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Country of Decision : Belgium
Court Name : BE: Council of State [Raad van State - Conseil d'État]
Date of decision : 07/12/2020
Type : Judgment
Case Number/Citation/ Document Symbol : No 249163

L'Ordre des barreaux francophones et germanophones and others

BE: The Council of State suspended the CGRS "pilot project" to have interviews by videoconference for applicants from open centres

Several NGOs lodged an action with the interim relief judge of the Council of State to suspend a decision of the Office of the Commissioner General for Refugees and Stateless Persons (CGRS) by which personal interviews were to be conducted by videoconference. The decision was adopted sometime around the 18 November 2020, was not published and it mandated that in certain cases there would be interviews by videoconference in international protection cases. Its title suggested a pilot project but further details of its exact content were unknown. It appeared that this decision contradicted the Royal Decree of 11 July 2003 which stated that personal interviews would take place in person. 

The interim judge ordered the suspension of the CGRS decision. The judge found that the decision included rules relating to the organisation, in the short term, of videoconference interviews with asylum applicants staying in open centers and the terms of these interviews, which are likely to affect an unknown number of applicants. The decision also mentioned the intention to develop a longer-term framework structure for interviews by videoconference, alongside in person interviews.

The judge held that the CGRS did not have the competence to change by decision the rules by which personal interviews are organised and that such a change must be done by Royal Decree.

First Instance determination; Personal Interview/ Oral hearing;

EU Charter of Fundamental Rights ; European Convention on Human Rights;


Belgium, Council of State [Raad van State - Conseil d'État], L'Ordre des barreaux francophones et germanophones and others, No 249163, 07 December 2020. Link redirects to the English summary in the EASO Case Law Database.