Accelerated procedure

France

Author

Forum Réfugiés - Cosi

Since 2015, “prioritised procedures” (procédures prioritaires) have become “accelerated procedures”. The provisions related to accelerated procedures apply to asylum claims introduced as of 1 November 2015. All claims channelled under “prioritised procedures” before 1 November 2015 are still processed according to the old procedure. Therefore, these asylum seekers do not have access to all material conditions (can be accomodated in emergency reception facilities) and appeal against a negative decision of their claim has no suspensive effect.

 

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 120 days after the foreign national has entered the French territory;

  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. 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.1 In addition, OFPRA may decide not to process under the accelerated procedure claims of vulnerable applicants. In 2016, OFPRA rechannelled 51 cases in the regular procedure out of a total 27,654 cases processed in the accelerated procedure.2

As in the regular procedure, OFPRA is the authority responsible for the decision at first instance in accelerated procedures. Its decisions should in theory be made within 15 calendar days.3 This period is reduced to 96 hours if the asylum seeker is held in administrative detention.4 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.5

In 2016, the average period for the examination of first asylum requests in the accelerated procedure was 98 days; due to some files taking particularly long times to be processed.6

According to Ministry of Interior estimates, an approximate 33,450 asylum applications were channelled into the accelerated procedure in 2017, representing 27.6% of all caseloads.7

 

Personal interview

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

In 2016, 94.1% of the applicants were called for an interview. Video conferencing was mainly used for asylum applicants in overseas departments (79%),8 and for 16% of asylum seekers held in administrative detention centres,9 most of whom were up to now channelled into the accelerated procedure.

 

Appeal

The procedure for appeal before the CNDA is similar to the one in the regular procedure. Persons channelled into an accelerated procedure must appeal within the same time period: 1 month after the negative decision. This appeal has suspensive effect. 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, since 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.

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.10

Regardless of this specific appeal, 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.11 In 2016, 70 cases were rechannelled into the regular procedure by the CNDA.

 

Legal assistance

Legal assistance at first instance

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.

Legal assistance at the appeal stage before the CNDA

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. OFPRA, 2016 Activity report, 39.
  • 2. Ibid, 39, 126.
  • 3. Article R.723-3 Ceseda. Delays are even shorter (96 hours) for persons held in administrative detention centres and in waiting zone.
  • 4. Article R.723-4 Ceseda.
  • 5. 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.
  • 6. OFPRA, 2016 Activity report, 41.
  • 7. Ministry of Interior, Chiffres clés – La demande d’asile, 16 January 2018.
  • 8. OFPRA, 2016 Activity report, 41.
  • 9. Ibid.
  • 10. Article L.723-2 VI Ceseda.
  • 11. Article L.731-2 Ceseda.

About AIDA

The Asylum Information Database (AIDA) is a database managed by the European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE), containing information on asylum procedures, reception conditions, detenti