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Lambert, Helene
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Languages: English
Types: Article
Subjects: UOW8
Increased policy harmonization on refugee matters in the European Union (EU), namely the creation of a Common European Asylum System (CEAS), has created the imperative for a transnational judicial comparative dialogue between national courts. This article is based on a structured, focused comparison approach to examining a key element of a transnational European legal dialogue, namely, the use of foreign law by national judges when making their own decisions on asylum. It does so by examining two countries, France and Britain, as representative of the difference in legal tradition and culture within the EU in terms of the civil–common law divide. Both case studies are structured around a common set of empirical and jurisprudential research questions. The empirical findings reveal a surprising lack of transnational use of national jurisprudence on asylum between judges. Nonetheless, a slight but noticeable increase in the use of transnational asylum jurisprudence in the British and French courts must be noted. Two broad accounts—one rational, the other cultural—are applied in each of the case studies to explain this empirical finding. This article concludes on the broader implications of these findings for the establishment of a CEAS by 2012.
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    • 8 V Guiraudon 'European Court and Foreigners' Rights: A Comparative Study of Norms Diffusion' (2000) 34 Intl Migration Rev 4 1088-1125, 1107.
    • 9 A-M Slaughter (n 2) 121 and 127. On the use of comparative law in the UK since the HRA, see D McGoldrick 'The United Kingdom's Human Rights Act 1998 in Theory and Practice' (2001) 50 (4) ICLQ 901.
    • 10 AM North and J Chia, 'Towards Convergence in the Interpretation of the Refugee Convention: A Proposal for the Establishment of an International judicial Commission for Refugees' in J McAdam (ed) Forced Migration, Human Rights and Security (Hart Publishing, Oxford, 2008) 225-261.
    • 11 JC Hathaway The Rights of Refugees under International Law (Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2005) 1-2, see also 116. Referring in particular to A-M Slaughter (n 2) 99, and to the University of Michigan's Refugee Caselaw Site and the establishment of the International Association of Refugee Law Judges in 1995. See also, D E Anker 'Refugee Law, Gender, and the Human Rights Paradigm' (2002) 15 Harv Human Rts J 133, 136.
    • 12 H Storey 'The Advanced Refugee Law Workshop Experience: An IARLJ Perspective'(2003) 15 (3) Intl J Refugee L 423.
    • 13 Author's discussions with Dr Hugo Storey (Senior Judge at the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal, and member of the IARLJ).
    • 14 AL George, 'Case Studies and Theory Development: The Method of Structured, Focused Comparison' in PG Lauren (ed) Diplomacy: New Approaches in History, Theory and Policy (Free Press, New York, 1979) 43-68. Agenda for 2009', available at http://www.statewatch.org/analyses/eu-sw-analysis-2009-jhaagenda.pdf
    • 18 Brussels, 06/06/2007, COM (2007) 301, final. See also, the Hague Programme 'Strengthening Freedom, Security and Justice in the European Union' Presidency Conclusions, Brussels, 4-5 November 2004.
    • 19 Note that the original, formal deadline was 2010 but this has been postponed to 2012. European Pact on Immigration and Asylum, adopted at the Council of European Union Meeting in Brussels, 16 Oct 2008, D/08/14.
    • 20 Author's interview with Zeta Georgiadou and Doede Ackers (policy officers, European Commission, Directorate General Justice, Freedom and Security, Directorate Immigration, Asylum and Borders) Brussels, 27 June 2007.
    • 21 Communication of 17 February 2006, COM (2006) 67, 3. See also L Potvin-Solis (n 4) 30.
    • 22 H Storey 'EU Refugee Qualification Directive: A Brave New World?' (2008) 20 (1) International Journal of Refugee Law 1-49. and the Overload of the ECJ-The System of Preliminary Rulings Revisited' in I Pernice, J Kokott and C.Saunders (eds) The Future of the European Judicial System in a Comparative Perspective, European Constitutional Law Network-Series Vol 6 (Nomos Verlagsgesellschaft, Baden-Baden, 2006) 211-239, 216.
    • 30 Lenaerts however points toward the ECJ's developing tendency to 'provide more 'concrete', as opposed to 'abstract', rulings warranting complex analysis of the facts, national legislation and other aspects of the main action'; Lenaerts (n 4) 217.
