Determining refugee status under Directive 2004/83: Comment on Bolbol (C-31/09)

Paul James Cardwell

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


In Bolbol, the European Court of Justice considered the refusal of the Hungarian authorities to grant refugee status to a stateless Palestinian. Her claim relied on a provision of the Geneva Convention contained in Directive 2004/83 on minimum standards for the qualification and status of third-country nationals as refugees. The ECJ was willing to consider that the minimum standards extended to considering the eligibility of a Palestinian displaced after 1951 as a refugee, but that the individual in question must have actually, not potentially, availed themselves of UN protection or assistance. The Court interpreted a vaguely worded provision of the Geneva Convention in a narrow way, though it rejected the even narrower approaches put forward by some Member States. In this article, the author discusses the balancing act undertaken by the ECJ when considering minimum standards legislation in a dynamic and rapidly evolving domain of EU law-making.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)135-145
Number of pages11
JournalEuropean Law Review
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2011


  • asylum seekers
  • EU law
  • Palestine
  • refugees


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