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NEWS

Short Update: French Court quashed fast-track and single judge hearing for migrants

FairTrialsAdmin - June 12, 2020 - COVID-19 Updates, Remote Justice, Delayed or accelerated proceedings, Rule of Law

Immigrants and asylum seekers have seen their access to justice threatened by the restrictions imposed under the health crisis: closed or restricted administrative services, police checks, difficulties in getting legal aid… From the start of the confinement on 17 March until 27 March, France  completely stopped processing asylum files, justifying the closure of dedicated services by the lack of staff and health reasons. On 30 May, the Council of State (France’s Highest Administrative Court) ordered the Interior Ministry to resume the registration of asylum requests, stressing that the health emergency should not deprive asylum seekers of this fundamental right.  

At the end of May, the National Court of the Right to Asylum (CNDA), an institution responsible for examining appeals from applicants whose asylum request was rejected in first instance, implemented a derogatory procedure which allowed single judge hearings from 15 June onwards. It also provided for a period of five weeks to decide, compared to five months in the collegial procedure. This was criticised as generalising an accelerating procedure, meaning that both the authorities and the applicants would then have a very short period to obtain and bring all the elements useful to their cause (civil status, testimonies, translation of those documents,…). On 8 June, the Council of State quashed the CNDA’s decision. The associations nevertheless decry that the Court "did not rule on the video-hearings” – they had argued that the physical hearings are important to judge "the credibility of the accounts" of the applicants. 

We publish information as it is reported to us. If you would like to make us aware of an inaccuracy or send us more  information  please email us at [email protected].  

If you are a journalist interested in this story, please call the media team on +44 (0) 7749 785 932 or email [email protected]

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