The Dublin III System: More Derogations to the Duty to Transfer Individual Asylum Seekers?

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Table of Contents: I. Introduction. – II. Facts and legal issues before the Court. – III. Key aspects of the opinion of the Advocate General and the judgment. – IV. Comments. – IV.1. One step forward. – IV.2. Mutual trust unaffected. – IV.3. The relationship with the ECHR and the case law of the European Court of Human Rights: still a grey zone. – V. Conclusion.

Abstract: In the C.K. et al. v. Republika Slovenija ruling (judgment of 16 February 2017, case C-578/16 PPU), the Court of Justice ruled that the transfer of the asylum seeker should be suspended if the particular medical condition of the applicant is so serious as to provide substantial grounds for believing that the transfer would result in a real risk of inhuman or degrading treatment, within the meaning of Art. 4 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU. The Court thus qualifies its prior case law, ruling that not only risks stemming from systemic flaws but also circumstances affecting the individual situation of an asylum seeker can preclude the transfer under the Dublin system, in exceptional circumstances. After outlining the Court’s reasoning, this contribution argues that this judgment changes the Court’s approach to derogations under the Dublin system in a positive yet limited way; and that its case law on mutual trust as well as its approach to the case law of the European Court of Human Rights on the matter largely seems to remain unaffected.

Keywords: CJEU – European Court of Human Rights – Dublin system – mutual trust – fundamental rights – systemic flaws.

European Papers, Vol. 2, 2017, No 2, European Forum, Insight of 9 September 2017, pp. 719-728
2499-8249 - doi: 10.15166/2499-8249/160

* PhD Researcher, Maastricht University and Hasselt University,

** Professor of European Union Law, KU Leuven,


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