Regular procedure

France

Author

Forum Réfugiés - Cosi

General (scope, time limits) 

The first instance authority in France, OFPRA, is a specialised institution in the field of asylum, under the administrative supervision of the Ministry of Interior since November 2007.1 A time limit of 6 months is set for OFPRA to take a decision under the regular procedure since the entry into force of the 2015 reform of the law on asylum.2 When a decision cannot be taken within 6 months, OFPRA has to inform the applicant thereof within 15 calendar days prior to the expiration of that period.3 An additional 9 month-period for OFPRA to take a decision starts and, under exceptional circumstances, it can even be extended for 3 more months.4

Provisional statistics for 2016 refer to an average processing time of 5 months,5 thereby reducing the length of the procedure compared to previous years. The (total) average length for OFPRA to make a decision was in 2015 was 7.2 months (216 days), compared to 6.8 months (203.5) days in 2014 (average for all types of procedures).6 In several accommodation centres (Picardie, Lorraine, Auvergne Rhône Alpes, Languedoc-Roussillon, Paris and its suburbs), social workers observe various inequalities regarding the duration of the procedures. Some applicants can complete the regular procedure in 5 or 6 months, including appeal, whereas in the meantime other asylum seekers who had submitted asylum claims at the beginning of 2016 have not been interviewed 6 months later.

The duration of the procedure in practice depends on two factors: the nationality of the applicant and the type of decision made in appeal. The OFPRA division in charge of asylum applications from African countries has shared its tasks with other divisions to face the number of cases to deal with. For example, an asylum seeker from Eritrea can be interviewed by a protection officer usually working in the Asia division. The increasing number of asylum applications submitted by nationals from Sub-Saharan  Africa, West Africa or from the Horn of Africa implies, for people originating from these areas, a longer duration of the procedure.

According to provisional statistics by the Ministry of Interior, the first instance recognition rate for 2016 was 39% at OFPRA level and 19.8% at CNDA level (see section on Statistics).  

An action plan for the reform of OFPRA, adopted on 22 May 2013, has been implemented since September 2013. It includes a monitoring mechanism of the quality of the decisions taken through an assessment of several sample cases. In addition, a “harmonisation committee”, chaired by the Executive Director, was created to harmonise the doctrine (including monitoring the jurisprudence of the CNDA).7

An agreement was signed between the OFPRA’s Director General and the UNHCR Representative in France establishing quality controls and an evaluation grid with criteria on three main stages of the examination of asylum cases: interview, investigation and decision. The objective is to envisage useful measures for the improvement of the quality of the decisions.

In this context, an evaluation was undertaken by the two stakeholders (OFPRA and UNHCR) between June and October 2015, focusing on a representative sample of asylum decisions (350 case files) taken during the first semester of 2014.8 This evaluation followed the first one published in 2014. OFPRA published the results of the second quality control initiative in May 2016.9 This report highlighted the increasing annotations attributed by UNHCR experts and the diminishing differences between both groups of examiners. As mentioned in the first quality control report of 2014, even though no major difference was noticed in the treatment by OFPRA of asylum applications under the accelerated procedure and under the regular procedure, important shortcomings were highlighted concerning 1/5 of the case files under review. In particular the way interviews were conducted in these cases showed that no complementary questions were asked by OFPRA when the arguments of the asylum seeker were considered to be insufficiently consistent or credible. Also the legal analysis of the asylum application by OFPRA was not always sufficiently thorough. Proofs (such as certificates, judgments issued by foreign courts) were insufficiently taken into account. In addition, decisions were often too short and not sufficiently reasoned. Finally, the reasoning appeared to focus on the establishment of past facts of persecution rather than on the well-founded fears in case of return to the country of origin. Following the quality control and in the context of the ongoing reform of OFPRA, regular trainings are being provided to case workers and tailored tools have been designed, in particular regarding the interview, the assessment of proof and supportive documents and the reasoning of decisions taken.    

 

Prioritised examination and fast-track processing

The 2015 reform of the law on asylum provided for the possibility for OFPRA to give priority to applications introduced by vulnerable persons having identified “specific needs in terms of reception conditions” or “specific procedural needs”.10 In 2015, the average processing time for these groups was 97 days.11 This provision entered into force on 1 November 2015, therefore there is no available data regarding the implementation of this prioritised processing at the time of writing.