    • 31 Joined Cases C-46/93 and C-48/93 Brasserie du Pecheur and Factortame [1996] ECR I-1029, para.27. See generally Lenaerts, (n 4) 99-134.
    • 32 Avocat ge´ne´raux have often referred to foreign jurisprudence and academic writings (eg US) for inspiration in competition cases. See F Jacobs 'Judicial Dialogue and the CrossFertilisation of Legal Systems: the European Court of Justice' (2003) 38 Texas International Law Journal, 553. The Commission too has on occasion provided comparative materials upon request by the ECJ, see Case 43/75 Defrenne v Socie´te´ anonyme belge de navigation ae´rienne Sabena.
    • 33 T Koopmans 'The Birth of European Law at the Crossroads of Legal Traditions' (1991) 39 American Journal of Comparative Law 493-507.
    • 34 Case C-465/07, opinion delivered on 9 September 2008.
    • 35 D Chalmers and A Tomkins European Union Public Law (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2007) 278.
    • 36 The terms 'case law' and 'jurisprudence' are used interchangeably throughout this article.
    • 37 This 'shared responsibility' between the national courts and the ECJ is clearly recognized by the ECJ itself in the area of human rights, eg Case C-117/01 KB v National Health Service Pensions Agency (Judgment) [7 January 2004] and Case C-101/01 Lindqvist (Judgment) [6 November 2003].
    • 38 UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Asylum in the European Union: A Study of the Implementation of the Qualification Directive, November 2007.
    • 39 Press Release, 'Setting up of European Asylum Support Office proposed by the Commission' IP/09/275, Brussels, 18 February 2009. Available at: http://europa.eu/ rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=IP/09/275&format=HTML&aged=0&language=EN& guiLanguage=en (accessed 28 February 2009).
    • 40 Press Release 'The EU moves toward the creation of a Support Office in the field of asylum management', IP/08/607, Brussels, 18 April 2008. Available at: http://europa.eu/ rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=IP/08/607&format=HTML&aged=0&language=EN& guiLanguage=en (accessed 22 April 2008). See also COM (2008) 360 final, Commission's 'Policy Plan on Asylum'.
    • 41 The search for 'persuasive authority' has been described as an attempt 'to learn something from a judge in a different country dealing with a similar problem'; Comments in the Harvard Law Review (2005) 103, 167, 149. Also, J Bell French Legal Cultures (Butterworths, London, 2001) 8.
    • 42 Note that the Refugee Appeals Board (Commission de recours des re´fugie´s) became the National Asylum Court (Cour nationale du droit d'asile) following amendment of the CESEDA (Code de l'entre´e et du se´jour des e´trangers et du droit d'asile) on 20 November 2007. See new article L.733-1 f of the CESEDA.
    • 43 Until 2001-2002, the annual collection of decisions of the Refugee Appeals Board (created by the Legal Information Department) was based on all the decisions of the Board (ie 6,000-12,000 per year). Since 2003, the Board (and now the new Court) has made over
    • 47 Article 31(3)(b), Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties 1969.
    • 48 eg Lord Bingham's opinion in Sepet v SSHD [2003] 1 WLR 856 (HL) and in Januzi and Hamid v SSHD [2006] UKHL 5 (HL) and Lord Steyn's opinion in Islam v SSHD and R v IAT and another, ex parte Shah [1999] 2 AC 629 (HL) (25 March 1999).
    • 49 eg R (Razgar) v SSHD [2004] UKHL 27 (HL), R (Limbuela) v SSHD, R (Tesema) v same, R(Adam) v same [2005] (HL) (3 November 2005) Jones v Ministry of Interior Al-Mamlaka AlArabiya AS Saudiya [2006] 26 (HL) and A et al Abu Rideh and Ajouaou v SSHD [2004] CA 71 (HL).
    • 50 In particular the work of Professors G S Goodwin-Gill and J C Hathaway, eg SSHD v K (FC) and Fornah (FC) v SSHD [2006] 46 (HL); Horvath v SSHD [2000] INLR 15 (HL); and Islam v SSHD [1999] 2 WLR 1015 and R v Immigration Appeal Tribunal, ex p Shah [1999] 2 AC 629 (HL).
