Netherlands: national authorities failed to investigate if applicant would have access to psychological care in Belgium in practice

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

On 25 April 2018, the Court of Noord-Holland, seated in Haarlem, ruled on case NL18.6576 concerning a Chadian national who applied for asylum in the Netherlands. The Dutch authorities submitted a take charge request to Belgium under the Dublin III Regulation, which was accepted. The applicant appealed against this decision on the grounds that the authorities had not properly investigated if adequate psychological treatment would be available for the applicant in Belgium.

Firstly, the Court rejected the argument put forward by the national authorities that the applicant had not specified the medical treatment he needed. The Court observed that the applicant had been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and, based on the doctor’s recommendation, had to continue and complete the treatment in a safe and stable setting. Based on ECRE’s AIDA report on Belgium, the Court identified that mental health centres in Belgium are unable to meet the demand of asylum applicants, work with waiting lists and, in most cases, lack specific expertise and qualified interpreters. Therefore, the applicant had identified a concrete point of departure from the principle of mutual trust, which required the national authorities to further investigate if the applicant would have access to psychological care in Belgium in practice. The fact that the Dutch authorities stated that they would inform the Belgian authorities of the applicant’s medical situation does not excuse their obligation to have carried out a careful examination prior to taking the transfer decision.

Therefore, the Court ruled that the national authorities had failed to give adequate reasons for the decision not to make use of Article 17(1) of the Dublin III Regulation. The Court annulled the transfer decision and sent the applicant’s case back to the national authorities for a fresh decision.

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


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.



Health (right to)
Material reception conditions
Request that charge be taken