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European Union
Country of Decision : European Union
Court Name : EU: Court of Justice of the European Union [CJEU]
Date of decision : 09/09/2020
Type : Judgment
ECLI : ECLI:EU:C:2020:681
Case Number/Citation/ Document Symbol : Case C-651/19

JP v Commissaire général aux réfugiés et aux apatrides (Belgium)

CJEU rules on short time limits for appeal procedures in subsequent applications and on the notice of decisions

After the rejection of his initial application for asylum, the applicant made a second one which was declared inadmissible by a decision of 18 May 2018 of the Belgian Commissioner-General for Refugees and Stateless Persons (CGRS), on the basis of Article 57/6/2 of the Law 15 December 1980. As he did not specify an address for service in Belgium and in accordance with national law, notice of the contested decision was sent to him, on 22 May 2018, by registered post to the head office of the CGRS. In accordance with Belgian law, the time limit of 10 days to bring an action against that decision started to run on the third working day following that when the letter was delivered to the postal services, on 5 May 2018. Since the day when that period expired was a Sunday, the expiry date was postponed to Monday 4 June 2018. The applicant was present at the head office of the CGRS on 30 May 2018 and, on that date, acknowledged receipt of the registered letter concerning the contested decision. On 7 June 2018, he challenged that decision before the Conseil du contentieux des étrangers (Council for asylum and immigration proceedings, Belgium). By a judgment of 9 October 2018, that court dismissed the action as time-barred. An appeal on points of law was brought before the Conseil d’État (Council of State, Belgium) who stayed the proceedings and referred the following question to the CJEU.

On the question of whether Article 46 of the Procedures Directive precludes national legislation that prescribes that notice of decisions for applicants who have not specified an address for service of decisions in the Member State concerned is to be served at the head office of the national authority responsible for the examination of those applications, the CJUE considered that the Belgian provision, in principle, conforms to EU law, provided that (i) the applicant is informed that, where they have not specified an address for service for the purposes of notification of the decision concerning their application, they will be deemed to have specified an address for service for those purposes at the head office of that national authority; (ii) the conditions for access of those applicants to that head office do not render receipt by those applicants of the decisions concerning them excessively difficult, (iii) genuine access to the procedural safeguards granted to applicants for international protection by EU law is ensured within such a period, and (iv) the principle of equivalence is respected.

The CJEU then addressed the question of whether Article 46 of the Procedures Directive precludes national legislation that prescribes a limitation period of 10 days to challenge such decisions. Invoking the principle of procedural autonomy, the CJEU noted that in the absence of EU procedural rules, it is up to the Member States to establish procedural rules for actions intended to safeguard the rights of individuals and is itself limited by the principle of equivalence and the principle of effectiveness. 

The CJEU held that Article 46 of the Procedures Directive, read in the light of Article 47 of the Charter, does not, in principle, preclude a 10-day time limit for the introduction of an appeal against a decision declaring a subsequent application for international protection by a third-country national to be inadmissible.

Effective remedy; Second Instance determination; Subsequent Application;

EU Charter of Fundamental Rights ; Revised Asylum Procedures Directive (Directive 2013/32/EU on common procedures for granting and withdrawing international protection) and/or APD 2005/85/CE;

EASO IDS

European Union, Court of Justice of the European Union [CJEU], JP v Commissaire général aux réfugiés et aux apatrides (Belgium), Case C-651/19, ECLI:EU:C:2020:681, 09 September 2020. Link redirects to the English summary in the EASO Case Law Database.

https://caselaw.easo.europa.eu/pages/viewcaselaw.aspx?CaseLawID=1175