Since 2013, OFPRA is also conducting decentralised and external missions in order to accelerate the examination of claims from seekers with specific nationalities or having specific needs. This has resulted in 215 in 6 decentralised missions in Lyon, Grenoble, Bordeaux, Metz, Paris, Cayenne and Basse-Terre.12 In 2016, three missions have also been reported by local stakeholders in Lyon (February), Besançon (August) and Clermont-Ferrand (December). In Besançon, the mission was held to conduct interviews with Syrian relocated asylum seekers. In Clermont-Ferrand, asylum seekers accommodated in Reception and Orientation Centres (CAO) have been heard.

The field mission in Paris was conducted for the first time in order to examine 240 asylum claims mostly registered by Sudanese and Eritrean nationals.13 Most of them were living in camps set up in Paris. OFPRA has kept on intervening on the field in migrant camps in Paris between May and October 2015. 3,500 people have been sheltered and benefited from fast-track processing of their asylum claim.14

Considering the particular vulnerability of migrants in Calais, OFPRA has been conducting field missions with the aim to explain the asylum procedure as well as rights of asylum seekers and refugees in France. In May 2015, a specific mission was held in Calais, targeting Eritrean nationals. In this context, 111 asylum claims have been processed directly in Calais by OFPRA protection officers.15

 

Personal interview

French legislation provides for systematic personal interviews of applicants. This obligation has been strengthened by the reform of the law on asylum, as instead of 4 there are now only 2 legal grounds for omitting a personal interview:16

(a)   OFPRA is about to take a positive decision on the basis of the evidence at its disposal; or

(b)   Medical reasons prohibit the conduct of the interview.

In practice, OFPRA rarely omits interviews. In 2015, 95.2% of all asylum seekers were summoned for an interview, compared to 97% in 2014. The rate of interviews actually taking place has slightly decreased: 76% in 2015, compared to 80% in 2014.17

All personal interviews are conducted by protection officers from OFPRA. Asylum seekers are interviewed individually without their family members. A minor child can also be interviewed alone if OFPRA has serious reasons to believe that he or she might have endured persecutions unknown to other family members.18 After a primary interview, OFPRA can nevertheless conduct a complementary one and hear several members of a family at the same time if it is necessary for assessing the risks of persecution.19

Asylum seekers have the possibility to be accompanied by a third person, either a lawyer or a representative of an authorised NGO.20 In a Decision of 30 July 2015, OFPRA’s Director-General has detailed the conditions for the organisation of the interview. The third person has to inform OFPRA, to the extent possible, 7 days prior to the interview in the regular procedure and 4 days in the accelerated procedure of his or her intention to accompany an asylum seeker to the interview. The absence of a third person does not prevent OFPRA from conducting the interview. The third person is not allowed to intervene or to exchange information with the asylum seeker or the interpreter during the interview, but he or she can formulate remarks and observations at the end of the interview. These observations are translated if necessary and written down in the interview report. The interview is also fully recorded.21

The asylum seeker or the third person can ask to read the interview report before a decision is taken on the case. At the end of the interview, the asylum seeker and the third person who accompanies him or her are informed of their right to have access to the copy of the interview. The latter is either immediately given to the asylum seeker or it is sent before a decision is taken.22 However, neither the law nor the OFPRA Decision of 30 July 2015 allow for the possibility of further comments before the decision is taken. However, neither the law nor the OFPRA Decision of 30 July 2015 allow for the possibility of further comments before the decision is taken.

A few organisations have requested to be authorised to accompany asylum seekers during the interview, and 14 have been authorised by OFPRA in a Decision of 21 March 2016.23 These organisations are frequently requested to accompany asylum seekers, most of the time from applicants not accommodated in the centres they run. Forum réfugiés – Cosi has however been requested only about 50 times during the year 2016, out of more than 6,000 asylum seekers benefiting from its assistance and support.

