Accelerated procedure

France

Country Report: Accelerated procedure Last updated: 18/03/21

Author

Forum Réfugiés – Cosi Visit Website

General (scope, grounds for accelerated procedures, time limits)

The reasons for channelling an asylum seeker into an accelerated procedure are outlined in Article L.723-2 Ceseda which lists 10 grounds.

The accelerated procedure is automatically applied where:

  1. The applicant originates from a Safe Country of Origin; or
  2. The applicant’s Subsequent Application is not inadmissible.

The asylum claim will be channelled under the accelerated procedure, where the Prefecture has reported that:

  1. The asylum seeker refuses to be fingerprinted;
  2. When registering his or her claim, the asylum seeker has presented falsified identity or travel documents, or provided with wrong information on his or her nationality or on his or her conditions of entry on the French territory or has introduced several asylum claims under different identities;
  3. The claim has not been registered within 90 days after the foreign national has entered the French territory;[1]
  4. The claim has only been made to prevent a notified or imminent removal order; or
  5. The presence of the foreign national in France constitutes a serious threat to public order, public safety or national security.

In the abovementioned cases, it is the Prefecture that decides to channel related claims under the accelerated procedure. In that case, the asylum claim certification specifically mentions that the asylum seeker is placed under accelerated procedure. The ground for applying the accelerated procedure is specified in an additional document given to the applicant together with the certification. Asylum seekers under accelerated procedure have to send the asylum claim form to OFPRA within 21 days to lodge their applications, as is the case with asylum seekers under the regular procedure.

While processing an asylum claim, OFPRA also has the competence to channel a claim under an accelerated procedure where:

  1. The asylum seeker has provided falsified identity or travel documents, or wrong information on his or her nationality or on his or her conditions of entry on the French territory or has introduced several asylum claims under different identities;
  2. The asylum seeker has supported his or her claim only with irrelevant questions regarding his or her claim; or
  3. The asylum seeker has given manifestly contradictory and incoherent or manifestly wrong or less likely statements that are contradictory to country of origin information.

In any of the abovementioned cases, OFPRA can decide not to process a claim under accelerated procedure when this is deemed necessary, in particular when an asylum seeker originating from a country listed on the safe country of origin list calls upon serious grounds to believe that his or her country of origin might not be safe considering his or her particular situation.[2] In addition, OFPRA may decide not to process under the accelerated procedure claims of vulnerable applicants. In 2019, OFPRA rechannelled 206 cases into the regular procedure out of a total of 40,677 cases processed in the accelerated procedure, compared to 24 cases out of 37,759 in 2018 and 63 cases in 2017. On the other hand, OFPRA rechannelled 1,384 cases from to the regular to the accelerated procedure in 2019,[3] compared to 1,110 in 2018.[4] Statistics on the year 2020 were not available at the time of writing.

Similarly to the regular procedure, OFPRA is the determining authority competent for accelerated procedures. Its decisions should in theory be made within 15 calendar days.[5] This period is reduced to 96 hours if the asylum seeker is held in administrative detention.[6] There is no specific consequence if the Office does not comply with these time limits. In practice, some stakeholders assisting asylum seekers have reported that some of them under the accelerated procedure have waited more than 15 days before receiving the decision from OFPRA.[7]

The average time for the examination of first asylum requests in the accelerated procedure was 98 days in 2016, 84 in 2018 and 72 in 2019 (no data for 2017).[8]

According to Ministry of Interior statistics, 50,750 asylum applications were filed in accelerated procedures at the end of 2019, representing 33% of all caseloads.[9] Statistics on the year 2020 in this regard was not available at the time of writing of this report.

 

Personal interview

 

Interviews of asylum seekers channelled into an accelerated procedure take place under the same conditions as interviews in a regular procedure (see Regular Procedure: Personal Interview). All personal interviews are conducted by OFPRA.

