Panel VII: Rule of Law and Migration

The final panel of the Conference focused on detention of asylum seekers and irregular migrants and the rule of law. The panel was chaired by Boštjan Zalar, Senior High Court Judge of the Administrative Court of the Republic of Slovenia, then Vice-President of the European Chapter of the International Association of Refugee Law Judges and ELI Council Member. The panellists speaking at this session were: Killian O’Brien, from the European Asylum Support Office, Judge Hugo Storey, Chairperson of the European Chapter of the International Association of Refugee Law Judges (IARLJ), and Adriano Silvestri, Head of the Asylum and Migration Sector of the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA).

Adriano Silvestri took the floor first, introducing to participants the work and the role the FRA plays in the field of asylum and migration. He welcomed the proposal for an ELI project on detention of irregular migrants and identified the three major challenges in relation to detention: (a) the use of alternatives to detention; (b) the need for an individualised approach to detention decisions in judicial proceedings; (c) the detention of children. Silvestri assured those present that the ELI’s work in this field would be recognised and could be instrumental in helping apply fundamental rights standards to the detention proceedings across EU Member States.

Hugo Storey was the next to address the audience, stating that the IARLJ has always tried to address the practicalities of tackling issues in the field of asylum, particularly by providing a set of tools ready to be implemented by the relevant judges. He stressed that a very complex picture still remains for those who apply asylum and migration law and agreed that the codification of a coherent set of tools of application of the relevant EU law would play a significant role for the judiciary.

Killian O’Brien stated that working towards a robust implementation of the EU asylum system is a crucial point in such unprecedented times. He added that an ELI project in the field could be of high relevance for the training the European Asylum Support Office (EASO) is coordinating with and on behalf of judges.

Concluding the session, Boštjan Zalar agreed with the panel speakers on the relevance and necessity of creating a practical tool for the judiciary that would aim at identifying all due process standards and material law on detention and enhancing the implementation of existing law in this field.