Applicant v State Secretary for Security and Justice Netherlands (Staatssecretaris Van Veiligheid en Justitie)
NL: Council of State rules on family reunification and best interest of the child
The case concerns a - then - fifteen years old unaccompanied minor. She applied for international protection in the Netherlands. The authorities conducted an examination on family members in the EU and found that she has a sibling in Sweden. The Netherlands sent a take charge request to Sweden, accepted by Sweden. Hereafter, the application for international protection was not taken into consideration in the Netherlands.
The girl claimed in the court proceedings that her best interests were not taken into account properly by the authorities whilst they had to do so based on art. 6(3) and 8(1) Dublin III Regulation. On her material intersts she claimed that she does not have a good relationship with the sibling, he does not want to take care of her and she wants to stay in the Netherlands given the fact that her niece, with who she grew up, resides there also.
The court found that the authorities' argument is sufficient to dismiss the appeal. The authorities argued that it follows from the system of Dublin III Regulation that a reunification of an unaccompanied minor is always in the best interests of the child. A child can disagree, but has to present objective evidence.
The case reached the Council of State, where a court hearing took place in December 2019. The arguments presented were the same. Nidos also underlined that the child's interest is to stay in the Netherlands.
The Council of State finds that the starting point must be that a child is unified when possible. This does not mean however, that the authorities can simply ask a Member State to be responsible without any examination of the best interest of the child. They have to conduct a best interests assessment in every case, asking - when necessary, Nidos and/or the child. The Council of State declared the appeal well-founded and annulled the decision of the lower court.
Dublin procedure; Family Reunification; Unaccompanied minors; Vulnerable Group;
Netherlands, Council of State [Afdeling Bestuursrechtspraak van de Raad van State], Applicant v State Secretary for Security and Justice Netherlands (Staatssecretaris Van Veiligheid en Justitie), 201906353/1/V3, NL:RVS:2020:1281, 27 May 2020. Link redirects to the English summary in the EASO Case Law Database.