On the 13th of September 2023, the Belgian Council of State published its judgment no. 257.300. The case concerned appeals of different non-governmental organisations under the extreme urgency procedure against the unpublished decision of the State Secretary for Asylum and Migration to exclude single male applicants for international protection from reception. The Council of State first held its prima facie jurisdiction as the contested decision is a unilateral regulatory legal act modifying the legal order. The urgency procedure is justified as the State Secretary did not show that male asylum applications may receive reception elsewhere than in the network of the Federal Agency for the Reception of Asylum Seekers (FEDASIL) and so are exposed to the risk of being placed in a situation of destitution which causes a sufficient serious disadvantage to the collective interests of the applicants.
The Council of State held that Article 3 of the domestic law on reception provides that every asylum applicant has the right to reception in order to have a dignified life, and reception means material aid granted in accordance with this law or social aid granted by the public social action centres. Article 6 § 1 of this law also states that the benefit of material aid applies to “any” asylum applicant from the moment they submit their asylum application and has effect throughout the asylum procedure. Hence, the Council of State ruled that the contested decision violates these provisions and orders its suspension.
It should however be noted that the State Secretary declared that this judgment will not change her policy thereby jeopardising the rule of law.
Based on an unofficial translation from within the EWLU-team