An audio recording of the interview is also made. It cannot be listened to before a negative decision has been issued by OFPRA, in view of an appeal of this decision.24 In case a technical issue prevents the audio recording from being put in place, additional comments can be added to the registration of the interview. If the asylum seeker refuses to confirm that the content of the interview registered is in compliance with what has effectively been said during the interview, the grounds for his or her refusal are written down. However, it cannot prevent OFPRA to issue a decision on his or her claim.25 Access to the audio recording is quite difficult for asylum seekers. Indeed, before OFPRA issues its decision, the recording can only be listened to in OFPRA offices, in Fontenay-sous-Bois. This makes it impossible for asylum seekers accommodated outside Paris and its surroundings to get access to recordings. At CNDA stage, the audio recording can be obtained by asylum seekers’ lawyers and transmitted to them. Even if most of lawyers pleading to the Court are based in Paris and its surroundings, it is much easier for asylum seekers to get access to the audio recording through them.

The interview report and the draft decision written by the protection officer are then submitted for the validation of the section manager. Since September 2013, a procedure of transfer of signature has been set up in order to accelerate the processing delays.

The report is not a verbatim transcript of the interview as in practice the protection officer takes notes him or herself at the same time as he or she conducts the interview. The report is a summary of the questions asked by the protection officer, the answers provided by the asylum seeker and, since the adoption of the reform of the law on asylum, the observations formulated by the third person, if applicable. It also mentions the duration of the interview, the presence (or not) of the interpreter and the conditions in which the asylum seeker wrote his or her application. The report is sent to the asylum seeker together with any notification of a negative decision. The section on the opinion of the protection officer is included in the document received by the asylum seeker since 1 January 2015. The report is written in French and is not translated for the applicant. In practice, the quality of the interview report can be very variable. This aspect was also mentioned in the recent above-mentioned quality control initiative whose results were published in May 2016.26

The presence of an interpreter during the personal interview is provided if the request had been made in the application form. Interpreters are usually available,27 but some difficulties are frequently observed (for instance translation in Russian is often imposed even though the language requested was Chechen and Serbo-Croatian can be imposed even if the Romani language has been requested). Rare languages (such as Susu or Edo) ​​are often not well represented. Since the reform of the law on asylum, the law provides for a choice of interpreter ​​according to gender considerations, in particular if the asylum seeker has been subjected to sexual violence.28 This new disposition also applies to protection officer.  According to some stakeholders, the quality of the translations provided can vary widely. Some asylum seekers have reported issues with translations that are too simplified (approximate translations or not in line with their answers) or with inappropriate behaviour (inattentive interpreters or interpreters taking the liberty to make personal reflections or laughing with the protection officer). Finally, sometimes the protection officers themselves act as interpreters and this can have a diverse impact. Some asylum seekers report difficulties to open up to a person who speaks the language of the country involved in the invoked persecutions. Nevertheless, some advantages have also been reported, such as demonstrating a particular interest for the region of origin.

In addition to audio recording, interviews can be conducted through video conferencing. There are 3 cases where OFPRA can decide to conduct the interview through video conferencing where:29

  1. The asylum seeker cannot physically come to OFPRA for medical or family reasons;


  2. The asylum seeker is held in an administrative detention centre; or


  3. The asylum seeker is overseas.

 

Appeal

Following the rejection of their asylum application by the Director General of OFPRA, the applicant may challenge the decision to the CNDA. The CNDA is an administrative court specialised in asylum. The CNDA is divided into 11 chambers. These chambers are divided into formations of courts each of them made up of 3 members:30 a President (member of the Council of State, of an administrative court or appellate court, the Revenue Court or magistrate from the judiciary, in activity or honorary)31 and 2 designated assessors, including one appointed by UNHCR. This presence of a judge appointed by UNHCR at the CNDA is a unique feature of the French asylum system.

The CNDA hears appeals against decisions granting or refusing refugee status or subsidiary protection, against decisions withdrawing refugee status or subsidiary protection and against decisions refusing subsequent applications. The CNDA may also hear appeals from applicants who have been granted subsidiary protection by OFPRA but who want to be recognised as refugees. In this case, the CNDA can grant refugee status. If not, the benefit of subsidiary protection remains.

