Liberty’s Application: the European Union’s Struggles with Detaining Asylum Applicants

For the past few years, the European Union (“EU”) has been grappling with an influx of immigrants, particularly Syrian refugees. From the United Kingdom to Sweden to the Czech Republic, the influx has become an increasingly prevalent political issue. However, this is not a new issue for the EU. Since 1999, the EU has attempted to establish a set of uniform asylum rules for its member states with the establishment of the Common European Asylum System (“CEAS”). In furtherance of this objective, the EU proclaimed the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union (“the Charter”), which would establish the overall framework of the legislation.

This Note will examine a recent European Court of Justice case, K. v. Staatssecretaris van Veiligheid en Justitie, and its interpretation of the Charter’s relation to EU law and policy. First, it will delve into a brief background of the CEAS and the facts of the case. Second, it will explore the applicable European laws and their current applications. Third, it will analyze how the European Court of Justice has imposed another limitation on the exercise of a third-party national’s right to liberty under the Charter, while striking a proper balance between state and applicant interests. Finally, this Note will look to the likely future consequences of the ruling, and the potential fallout had the European Court of Justice ruled in the alternative.