Where doubts concerning the interpretation and application of European Union law arise in proceedings before the regular courts for the review of extradition requests received by way of mutual legal assistance as determined by European Union law, the right to one’s lawful judge requires that the relevant questions be referred to the Court of Justice of the European Union (ECJ) for a preliminary ruling. Failure to comply with the duty of referral incumbent upon regular courts under European Union law does not always violate the guarantee of Art. 101(1) second sentence of the Basic Law (Grundgesetz – GG).

On 29 August 2017, the 1st chamber of the 2nd court panel of the Federal Constitutional Court decided unanimously in several cases that denying legal aid for lawsuits brought forward by asylum seekers from Syria is not compatible with the constitutionally protected right of having equal access to judicial review. The Federal Constitutional Court overturned the judgments from lower courts, which had denied the Syrian asylum seekers financial assistance from public funds for legal expenses associated with their cases, otherwise known as legal aid.

The Court of the European Union decided on 20 December 2017 (case number C-442/16) that an EU citizen who, after more than one year, has ceased to work in a self-employed capacity in another Member State because of an absence of work owing to reasons beyond his control retains the status of self-employed person and, consequently, a right to reside in that Member State.

Spanish authorities systematically and often violently expel refugees and migrants at the border with Morocco. This long-standing practice of push-backs at the external borders of the European Union (EU) is unlawful. Automatic expulsions violate the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), as the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) today ruled in Strasbourg.

In response to the migration crisis that affected Europe in the summer of 2015, the Council of the European Union adopted a decision in order to help Italy and Greece deal with the massive inflow of migrants. The decision provides for the relocation from those two Member States to other EU Member States, over a period of two years, of 120 000 persons in clear need of international protection. That mechanism is actually a proportionate means of enabling Greece and Italy to deal with the impact of the 2015 migration crisis.

The Court of Justice of the European Union decided in case Tsegezab Mengesteab v Germany (C-670/16) that an asylum seeker may rely in legal proceedings on the fact that the Member State has become responsible for examining his application because of the expiry of the three-month period within which that Member State may request another Member State to take charge of him.

The European Commission has awarded an additional € 6.48 million in emergency assistance to improve reception conditions in accommodation centers in the Greek islands of Lesvos (Kara Tepe) and Chios (Souda). With this funding the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) will provide services such as food, water and sanitation supply and help ensure protection for vulnerable migrants as well as education and healthcare.