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PRESS RELEASE: MA & Others v United Kingdom

19 November 2012

The AIRE Centre Intervenes at the CJEU

On 5 November 2012 a panel of judges at the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) heard oral submissions in the case of MA and others [Case C-648/11], which will effectively determine the approach to be adopted by all of the European Union Member States to the treatment of unaccompanied asylum seeking children who seek protection in more than one EU Country under the 'Dublin II' provisions.

The AIRE Centre intervened in the case, advocating for an approach to the relevant provisions that emphasises the best interests of the child, in accordance with the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights and overarching international instruments and legal principles, thereby safeguarding the rights of the child and recognising the primacy of fundamental rights in the EU legal order. The AIRE Centre was expertly represented in the CJEU by Raza Husain QC and Catherine Meredith.

Mr Husain QC powerfully conveyed the AIRE Centre's submissions, which were subsequently adopted by Counsel for the European Commission, whose position argues for essentially the same approach as that advocated by the AIRE Centre.

The CJEU also heard submissions on behalf of the Applicants, the UK and the Swedish and Dutch governments. In broad terms, the Applicants in the case, like the AIRE Centre and the EU Commission, are seeking a judgment which would ensure that this particularly vulnerable category of children are generally allowed to remain in the country in which they have most recently sought protection, and will often have finally started to feel safe and settled.

The AIRE Centre is particularly grateful to the Strategic Legal Fund for funding the travel to the hearing in Luxembourg and related costs.  The AIRE Centre would not have been able to attend otherwise. We would also like to express our sincere thanks to the team at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer (led by William Robinson and Deba Das) for their central role in litigating the AIRE Centre’s intervention.

The Advocate General of the CJEU will deliver his opinion on 7 February 2013.

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