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ELI project on migration and the rule of law is starting in January 2016

The idea of developing an ELI project related to migration was already raised in one of the panel sessions of the ELI 2014 Annual Conference in Zagreb, and then followed up at the ELI February Council meeting, where many members of this ELI body expressed their support to a contribution of the ELI in the field. In November 2015, the ELI Council approved (CD 2015/11) a project proposal for an “ELI Statement on Detention of Asylum Seekers and Irregular Migrants and the Rule of Law”.

As the project title indicates, the issue of implementation of the rule of law standards on detention of asylum seekers and irregular migrants lies at the core of this project. Its aim is to develop a user-friendly and well referenced check list of all due process standards and material law including conditions for detention that could be used by the competent judges dealing with detention cases concerning asylum seekers and illegally staying third country nationals. Enhancement of the implementation of existing standards could not be more important, in times when the worldwide displacement reaches the highest numbers in the post-World War II era.

During the first stage of the project, the ELI Working Group will identify and compile all due process standards and material law including conditions for detention from the relevant sources of EU law and case-law of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) and the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU). This will take into account special positions and safeguards for children and other vulnerable persons and eventual differences in due process standards between EU law (including case-law of the CJEU) and case-law of the ECtHR.

Based on the information compiled during the first stage, the working group will then identify the challenges and problems that judges may face when applying the selected due process standards and material law including conditions for detention in conjunction with the relevant case-law of the ECtHR and CJEU. As a result of this analysis and at the end of the second stage, a user friendly check-list will be developed with indications and recommendations on how to apply those standards in an integrated manner.

The results of the project will be presented and discussed during the ELI 2016 Annual Conference that will take place in Ferrara (Italy. The output of this project will be disseminated among judges dealing with detention cases and competent administrative authorities of all EU Member States.

The Project Team is chaired by Judge Boštjan Zalar, who is the Senior High Court Judge of the Administrative Court of the Republic of Slovenia, a member of the ELI Council and the Vice-President of the European Chapter of the International Association of Refugee Law Judges. The Project Team is comprised of experts representing various legal traditions and backgrounds: judges, academics and representatives of leading European and international organisations in the field.

At an event organised by the European Asylum Support Office (EASO) in Luxembourg, Judge Zalar reiterated the significance of the effective implementation of the norms on detention, saying that “It is vital that an interplay between the three protective systems of human rights [EU law, ECHR and national constitutional law] is taken into consideration in each case (…).”

More information about this project is available here.