The appeal must be filed by registered mail within 1 month from the notification of the negative decision by OFPRA. The Decree on CNDA Procedure of 16 August 201332 has introduced a longer period for asylum applications lodged in French overseas departments;33 these asylum seekers have 2 months to appeal the OFPRA decision. There is a specific form to submit this appeal such as detailed in a recent amendment of the Ceseda:34

  1. It has to be written in French:


  2. It must contain the name, last name, nationality, date of birth and administrative address of the claimant;


  3. It must be founded in law and facts;


  4. The certification of asylum claim and the OFPRA decision must be attached;


  5. It has to be signed by the claimant or its attorney;


  6. It has to specify in which language the claimant wishes to be heard; and


  7. In case the claim has been channelled to an accelerated procedure, the notice of information delivered by the Prefecture stating the reason for this must be attached.

This appeal has suspensive effect for all asylum seekers whatever procedure they are under (regular or accelerated). The appeal is assessed on points of law and facts. Documents and evidence supporting the claim have to be translated into French to be considered by the CNDA. Identity papers, judicial and police documents must be translated by an officially certified translator. The clerk informs OFPRA of the existence of an appeal against its decision and asks for the case file to be transferred within 15 calendar days.

The CNDA sends a receipt of registration to the applicant which notifies the applicant of his or her right to consult his or her file, the right to be assisted by a lawyer, the fact that the information concerning his or her application is subject to automated processing, of the possibility that his or her appeal will be processed by order (“ordonnance”) namely by a single judge without a hearing. The same receipt requests the applicant to indicate the language in which he or she wishes to speak at the hearing in order to select the interpreter. In case the appeal has been lodged after the  deadline, and in case of dismissal (“non-lieu”) or withdrawal of the applicant, the president of the CNDA or the president of one of the sections can dismiss the appeal “by order” (“ordonnance”). If the appeal does not contain any serious elements enabling a questioning of the OFPRA decision, it can also be dismissed “by order” (“ordonnance”) but after a preliminary assessment of the case.35

Since the reform of the law on asylum of 29 July 2015, a time limit is set in law for the CNDA to take a decision. The CNDA has to rule within 5 months under the regular procedure. When the appeal concerns a decision from OFPRA issued under the accelerated procedure or if it concerns an appeal for a claim considered inadmissible, then the CNDA has to rule within 5 weeks. Under the regular procedure, the appeal is processed by a Court panel while in other cases only one single judge – either the President of the CNDA or the President of the section – rules on the appeal. 396 single judge hearings have been held in 2016.36

In 2016, the CNDA registered 39,986 appeals and took 42,968 decisions, marking an increase in its activity from previous years.37 The CNDA registered 38,674 appeals in 2015 and ruled on 35,979 decisions.38 The average processing time for the CNDA to take a decision has decreased in 2016. It was 6 months and 26 days as of the end of December 2016,39 against 7 months and 3 days in 2015.

The 2013 Decree on CNDA procedure has modified some of the procedural steps pertaining to the appeal stage. The Decree provides that the deadline for closing the inquiry is 5 days minimum before the date set for the hearing (instead of 3 days as was the case until now). This means that it is only possible to add further information to the appeal case until 5 days before the hearing.40 After the hearing, it is nevertheless possible to produce further elements to the Court by submitting a “note en délibéré”. In the regular procedure, 21 days are taken by the Court before delivering its decision. This delay is named “délibéré”, during which the claimant can inform the Court of new elements or modify his or her declarations.

Unless the appeal is rejected by order (“ordonnance”), the law provides for a hearing of the asylum seeker.  A summons for a hearing has to be communicated to the applicant at least 30 days before the hearing day.41 These hearings are public, unless the President of the section decides that it will be held in camera and take place at the CNDA headquarters near Paris.42 In most cases, hearings were held in camera following a specific request from the applicant. Since the reform, the hearing in camera is ispo jure (de plein droit) meaning that it is applied upon request of the applicant. Asylum seekers who are not accommodated in reception centres have to organise and pay for their journey themselves, even if they live in distant regions. The hearing begins by the presentation of the report by the rapporteur. The judges can then interview the applicant. If the applicant is assisted by a lawyer, he or she is invited to make oral submissions, the administrative procedure before the CNDA being mainly written. Following the hearing, the case is placed under deliberation. Decisions of the CNDA are published (posted on the walls of the court building) during a period of 2 to 3 weeks under regular procedure and one week under accelerated one.43 Negative decisions are transmitted to the Ministry of Interior, i.e. OFPRA and Prefectures.

