New special sections on immigration, international protection and freedom of movement in EU countries in Italian tribunals

On April 19th 2017, it has come into force Law n.46 of April 13th 2017 that converts and modifies the Law Decree n.13/2017, which contains urgent provisions about the hastening of the proceedings concerning international protection, simplification of foreign citizens’ identification operations, and the introduction of measures against illegal immigration.

Both the Law n.46 of April 13th 2017 and the Law Decree n.13/2017 have been published in the Italian Republic’s Official Bulletin on April 18th 2017.

The following changes have been introduced:

  • the establishment in Italian tribunals of specialized sections on immigration, international protection and freedom of movement;
  • a change of rules on proceedings concerning international protection;
  • a simplification of foreign citizens’ identification operations;
  • the introduction of measures against illegal immigration.

New special sections in every Italian Court of Appeal

One of the main changes introduced by the Law Decree n.13/2017 is the establishment of special sections on immigration, international protection and freedom of movement of EU citizens in the ordinary tribunals of cities where Courts of Appeal are established as well.

Initially, Law Decree 13/2017 had established these Special Sections only in the ordinary tribunals of Bari, Bologna, Brescia, Cagliari, Catania, Catanzaro, Florence, Lecce, Milan, Palermo, Rome, Naples, Turin and Venice; however, Law n.46/2017 subsequently extended the creation of these sections wherever Courts of Appeal are established.

Special Sections’ areas of competence

The Law regulates the special sections’ areas of competence. According to article 1, subparagraph 3 of the Law Decree 13/2017, these Sections have to resolve the following disputes:

  • non-recognition of residency rights for citizens of other EU countries or their relatives in Italy (referred to in article 8 of Law Decree n. 30/2007);
  • appeals against expulsion decrees of other EU countries’ citizens or their relatives for public safety reasons (referred to in articles 20 and 21 of Law Decree 30/2007);
  • recognition of international protection application, referred to in article 35 of Law Decree 25/2008, about proceedings for validation of the police commissioner’s decision on the restrain (or an extension of thereof) of the international protection applicants in a reception centre for asylum seekers (according to article 6, subparagraph 5 of Law Decree n. 142/2015, article 10-ter of Law Decree n. 286/1998, article 28 of EU regulation n. 604/2013);
  • recognition of humanitarian protection status (article 43, subparagraph 3 of Law Decree 25/2008);
  • denials of the permission to carry out a reuniting of family and denied residency permit for family reasons, as well as other provisions concerning family unity rights issued by the authorities (referred to in article 30, subparagraph 6 of Law Decree 286/1998);
  • appeals against decisions made by the competent authorities who establish which country is responsible for the evaluation of a given international protection application (following EU regulation n.604/2013);
  • assessments of statelessness status and Italian citizenship status, as well as disputes and proceedings linked with all the aforementioned cases.

As an exception of article 50-bis of Italian Code of Civil Procedure, verdicts must be made by a single judge.

On the other hand, disputes on international protection applications’ acceptance and appeals against the decision on which country will be responsible for the examination of the international protection application must be resolved by a judge commission.

Local jurisdiction

Jurisdiction belongs to the special sections located in the same district of the authority that approved the appealed provision (whether it is the territorial commission on international protection, or the section which approved or revoked the appealed provision).

If the appealant is currently living in a Government’s accommodation structure, in a structure of the protection system, or is being held in a reception centre for asylum seekers, the jurisdiction will be held by the special section of the tribunal in the district where the accommodation is located.

As for the assignment of disputes referred to in article 14, subparagraph 6 of Law Decree 142/2015, (concerning the international protection applicant’s restrain in a reception centre for asylum seekers) jurisdiction belongs to the special section where the authority that approved the provision is established.

Finally, as for the disputes on statelessness status, Italian citizenship status and other disputes linked to these situations, jurisdiction belongs to the special section of the district where the interested person resides.

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