Success in The Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights

The Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights today in Tarakhel v Switzerland, 29217/12, judgment 4 November 2014 ruled by 14 votes to 3 that returning an Afghan family with young children to Italy under the Dublin II regulation would be a violation of Article 3 ECHR.


Catherine Meredith was involved in the legal team on behalf of the third party interveners, The AIRE Centre (Advice on Individual Rights in Europe), ECRE (European Council on Refugees and Exiles) and Amnesty International.


The Grand Chamber found that sending states are obliged to conduct ‘a thorough and individualised examination of the situation of the person concerned’. It was not disputed that families with children are regarded as a particularly vulnerable category of persons. Thus, in applicants’ case, their removal would breach Article 3 as the Swiss authorities had failed to obtain specific individual guarantees that the Italian authorities would take charge of the applicants ‘in a manner adapted to the age of the children and that the family unit would be kept together’ [119-122].


The complaint under Arts 3 and 13 was declared inadmissible; though examples where the Swiss authorities had exercised the sovereignty clause and where the courts had prevented returns to Italy including in a case of a family with young children were emphasised [131].


The judgment can be found here:

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