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Reception Centre for Asylum Seekers (Centre d’accueil pour demandeurs d’asile). A CADA is a facility or scheme specialising in the accommodation and assistance of asylum seekers throughout the procedure. These structures have four main missions:
•    receiving and accommodating asylum seekers,
•    providing them with administrative, social and medical assistance
•    schooling children and running the centre
•    managing the departure of asylum seekers from the centre.
Funded by the public authorities on the basis of the number of people received, CADAs are managed by associations (Adoma, Coallia, FTDA, etc.).


Case law

All judgments which interpret, clarify the meaning of legal texts and, where applicable, supplement legislation and regulations.


Common European Asylum System (CEAS): since the Tampere summit in 1999, the EU Member States have been committed to establishing a single common procedure and uniform status for beneficiaries of international protection, as well as to increasing practical cooperation and fostering intra-European solidarity. A series of legislative and non-legislative texts, on which work began in the early 2000s and was completed in 2013, form the basis of the CEAS: these are primarily the three main "Qualification", "Reception Conditions" and "Procedures" Directives, and the Dublin and EURODAC Regulations, along with the regulations establishing the EASO agency and the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF).

Depuis 2016, une refonte du RAEC est en cours de négociation, visant notamment à transformer en règlements européens les directives sur la qualification et sur la procédure. Les négociations se sont enlisées après la crise migratoire de 2015 et n’ont repris qu’après la publication en 2020 d’un Pacte pour l’asile et les migrations. Pour l’instant, seuls les textes les plus techniques ont été adoptés, à savoir le règlement établissant le FAMI et le règlement relatif à l’Agence européenne pour l’asile, qui succède à EASO.

Certificate of custom law

This document is issued by Ofpra to refugees and stateless persons who wish to get married or enter into a civil partnership. It may also be issued to type 1 subsidiary protection beneficiaries.



The French Code for Entry and Residence of Foreigners and Right of Asylum (CESEDA) repeals and replaces the Order of 2 November 1945 on the conditions governing the admission and residence of foreign nationals in France as well as the Asylum Act of 25 July 1952. It groups together all of the texts (legislative and regulatory) currently governing asylum in France.



Article 1, C. of the Geneva Convention sets out five cases in which refugee status shall cease to apply:

1.    Article 1, C. (1) concerns the refugee who has voluntarily re-availed himself of the protection of the country of his nationality after having been granted refugee status;
2.    Article 1, C. (2) concerns the refugee who, having lost his nationality, has voluntarily re-acquired it;
3.    Article 1, C. (3) considers the case of a refugee who has acquired a new nationality, and enjoys the protection of the country of his new nationality;
4.    Article 1, C. (4) applies to a refugee who has voluntarily re-established himself in his country of origin with a view to residing there permanently;
5.    Article 1, C. (5) shall apply when the refugee "can no longer, because the circumstances in connection with which he has been recognized as a refugee have ceased to exist, continue to refuse to avail himself of the protection of the country of his nationality."




An ecumenical mutual assistance service, the Inter-Movement Committee for Evacuees (La Cimade) was originally a Protestant association, set up in 1939 to help Alsace Lorraine evacuees who were fleeing the German advance. It has become a leading association for showing active solidarity with migrants, refugees and asylum seekers.



Court of Justice of the European Union. This is an institution of the European Union, with its seat in Luxembourg. It brings together two courts: the Court of Justice and the General Court (which took over the jurisdiction of the Civil Service Tribunal in 2016). It ensures that EU law is interpreted and applied the same in every EU country. The Court of Justice can particularly be referred questions for a preliminary ruling by national courts bearing on the meaning to be given to EU law.



The National Asylum Court (Cour nationale du droit d'asile/CNDA) is a specialist court. It has national jurisdiction to issue decisions at first and last instance on appeals lodged against decisions reached by Ofpra's Director-General, under the supervision of the Conseil d'Etat, the final court of appeal. The CNDA is a court with full jurisdiction. If the judge considers that the decision to deny status or protection should be annulled, s/he substitutes his/her own decision for Ofpra's administrative decision by granting a person refugee status or the benefit of subsidiary protection.



