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Netherlands / Council of State / RVS:2020:991

Appellant, a third-country national, v the Secretary of State of Justice and Security

Deciding Body type:
National Court/Tribunal
Deciding Body:
Council of State
Decision date:
Key facts of the case:
The third-country national was detained by a decision of 6 March 2020. This happened in view of his expulsion to Morocco, because he did not lawfully stay in the Netherlands. He complained against this and the District Court would deal with this complaint in a hearing on 18 March 2020. However, due to the corona virus all court buildings were closed as of 17 March 2020. The District Court then judged the case in writing, without hearing the third-country national in person.
Key legal question raised by the Court:
Was the District Court allowed to deal with the expulsion of a third-country national in writing, without hearing him in person, on the basis of dire circumstances?
Outcome of the case:
Although the right to be heard is important, the District Court was allowed to deal with this case in writing, although this should be a temporary measure only, based on dire circumstances. The third-country national did not have to be heard in person. In the present case, the alternative of video-conferencing was not safe and the system was not stable. Someone acted by proxy on behalf of the third-country national and as the question of expulsion to Morocco is a pure legal point, the personal contribution by the third-country national to the hearing does not add value; the person acting by proxy could consult the detainee by telephone and represent him in writing. Moreover, a speedy judgement, which is a fundamental right as well, is also in his interest.