The fact the CNDA may reject cases without hearing them has an effect on the duration of the procedure. If the court makes a decision “by order”, the duration of the procedure will be up to three months faster. 

Since a law of 2011, and the following implementing decree of 12 June 2013, the use of video conferencing for the CNDA hearings is allowed.44 The applicant will be informed by registered mail and will have 15 days to refuse it; however, the possibility to refuse only applies to those living in mainland France. In practice, this is only applied to applicants overseas and it replaces mobile court hearings. In 2016, 194 video hearings were held in total,45 against 87 in 2015.46

Finally, the decree on the procedure related to the CNDA of 16 August 2013 foresees that in cases where the CNDA plans to reject the appeal by order (“ordonnance”) due to the absence of serious elements enabling a questioning of the OFPRA decision, the CNDA has the obligation to inform the applicants about their rights to access their file.47 Moreover, the same decree provides that if the CNDA fails to provide an interpreter in the language indicated by the applicant, the CNDA has to inform the latter that he or she will be heard in another language one can reasonably think he or she will understand.48 In practice, applicants are always heard in the language for which they have asked to have an interpreter. If an asylum seeker cannot be heard in the language he or she has indicated in his or her claim, because there is no interpreter available, the hearing will be postponed.

Asylum seekers face several obstacles to challenging a negative OFPRA decision. Indeed, despite the translation of time limits and appeal modalities at the back of the refusal notification, some asylum seekers sometimes do not understand, in particular those who are not accommodated in reception centres. Since 2012, these are no longer eligible for support for the preparation of their appeal within the orientation platforms. They can only rely on volunteer assistance from NGOs, whose resources are already overstretched. In addition, since 29 October 2015, accommodation centres no longer ensure any mission, officially, of legal aid regarding the appeal. Their mission is circumscribed to a legal orientation to lawyers and to fulfil the legal aid request form. In practice, most of accommodation centres keep on assisting asylum seekers in writing and challenging their claim to the CNDA.

 

Onward appeal

An onward appeal before the Council of State (Conseil d’Etat) is provided by law in case of a negative decision at CNDA level or in case OFPRA decides to appeal against a CNDA decision granting a protection status.49 This appeal must be lodged within 2 months of notification of the CNDA decision.50 The Council of State does not review all the facts of the case, but only allegations supported by the applicant. If the Council of State annuls the decision, it refers to the CNDA to decide again on the merits of the case, but it may also decide to rule itself on the granting or refusal of protection.

This appeal before the Council of State must be presented by a lawyer registered with the Council of State. If the asylum seeker's income is too low to initiate this action, he or she may request legal aid to the Office of legal aid of the Council of State. In practice, it is very difficult to obtain it. In 2016, 847 appeals were challenged to the Council of State, against 623 in 2015,51 and only 21 were admitted (22 in 2015).52 This appeal is not suspensive and the applicant may be returned to his or her country of origin during this period. 

 

Legal assistance

Legal assistance at first instance

The modalities and the degree of legal assistance provided to asylum seekers in the first instance (at OFPRA level) depend on the type of reception conditions they enjoy.

  • If the applicant is accommodated in a reception centre for asylum seekers (CADA), he or she can be supported in the writing of his or her application form by staff from the reception centres. According to the mission set out in their framework agreement,53 CADA teams (legal advisers) should also assist the applicant in the preparation of his or her interview at OFPRA. The team can provide advice and support to find a lawyer, either under the legal aid scheme or outside of it.

  • If the applicant cannot be accommodated in a reception centre, then the “reference framework” for asylum seekers’ “orientation platforms”54 applies,55 with the exception of those benefiting from support provided in some emergency reception structures who can benefit from the assistance provided in those centres. In this case asylum seekers are assisted in their paperwork, such as their application for legal aid and their residence permit renewal process. Asylum seekers may also be assisted in the drafting of their asylum application but the preparation for the interview is theoretically excluded.

