UK Has to Take Back Refugees under Dublin Rules despite Brexit, EU’s Top Court Rules

UK Has to Take Back Refugees under Dublin Rules despite Brexit, EU’s Top Court Rules

The ruling has reaffirmed Britain’s obligations under all forms of EU law until it actually exits the European Union.

The UK is still obliged to observe the EU’s so called Dublin Rules, and take back asylum seekers who first entered the European Union through its soil regardless of the upcoming Brexit, the EU’s top court has ruled.

In a ruling on Wednesday, the Luxembourg-based European Court of Justice reaffirmed the principle that EU law continues to apply to the UK in all forms up until the point when Britain actually leaves the Union.

That includes its responsibilities under the Dublin Rules under which EU member states are entitled to the right to deport asylum seekers to the member state in which they first set foot on EU soil.

The UK is still obliged to observe the Dublin Rules regardless of its intention to quit the European Union, according to the ruling of the ECJ.

Its ruling came over a case brought to the court by the Republic of Ireland over a couple with a child who went to Ireland after their UK visa expired, and then applied for asylum there.

The Irish authorities decided to return the migrant family to their country of initial EU entry as per the Dublin Rules, in that case the UK.

Because the set the date for Brexit (March 29, 2019) is very close, the Irish government asked the European Court of Justice to rule over the consequences that the UK’s departure from the Union would have on EU asylum procedures, including with respect to the Dublin Rules.

“A Member State that has given notice of its intention to withdraw from the EU … remains the responsible State for the purposes of the Dublin III Regulation,” the ECJ ruled.

“[Starting exit proceedings by triggering Article 50 of the EU’s Lisbon Treaty] does not have the effect of suspending the application of EU law in that Member State,” the Court added.

“Consequently, that law continues in full force and effect in that Member State until the time of its actual withdrawal from the EU,” it concluded.

The ruling of the European Court of Justice reaffirms the UK’s responsibilities under the Dublin Rules and other EU law for the time being, until Britain formally quits the Union.

While the set date for Brexit is near, uncertainty has increased after the British Parliament turned down the EU – UK Brexit deal championed by Prime Minister Theresa May, and there have been speculations of various possible scenarios including postponing Brexit or even holding another Brexit referendum.

(Banner image: Flickr)

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