    • 51 Seven such instances were found, three at the House of Lords, one at the Court of Appeal and three at the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal. See Secretary of State for the Home Department, ex p Thangarasa & Yogathas, [2002] 36 HL; R ex p Zeqiri v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2002] (HL); R v Secretary of State for the Home Department, ex p Adan, and R v SSHD, ex p Aitseguer [2001] 2 WLR 143 (HL); and EB (Ethiopia) [2007] EWCA Civ 809; RD (Algeria) [2007] UKAIT 00066; ST v SSHD, [2005] UKIAT 00006; Fadil Dyli v SSHD, [2000] UKIAT 00001. No instances were found at the Scottish Court of Session.
    • 52 See, for instance, Sepet and Bulbul v SSHD [2003] 1 WLR 856 (HL) Re B (FC), R v Special Adjudicator ex parte Hoxha [2005] (HL)Islam v SSHD [1999] 2 WLR 1015 and R v Immigration
    • 58 Other 'rational' explanations have been put forward to account for the lack of traffic between foreign judges, such as institutional capacity and habit.
    • 59 This rational account is based on regime theory which seeks to explain co-operation between actors in world politics. See A Hansenclever, P Mayer and V Rittberger, Theories of International Regimes (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 1997) 23-82; A Stein, 'Coordination and Collaboration: Regimes in an Anarchic World', in SD Krasner (ed), International Regimes (Cornell University Press, Ithaca, 1983), 115-140; and D Snidal, 'Coordination Versus Prisoners' Dilemma: Implications for International Cooperation and Regimes' (1985) 79 American Political Science Review 923-942.
    • 60 In addition to language barrier, lack of knowledge of foreign legal systems may be a further inhibiting factor in the use of foreign jurisprudence in that system.
    • 61 Articles R 723-2 and R 723-3 of the CESEDA.
    • 62 2.7 dossiers per day at the OFPRA; around 2 dossiers per day per rapporteur at the Refugee Appeal Board. J Valluy, 'La fiction juridique de l'asile' (December 2004) Plein Droit 63.
    • 63 The average time for ruling on an asylum appeal was approximately 10.3 months at the Board in 2006. See the Activity Report 2006 of the Refugee Appeals Board, available at: http://www.commission-refugies.fr/presentation_4/actualites_5/rapport_activite_2006_2142.html, especially 21-22. 64 Available at http://www.bailii.org/
    • 65 Available at http://www.legifrance.gouv.fr/
    • 66 This finding is echoed in Gabor Gyulai's report on 'Country Information in Asylum Procedures-Quality as a Legal Requirement in the EU' (n 7) 12, with regard to country information.
    • 67 Act of 25 July 1952, amended by the Act of 10 December 2003. See also article L.731-1 CESEDA and Decree of 14 August 2004.
    • 68 Since 2004, each section ( formation) of the National Asylum Court is composed of three judges (including the pre´sident de formation): one from the civil law branch, one from the administrative law branch, and one representing the UNHCR.
    • 74 BS Markesinis and J Fedtke, 'The Judge as Comparatist' (n 5) 11-167; BS Markesinis and J Fedtke; Judicial Recourse to Foreign Law (n 5); BS Markesinis 'A Matter of Style' (n 5) 607- 628; BS Markesinis, 'Judge, Jurist and the Study and Use of Foreign Law' (n 5) 622-635; J Bell (n 41) Bell (n 57); C Harlow, 'Global Administrative Law: The Quest for Principles and Values' (2006) 17 European Journal of International Law 214-245; M Andenas and D Fairgrieve, 'Introduction: Finding a Common Language for Open Legal Systems' in Comparative Law Before the Courts (n 5) xxvii; O Dutheillet de Lamothe, 'Constitutional Court Judges' Roundtable' (2005) 550 International Journal of Constitutional Law; F Liche`re, Le dialogue entre les juges europe´ens et nationaux: incantation or re´alite´.
    • 75 Markesinis, 'Judge, Jurist and the Study and Use of Foreign Law' (n 5) 607.