Depending on where these legal assistance services take place (CADA or orientation platforms), they are funded by OFII, by the Ministry of Interior and/or by EU funding under the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF). Some local authorities sometimes contribute to this funding.

Access to legal assistance is therefore uneven depending on the type of reception conditions provided. Asylum seekers in the most precarious situations, those without reception conditions, are offered fewer services than those accommodated in CADAs. This situation leads to unequal treatment between asylum seekers accommodated in CADAs, who receive support and in-depth assistance, and asylum seekers housed in emergency facilities, who are without direct support and are sometimes located far away from the regional orientation platforms. Furthermore, these platforms do not have the same capacity as CADAs, and this greatly limits the services provided to these persons.56

 

Legal assistance at the appeal stage

As mentioned before, the terms of reference of CADAs have been modified and support to asylum seekers in the appeal phase is not included anymore. Legal support for the preparation of appeals to the CNDA is also no longer funded within the “reference framework” of the orientation platforms. Therefore, asylum seekers have to rely on legal support from lawyers.

Since 1 December 2008, the law foresees the granting of legal aid (“aide juridictionelle”) for lawyers to file an appeal to the CNDA in case of an OFPRA negative decision, thus removing the entry and residence conditions imposed since 1991.57 Legal costs can therefore, upon certain conditions, be borne by the State.

The reform of the law on asylum consecrates the right to legal aid as it is considered as ipso jure (“de plein droit”). Legal aid is of an automatic entitlement and is granted upon request if:

  • The appeal does not appear to be manifestly inadmissible; and

  • The legal allowance application is submitted within 15 days after receiving the notification of the negative decision from OFPRA or within 1 month if the request for legal aid is included within the appeal to OFPRA negative decision.

In case of a negative decision by OFPRA, means and deadlines for introducing an appeal are written down in the decision sent to the asylum seeker. There are 2 possibilities to request legal aid to challenge OFPRA’s decision before the CNDA:58

(1)   Before introducing the appeal, the asylum seeker, or his or her lawyer in case he or she has one, can request legal aid to the Legal Aid Office within 15 days after the notification of the decision by OFPRA. In that case, the 1-month time-limit to introduce the appeal will only start running once the asylum seeker or his or her lawyer receives the notification of legal aid from the Legal Aid Office.

(2)   When introducing the appeal to the CNDA, the asylum seeker, or his or her lawyer in case he or she has one, can request legal aid with the appeal claim and only at the moment of its submission to the Court.

The recipients of legal aid have the right to choose their lawyer freely or to have one appointed for them by the Legal Aid Office.59 The refusal to grant legal aid may be challenged before the President of the CNDA within 8 days. This legal aid for asylum seekers is funded though the State budget for the general legal aid system.

In practice, legal aid is quite widely granted. In 2015, the CNDA’s legal aid office registered 29,181 requests (13% more than in 2014) and took 28,627 decisions. Requests were accepted in 90.1% of cases.60

Until 2013, lawyers working in the field of asylum were granted lower financial compensation (8 credits, or €182 per file) than the fee allocated for ordinary cases before administrative courts. A Decree of 20 June 2013 doubles the unit value (16 credits, or €424) for appeals with a hearing and 4 credits (or €106) for appeals without a hearing before the CNDA.61 Two Decrees of 12 January 2016 have increased the amount of the unit value.62

In any event, the current level of compensation is still deemed insufficient by many asylum stakeholders in France and this prevents lawyers from doing serious and quality work for each case.63 In particular, it is not enough to cover the cost of an interpreter during the preparation of the case.64 This is so off-putting that lawyers specialised in asylum law refuse most of the time to work under the legal aid scheme. Lawyers are often court-appointed by the CNDA.65 The difficulty is that, even though court-appointed lawyers are informed of the name of their client in between 2 and 3 months before the hearing, they only have the address of their clients and no phone numbers which often prevent both parties to effectively get in touch. Moreover, most of these lawyers are based in Paris whereas asylum seekers can be living elsewhere in France. Therefore, they often do not meet their clients until the last moment. These lawyers sometimes refuse to assist asylum seekers in writing their appeal and only represent them in court. This makes it difficult for asylum seekers to properly prepare for the hearing. Asylum seekers who are not accommodated in reception centres are therefore on their own to write their appeal and face a high risk of seeing their appeal rejected by order (“ordonnance”) due to insufficient arguments.

