Key facts of the case:
The claimants, Serbian citizens belonging to the Ashkali ethnic group, came to Germany in 1988 (being 4 and 9 years old). They filed claims for asylum there that were rejected in 2003. In January 2005 they illegally entered Austria and applied for asylum. Their claims were rejected in 2006 by the Federal Asylum Office that consequently ordered their expulsion to “Serbia and Montenegro”. The claimants appealed against this decision to the then Independent Asylum Senate (Unabhängiger Bundesasylsenat, which was replaced by the Asylum Court in 2008). In November 2011 a list of signatures was forwarded to the asylum court, emphasising their integration and their high will to work.
According to Art. 47 para 2 of the Charter of Fundamental Right, every person has the right to an independent and impartial public hearing before a Court previously established by law in a fair and public trial and within reasonable time. The limitation of the right to a public hearing (Verhandlungspflicht), established by § 41 para 7 Asylum Act 2005 (Asylgesetz 2005, AsylG 2005) according to Art. 52 para 1 Charter of Fundamental Rights, is allowed in the view of the Asylum Court, as it is– as foreseen in the Charter – provided for by law and respects the essential content of the right foreseen in Art. 47 para 2 of the Charter. Fairly quick decisions on asylum applications are a goal of the Union, which has a significant value (see recital 11 of the preamble of Directive 2005/85/EC). The omission of hearings in those cases, where the actual situation can be established and the omission of the oral hearing does not diminish the quality of the decision, help reaching this goal. Therefore the restriction in § 41 para 7 Asylum Act 2005 also fulfils the requirement of Art. 52 para 1 last sentence of the Charter of Fundamental Rights (page 3 of 4 of the judgment).