as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Court consequently concluded that taking a provisional injunction to ensure that the corona crisis does not hinder a transfer is contrary to the Dublin regulation and the intentions of the European Commission. Subsequent rulings have similarly found that the Dublin Regulation does not provide any space to extend the transfer deadline.

Many thanks to Meral Zeller, for notifying the EWLU team of this judgment, and to Sadhia Rafi, ELENA coordinator for the Netherlands, for assisting us with writing this summary. Based on an unofficial translation by the EWLU team. Photo: Edwin van Buuringen, April 2015, 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 published but no responsibility for its accuracy and correctness, or for any consequences of relying on it, is assumed by ECRE.                               

Dublin Transfer
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