 

  • 1. Strictly speaking, OFPRA is not a ‘first instance’ but an administrative authority which takes the first decision on the asylum application.
  • 2. Article R.723-2 Ceseda.
  • 3. Article R 723-3 Ceseda.
  • 4. Article R.723-2 Ceseda.
  • 5. OFPRA, 18 January 2017, available at: http://bit.ly/2jNxHXg.
  • 6. OFPRA, 2015 Activity report, 13 May 2016; 2014 Activity report, 10 April 2015.
  • 7. See a description of the action plan for the reform of OFPRA: 2014 Activity report, 10 April 2015, 54-55.
  • 8. OFPRA, Contrôle qualité, Premier exercice d’évaluation (réalisé entre janvier et mai 2014 sur des décisions notifiées au cours du premier semestre 2013 (Quality Control, First evaluation carried out between January and May 2014 on the basis of decisions notified during the first semester 2013), 17 September 2014, available in French at: http://bit.ly/1LLTkyU.
  • 9. OFPRA, Contrôle qualité, Deuxième exercice d’évaluation (réalisé entre juin et octobre 2015 sur des décisions de l’Ofpra notifiées au cours du 1er semestre 2014) (Quality Control, Second evaluation carried out between June and Octobre 2015 on the basis of decisions notified during the first semester 2014), 12 May 2016, available in French at: http://bit.ly/2kgUqvO.
  • 10. Article L.723-3 Ceseda.
  • 11. OFPRA, 2015 Activity report, 13 May 2016, 41.
  • 12. Ibid, 10.
  • 13. Ibid.
  • 14. Ibid, 3.
  • 15. Ibid, 12.
  • 16. Article L.723-6 Ceseda, applicable for asylum claims introduced as of 20 July 2015.
  • 17. OFPRA, 2015 Activity report, 13 May 2016, 63.
  • 18. Article L.723-6 Ceseda.
  • 19. Ibid.
  • 20. Ibid.
  • 21. OFPRA, Decision of 30 July 2015 establishing organisational modalities for the interview according to the implementation of Article L.723-6 of the Ceseda (Décision du 30 juillet 2015 établissant les modalités d’organisation de l’entretien en application de l’article L.723-6 du Ceseda).
  • 22. Article R.723-7 Ceseda.
  • 23. OFPRA, Decision NOR: INT1607856S of 21 March 2016 establishing the list of organisations competent for proposing representatives to accompany asylum seekers or refugees or beneficiaries of subsidiary protection to a personal interview held by OFPRA. The list of authorised organisations can be found at: http://bit.ly/2j1LhSB.
  • 24. Article L.723-7 Ceseda.
  • 25. Article R.723-8 Ceseda.
  • 26. OFPRA, Contrôle qualité, Deuxième exercice d’évaluation, 12 May 2016.
  • 27. OFPRA, 2015 Activity report, 13 May 2016, 84 mentions that 83% of interviews held in 2015 were conducted with an interpreter. This represents a slight drop to 2014, where 84% of interviews were carried out with an interpreter.
  • 28. Article L.723-6 Ceseda.
  • 29. Article R.723-9 Ceseda.
  • 30. A plenary session (“Grande formation”) is organised to adjudicate important cases. Under these circumstances, there are 9 judges: the 3 judges from the section which heard the case initially and 2 professional judges, 2 representatives of the Council of State and 2 assessors from UNHCR.
  • 31. 10 judges acting as presidents are now working full time at the CNDA, in addition to part time judges on temporary contracts.
  • 32. Decree n. 2013-751 of 16 August 2013 on the procedure related to the CNDA, completed by two orders (arrêtés) from 22 April 2014. A useful explanatory note was published on the CNDA website in September 2013: http://bit.ly/1HAwuYj.
  • 33. Guadeloupe, Guyana, Martinique, Réunion, Saint-Barthélemy, Saint-Martin, Mayotte, Saint Pierre and Miquelon, French Polynesia, the Wallis and Futuna Islands, New Caledonia and the French Antarctic Lands.
  • 34. Article R.733-5 Ceseda, as amended by Decree n. 2016-1457 of 28 October 2016.