    • 76 Bell (n 41) 17 and Markesinis, 'A Matter of Style' (n 5) 607, respectively.
    • 77 Legrand (n 5) 60-61. Markesinis and Fedtke, Judicial Recourse to Foreign Law (n 5) 173- 218.
    • 78 Bell (n 57) 74. One exception might be Socie´te´ Arcelor Atlantique et Lorraine et autres, Conseil d'Etat Assemble´e, 8 February 2007, appl 287110, an environmental law case in which the Council of State adopted an unusually long conside´rant de principe; see M-P Granger, 'France is “Already” Back in Europe: The Europeanization of French Courts and the Influence of France in the EU' (2008) 14 European Public Law 335, 367.
    • 79 J Valluy 'La fiction juridique de l'asile' (December 2004) Plein Droit 63 (translation by the author).
    • 80 R Errera 'The Use of Comparative Law Before the French Administrative Law Courts', in Canivet et al (eds) (n 5) 161; and G Canivet, 'The Use of Comparative Law Before the French Private Law Courts' in Canivet et al (n 5) 189.
    • 81 See also, Errera ibid 153-163.
    • 82 BS Markesinis (n 5) 608. 83 ibid 610.
    • 84 These may be of three kinds: to help shape their own law, to help towards a better understanding of the problem to be solved, or 'as a mere 'padding' for a judgment already reached on other grounds' BS Markesinis and J Fedtke, 'The Judge as a Comparatist' (n 5) 25-26. See also, C McCrudden, 'A Common Law of Human Rights?' (n 5) 499, 523: who noted that the purpose of using foreign law may be manifold: it may be to fill a gap in the law, to interpret domestic law provisions, or to be used as a 'security blanket'-to be seen to be doing a good job.
    • 85 Markesinis, 'Judge, Jurist and the Study and Use of Foreign Law' (n 5) 610.
    • 86 For other elements of strong British influence, see Granger (n 79) 344 and 346.
    • 87 R [on the application of Razgar] v SSHD [2004] 3 WLR 58 (HL) (article 8 ECHR-mental health); A (FC) and others (FC) v SSHD and X (FC) v SSHD, [2004] 56 (HL) (detention of suspected terrorists).
    • 88 eg compare the House of Lords decision in R on the application of Dianne Pretty v Director of Public Prosecutions and SSHD [18 October 2001] (HL) with the reasoning in the European Court of Human Rights' judgment (Pretty v United Kingdom) (Judgment) [29 April 2002] appl 2346/02; the former is more fluid and full.
    • 89 The French judge has also been active in creating law in the area of asylum on quite a wide scale through the concept of general principles of law. See F Tiberghien, 'La jurisprudence du Conseil d'Etat sur la Convention de Gene`ve du 28 juillet 1951 relative au statut des re´fugie´s' in La Convention de Gene`ve du 28 juillet 1951 realtive au statut des re´fugie´s 50 ans apre`s: Bilan et perspectives V Chetail (ed) (Bruylant, Brussels, 2001) 289, 317-320; and L Jeannin, M Meneghini, C Pauti, and R Poupet, Le Droit d'Asile en Europe-Etude compare´e (Paris, L'Harmattan, 1999) 144-145.
    • 90 Author's interview with Franc¸ois Bernard (President of the National Asylum Court) Paris, 20 June 2006. 91 ibid.
    • 92 Author's interview with Vera Zederman (National Asylum Court) Paris, 20 June 2006.
    • 93 House of Lords, judgment of 18 October 2006 [2006] UKHL 46.
    • 94 [1999] Imm AR 521. See further M Symes and P Jorro, Asylum Law & Practice (Butterworths, Lexis Nexis UK, 2003) 7-12.
    • 95 Lord Lloyd Berwick's opinion in R v SSHD, ex parte Adan, [1999] INLR 362 (HL). See also, Lord Millet in Islam v SSHD [1999] 2 WLR 1015 (HL) and R v Immigration Appeal Tribunal and Another, ex p Shah [1999] 2 AC (HL) paras 19-20; and Sepet v SSHD [2003] UKHL 15 (HL) (Lord Bingham). 96 See also L Jeannin et al (n 90).
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