The same grounds for omission apply, except for asylum seekers channelled into an accelerated procedure for reasons of a Subsequent Application. No specific statistics are available for the rate of interviews conducted in the accelerated procedure.

 

Appeal

Persons channelled into an accelerated procedure must appeal within the same time period: 1 month after the negative decision. The main difference is that in accelerated procedure the decision has to be given by a single judge within 5 weeks.

As the preparation of these appeals is hardly supported by NGOs and given that assistance to draft the appeal is no longer in the mandate of the orientation platforms, asylum seekers may not be aware of these deadlines and face serious difficulties in drafting a well-argued appeal. They can nonetheless lodge a request to benefit from legal aid (aide juridictionnelle).

Appeals in the accelerated procedure have automatic suspensive effect, except for those based on: (a) safe country of origin; (b) subsequent application; and (c) threat to public order.[10] These exceptions were added by the 2018 asylum reform and entail a loss of the right to remain on the territory upon notification of the negative decision. Asylum seekers can, however, appeal before the Administrative Court within 15 days – or 48 hours in case of detention – to request that the CNDA appeal be given suspensive effect. The request to the Administrative Court has suspensive effect.[11]

The decision of OFPRA or of the Prefectures to channel an application under the accelerated procedure cannot be challenged separately from the final negative decision on the asylum claim but it possible for the applicant to request so to in the appeal against the negative decision.[12]

In any case of placement under the accelerated procedure, including safe country of origin cases or subsequent applications, it is always possible for the CNDA to channel an asylum seeker into the regular procedure.[13] In 2017, 207 cases under single-judge procedure were thus rechannelled into collegial hearing by the CNDA.[14] Figures were not made available since then.

 

Legal assistance

Asylum seekers channelled into an accelerated procedure have the same rights with regard to access to assistance as those in a regular procedure. As they are entitled to the same reception conditions as asylum seekers under the regular procedure, the assistance they can hope for depends of their conditions of reception.

However, asylum seekers whose claims are refused on the basis of safe country of origin, subsequent application or threat to public order grounds may lose their right to reception conditions, and thus the possibility of assistance, if suspensive effect is not granted for their appeal before the CNDA.[15]

The right to legal assistance at the appeal stage before the CNDA is the same for asylum seekers under regular procedure and under accelerated procedure. However, the CNDA has to process appeals of negative decisions of claims under accelerated procedures within 5 weeks. This short timeframe might prevent asylum seekers under accelerated procedure to prepare the case with the lawyers.

 

[1] Prior to the 2018 reform, this time limit was 120 days.

[2] Article L.723-2(5) Ceseda.

[3]  OFPRA, Activity report 2019, 22

[4] OFPRA, 2018 Activity report, 21.

[5] Article R.723-3 Ceseda. Delays are even shorter (96 hours) for persons held in administrative detention centres and in waiting zone.

[6]  Article R.723-4 Ceseda.

[7]  This information has been collected by Forum réfugiés – Cosi social workers in Lyon, Clermont-Ferrand and Marseille but also by other NGOs in Paris and its surroundings, Bretagne, Charentes-Maritimes, Somme or Lorraine.

[8]  OFPRA, Activity reports 2016, 2018, 2019, available at: https://bit.ly/2Nfwnx9.  

[9]  Ministry of Interior, Chiffres clés – les demandes d’asile, 21 January 2020.

[10] Article L.743-2 Ceseda.

[11] Article L.743-3 Ceseda.

[12]  Article L.723-2(6) Ceseda.

[13] Article L.731-2 Ceseda.

[14]  CNDA, 2017 Activity report, 20.

[15]  Article L.744-9-1(2) Ceseda, as amended by Article 13 Law n. 2018-778 of 10 September 2018.

Table of contents

  • Statistics
  • Overview of the legal framework
  • Overview of the main changes since the previous report update
  • Asylum Procedure
  • Reception Conditions
  • Detention of Asylum Seekers
  • Content of International Protection
  • ANNEX I – Transposition of the CEAS in national legislation