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Cabinet backs reform of ‘immigration court’

Published on 27/06/2005

27 June 2005

BRUSSELS — The Belgian government has approved reforms to the nation’s Council of State and the introduction of a new asylum procedure.

It is hoped the reforms will clear the backlog of cases at the nation’s highest administrative court within three years.

To meet the deadline, the council will reduce its involvement in asylum seeker procedures. Extra magistrates will also be temporarily employed.

The Cabinet approved the plans at its weekly meeting on Friday.

As Belgium’s final appeals body against government rulings, the council of state also presides over appeals lodged against a refusal by authorities to grant an immigrant asylum.

At the end of 2004, there were 41,066 cases still to be processed by the council, newspaper ‘De Standaard’ reported. Of these, 27,857 were cases relating to immigration.

Of the cases lodged between 2002 and 2004, a total of 84 percent were related to immigration procedures.

The volume of immigration cases being handled by the councils means that other cases means are taking five years too be processed. Immigration cases are taking on average two and a half years.

Interior Minister Patrick Dewael now intends to establish a special court to handle immigration matters.

[Copyright Expatica News 2005]

Subject: Belgian news