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EE: Supreme Court assessed whether detention due to repeated irregular border crossings of asylum applicant can be justified on public security grounds

Input Provided By
Referral to the CJEU
Original Documents
Relevant Legislative Provisions
Revised Reception Conditions Directive (Directive 2013/33/EU laying down standards for the reception of applicants for international protection) and/or RCD 2003/9/CE;
Estonia, Supreme Court [Riigikohtusse Poordujale], Applicant (Armenia) v Police and Border Guard Board, EE:RK:2020:3.19.1068.5375, 17 April 2020. Link redirects to the English summary in the EUAA Case Law Database.
Permanent link to the case
Case history
Related cases:

According to the ACA summary:

"The applicant, an Armenian national, was found illegally crossing the border and made an application for international protection while being detained. The Police and Border Guard Board requested the detention of the applicant for a period of up to 2 months based on the national law transposing Directive 2013/33/EU. The request was based on grounds related to the person potentially being a threat to public security and on reasonable grounds that the applicant lodged the application with the aim to postpone an obligation to leave the country or to prevent a removal.

The Supreme Court considered that grounds for detention as prescribed by article 8(3) of the Directive 2013/33/EU are set out in an exhaustive list and national law must be interpreted in accordance with those provisions as meaning that an applicant for international protection may be detained only if he is already detained in order to ensure the enforcement of the obligation to leave. In the present case, the person had not been detained for the purposes of enforcement of the obligation to leave before the asylum application was lodged.

Concerning the threat to national security or public order (Article 8(3)(e) of the Directive), the Supreme Court referred to the CJEU judgment in Case C-601/15 PPU J.N., according to which detention on that basis is justified only if the conduct of the individual represents a genuine, present and sufficiently serious threat affecting one of the fundamental interests of society. The Supreme Court concluded that in the present case the threat was linked to repeated irregular border crossings and entry and this fact did not suffice for the above conditions. The risk should be evaluated with regard not only to the evidence of danger but also to specific circumstances in favor of the person, such as family ties, accommodation, income since the applicant wished to join an Estonian woman. The Supreme Court concluded that the detention was not justified in order to establish the facts concerning the person."

Country of Decision
Court Name
EE: Supreme Court [Riigikohtusse Poordujale]
Case Number
Date of Decision
Country of Origin
Assessment of Application
Border procedures
Detention/ Alternatives to Detention