The EU asylum qualification directive, its impact on the jurisprudence of the united kingdom and international law
- Publication Type:
- Journal Article
- International and Comparative Law Quarterly, 2006, 55 (1), pp. 161 - 192
- Issue Date:
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In April 2004, the Council of the European Union adopted a Directive on minimum standards for the qualification of foreigners as refugees and the content of the protection granted. This article discusses the likely impact of this Directive on the jurisprudence of the United Kingdom relating to asylum. It recognises that some provisions in the Directive could be used by the Member States as a way of lowering their existing standards. It also finds that in some places the Qualification Directive provides less in terms of protection than the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees (or the European Convention on Human Rights) itself. This leads us to examine the relationship between EU law and international law, in particular in cases where the lowering of standard by a member state entails the violation of an international treaty, and the European Court of Justice is required to examine the legality of the Directive (and of national implementation measures) in light of international law. What is the relationship between the Qualification Directive and international law? Are the national courts and the European Court of Justice obliged to apply the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees in cases of conflict between it and the Qualification Directive? This article answers these questions by drawing comparison with the relationship between EU law and the GATT WTO law. It finds that the doctrine of direct effect is going to be central to the relationship between the Qualification Directive and the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees. It concludes by considering the function of the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees following the entry into force of the Qualification Directive.
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