Country of origin information (COI): this term refers to information on countries from which asylum seekers originate. It plays a determining role in the decision-making process, since protection officers rely on this documentation to back up their arguments. At Ofpra, the Information, Documentation and Research Division (DIDR) is in charge of providing protection officers with reliable, objective, up-to-date information in accordance with EU common guidelines.

Conseil d'Etat

The Conseil d'Etat (France's highest administrative jurisdiction) carries out two traditional missions: it advises the Government on the preparation of bills, decrees, etc. and it is also the highest administrative court which settles disputes relating to public authority decisions. The Conseil d'Etat is also responsible for managing all administrative tribunals. The decisions of the National Asylum Court (CNDA) can be challenged before the Conseil d'Etat by Ofpra or an asylum seeker.


Convention of 10 February1938

In October 1933 France was already pressing for an international solution, within the context of the League of Nations, to the problem of refugees having fled Germany. During the four years that followed Hitler's rise to power, negotiations on the status of refugees finally culminated in the International Convention of 10 February 1938, under which the term "refugees coming from Germany" is deemed to apply to:

1.    "Persons possessing or having possessed German nationality and not possessing any other nationality who are proved not to enjoy, in law or in fact, the protection of the German Government";
2.    "Stateless persons [...] who have left German territory after being established therein and who are proved not to enjoy, in law or in fact, the protection of the German Government"
This agreement represented progress in legal terms. It thus provided for regulation of the right of sojourn and residence and a right to work for refugees. France was one of the States that signed this Convention, but did not ratify it until the end of the war, in April 1945.


Convention of 28 October 1933 Relating to the International Status of Refugees

Ratified on 28 October 1933 by five countries – Belgium, Bulgaria, Egypt, France and Norway – this Convention built on the existing agreements that had been signed since 1922 with a view to guaranteeing refugees a status. States Parties to the agreement had to guarantee access for refugees to the Nansen passport, protection of personal status rights, access to courts, freedom of labour and protection against exploitation, as well as access to education and welfare. This Convention was the first document in international law to state the fundamental principle of non-refoulement, which protected refugees from forcible repatriation in cases in which their lives might be in danger.




The Objectives and Performance Agreement (Contrat d’Objectifs et de Performance/COP) is signed between a public body, Ofpra in this instance, and its supervisory bodies: the Ministries of the Interior and Budget. It sets out to formally document the relations between two entities: the State and a public body. The COP is therefore a public policy management tool. In this context, a three-year objective has been set for Ofpra, with account taken of Ofpra's internal reform in 2013, the steady rise in asylum claims being made since 2007 and the changes that have been brought about by the transposition of the Asylum Procedures Directive into French legislation in 2015.

Country of reference

This is the country of which the person is a national or, when s/he does not have nationality, his/her normal country of residence.



The CRA (Centre de rétention administrative) is a place for detaining foreign nationals for whom the French authorities have not recognised the right to reside on national soil. Detainees are likely to be deported to their country of origin.

The initial decision to place a foreign national in administrative detention is made by the Prefect for a five-day duration. The authorities notify detained foreign nationals of their rights, including the right to claim asylum within the first five days of being placed in administrative detention.
Where the foreign national's expulsion has not taken place within the first five days of being administratively de

tained, the Prefect refers the case to the Liberty and Custody Judge (juge des libertés et de la détention) of the regional court (tribunal de grande instance) of the place where the CRA is located. The judge can decide to keep the foreign national in administrative detention for 20 days after the initial placement, to release him or her where the circumstances of law or of fact so justify, or place him or her under house arrest on exceptional grounds. If the foreign national is to remain in administrative detention, after 25 days the Prefect may request a second extension of 20 days at the most from the Liberty and Custody Judge. The length of time a foreign national may be administratively detained in a CRA cannot therefore exceed 45 days, and during this time s/he may seek the advice or opinion of an association working in the premises. There are currently 25 administrative detention centres for illegal immigrants in France, spread across the territory.