On the 20th of February 2023, the Court of Ten Hague published its judgment NL23.382. The case concerned a Chinese national who applied for asylum in the Netherlands, but Belgium is allegedly responsible for his asylum claim under the Dublin Regulation and accepted the take back request. The Dutch authorities declared that they can rely on the principle of mutual trust to presume Belgium’s compliance with international law, however, the applicant claimed he risks treatment contrary to Article 3 ECHR and Article 4 EU Charter.

The Court first ruled that the applicant is not at risk of refoulement because of the lack of evidence proving a fundamental difference on the protection policy of Christian Chinese nationals. Next, the Court found that the applicant will have no difficulties in accessing the asylum procedure as Belgium accepted the take back request and guaranteed the access to the asylum procedure there.

However, the Court noted many adult asylum applicants are not provided with reception despite orders by the national courts and the ECtHR’s interim measures. The Court thus ruled that it is not clear whether the applicant will benefit from reception facilities and whether a distinction is made between Dublin returnees and other asylum applicants. It concluded that the applicant provided concrete indications of his risk of being treated contrary to Article 3 ECHR or Article 4 EU Charter if returned to Belgium. Consequently, the Court annulled the decision and requested the Netherlands to justify its reliance on the principle of mutual trust.