  • 35. In a decision from 9 July 2014, the Council of State considered that when the CNDA takes an order (“ordonnance”, i.e. a decision taken by a single judge), the absence of UNHCR does not contravene the 1951 Geneva Convention (in particular Article 35) nor EU law (in particular Article 21 of the Asylum Procedures Directive: Council of State, Decision n°366578, 9 July 2014, available in French at: http://bit.ly/1CfPye8.
  • 36. CNDA, 2016 Activity report, 27 January 2017, available in French at: http://bit.ly/2kKzTjv, 11.
  • 37. Ministry of Interior, La demande d’asile, 16 January 2017.
  • 38. CNDA, 2015 Activity report, 31 March 2016.
  • 39. CNDA, 2016 Activity report, 27 January 2017, 8.
  • 40. Article R.733-13 Ceseda.
  • 41. Article R.733-19 Ceseda. In case of “emergency” however, the period between the summons and the hearing can be reduced to 7 days.
  • 42. Except for overseas departments where missions from the CNDA are regularly organised to hear the applicants.
  • 43. CNDA decisions are however not accessible on the internet. Only a selection of them are published by the CNDA on its website: http://bit.ly/2ki5O6G.
  • 44. Decree of 12 June 2013 setting the technical characteristics of the communication means to be used at the CNDA, Official journal 18 June 2013, NOR: JUSE1314361A; Article L.733-1 Ceseda.
  • 45. CNDA, 2016 Activity report, 27 January 2017, 13.
  • 46. CNDA, 2015 Activity report, 31 March 2016, 13.
  • 47. Article R.733-4(5) Ceseda.
  • 48. Article R.733-8 Ceseda.
  • 49. Article L.511-1 CJA.
  • 50. See CNDA, Appeals before the Council of State, available in French at: http://bit.ly/1dBgbhO.
  • 51. CNDA, 2015 Activity report, 31 March 2016, 9.
  • 52. CNDA, 2016 Activity Report, 27 January 2017, 10.
  • 53. Annex 1 Circular on CADA Mission, 19 August 2011, available at: http://bit.ly/1Kv5fiG.
  • 54. In France, these orientation platforms (plateformes d’accueil) can have several aims: they can receive asylum seekers to provide administrative, legal and social support and can also handle requests for housing and postal address (domiciliation). 23 of these platforms are managed by NGOs.
  • 55. Ministry of Interior, Reference framework for first reception services for asylum seekers, December 2011, available at: http://bit.ly/1C5aQLg, 10.
  • 56. Valérie Létard and Jean-Louis Touraine, Report on Asylum Reform: Report to the Minister of Interior, 28 November 2013.
  • 57. Article 93 Law n° 2006-911 of 24 July 2006 on immigration and integration.
  • 58. Article 9-4, Title I of the Law n. 91-647, 10 July 1991 on Legal aid.
  • 59. Ibid. See CNDA, Legal Aid, available in French at: http://bit.ly/1FXqvaw.
  • 60. CNDA, 2015 Activity report, 31 March 2016, 13-14.
  • 61. Decree n. 2013-525 of 20 June 2013 on the compensation for the missions of Legal aid carried out by lawyers at the CNDA.
  • 62. Decree n. 2016-11 of 12 January 2016 on the compensation for the missions of Legal aid.
  • 63. The CNDA is based in Paris and a return train ticket from other cities (such as Lyon) already takes a large part of the fee received.
  • 64. Senate, Information Report n°130, prepared by Senators Jean-Yves Leconte and Christophe-André Frassa, 14 November 2012.
  • 65. Decree n° 2013-525 of 20 June 2013 on the compensation for the missions of Legal aid carried out by lawyers at the CNDA also extends the possibility to designate court-appointed lawyers to all lawyers registered in any Bar in France (it was previously restricted to the Bar Associations of Paris and Versailles).

About AIDA

The Asylum Information Database (AIDA) is a database managed by the European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE), containing information on asylum procedures, reception conditions, detenti