The European Database of Asylum Law (EDAL) is an online directory of legal cases related to asylum laws in over 20 European countries. The database can be used by lawyers, academics, refugees and laypersons interested in knowing more about court decisions across the EU.

EDAL is a database which contains summaries of asylum-related trials from member states of the European Union (EU) and Switzerland. The website features important asylum case law from these countries and also has summaries from the European Court of Human Rights and the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), said Amanda Taylor, Coordinator of EDAL in Brussels. The EDAL is currently managed by the European Council on Refugees and Exile (ECRE).

"The aim is to put these cases online which might have otherwise not been put online in respective member state databases, to have the summaries in English and for lawyers of other countries to be able to consult these case summaries, which might be useful for their own litigation and for their own representation," Taylor told InfoMigrants.

According to Taylor, the database targets academics and lawyers and judges, who can take inspiration from how other courts in EU member states interpret legislation. The database is also used by the EU Commission, which observes how asylum laws are interpreted by a court in an EU country.

"The database is also for the benefit of refugees themselves…We have a headnote at the beginning of each of the summaries, which gives a very concise sort of reasoning of the judgement and the most important things of the judgment are defined in simple terms. They are eye-catching and give you a sense of what the case is about straightaway and what the decision is about as well," the EDAL coordinator added.


The website

The EDAL homepage  features top news on asylum law from across Europe. Latest reports include, for example, judgments from the CJEU on the Dublin regulation, decisions by the European Court of Human Rights and news related to the Schengen border. The homepage also has an overview of the latest cases that have been added to the database. Details of specific cases can be accessed by typing a keyword in the search window on the top right of the page.

The database is very user-friendly and can be accessed by people from all backgrounds, the EDAL coordinator adds. There are keywords one can use to look for a particular case, Taylor said, citing an example: "If a refugee is being subjected to a potential Dublin transfer to Hungary or Bulgaria, there's a keyword on the database which says "Dublin transfer" and it will give you a list of all of the cases and their summaries, which were about Dublin transfer."

The EDAL currently has cases from 20 European countries. Portugal has been recently added to the list and Denmark is up next. "Each time we add a country, we have to make sure that the original country language is provided for, as an interface on the website. EDAL is basically a dual-language version of 20 EU countries. So for example, if you click on a Spanish-English summary, you can also click on the original language of the summary," the coordinator explained.

Responses to the EDAL have been improving and the database is gaining reputation as an authoritative source on European asylum law, Taylor said. This could be simply because the EDAL puts cases online, which were not online in member-state databases, because they don’t have such repositories. The EDAL also puts cases in English and the original language, making it accessible to many more people.


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