Key facts of the case:
- This reference for a preliminary ruling concerns the interpretation of Article 4(1) of Council Directive 2004/83/EC of 29 April 2004 on minimum standards for the qualification and status of third country nationals or stateless persons as refugees or as persons who otherwise need international protection and the content of the protection granted (OJ 2004 L 304, p. 12).
- The reference has been made in proceedings between (i) Mr M. and (ii) the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform (the ‘Minister’), Ireland and the Attorney General concerning the lawfulness of the procedure followed in processing an application for subsidiary protection which Mr M. had lodged following rejection of his application for refugee status.
Results (sanctions) and key consequences of the case:
The requirement that the Member State concerned cooperate with an applicant for asylum, as stated in the second sentence of Article 4(1) of Council Directive 2004/83/EC of 29 April 2004 on minimum standards for the qualification and status of third country nationals or stateless persons as refugees or as persons who otherwise need international protection and the content of the protection granted, cannot be interpreted as meaning that, where a foreign national requests subsidiary protection status after he has been refused refugee status and the competent national authority is minded to reject that second application as well, the authority is on that basis obliged – before adopting its decision – to inform the applicant that it proposes to reject his application and notify him of the arguments on which it intends to base its rejection, so as to enable him to make known his views in that regard.
However, in the case of a system such as that established by the national legislation at issue in the main proceedings, a feature of which is that there are two separate procedures, one after the other, for examining applications for refugee status and applications for subsidiary protection respectively, it is for the national court to ensure observance, in each of those procedures, of the applicant’s fundamental rights and, more particularly, of the right to be heard in the sense that the applicant must be able to make known his views before the adoption of any decision that does not grant the protection requested. In such a system, the fact that the applicant has already been duly heard when his application for refugee status was examined does not mean that that procedural requirement may be dispensed with in the procedure relating to the application for subsidiary protection.