Volume 51 (2014) / Issue 4
This article considers recent ECJ judgments addressing the definition of a refugee found in the 2004 refugee qualification Directive, itself heavily drawing on the 1951 Geneva Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees. Refugee law is a relatively new area of competence for the EU; these cases represent the emergence of a jurisprudence on refugee law and the Geneva Convention. An outline of the relevant decisions is given and their mixed reception, from the perspective of the Court's sensitivity to international refugee law is highlighted. It is argued that these cases can best be explained with reference to the nature of the EU's competence in relation to refugee law and the political factors involved. The article then highlights the potentially crucial role of the ECJ in shaping global standards of refugee law, due to both the predominant crucial role of judicial interpretation in the development of the Geneva Convention, and the powerful force of the Court's rulings thanks to their binding nature and the primacy of Union law.
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