* Guest Researcher at the Centre for Migration Law at the Radboud University, Nijmegen, The Netherlands, and former Head of the Policy and Legal Support Unit in the Bureau for Europe of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). The views expressed herein are the author’s personal opinion and do not necessarily reflect the position of the United Nations or UNHCR. The law is at 6 Oct. 2014.
The Court of Justice of the European Union has the potential to influence the development of international refugee law in significant ways. Since securing jurisdiction over asylum questions in 2005, the Court has issued binding rulings on the interpretation of European Union asylum rules that are derived from the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees. While the Court does not have jurisdiction to rule on the application of the Convention as such, it is effectively determining the way in which Member States apply the Convention, which can have a significant impact at a global level. This article considers the connection between the European Union legal framework on asylum, as examined and interpreted in the Court of Justice’s jurisprudence, and international refugee legal standards. It examines selected rulings of the Court on the rights of asylum-seekers and people in need of international protection where the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees has issued a public statement or third party intervention, and considers ways to ensure that the development of European Union asylum law, as influenced by the Court’s pronouncements, continues to take account of relevant international developments.