The support divisions

Information, documentation and research division (DIDR)

  • Division head : Leïla BENSHILA-KESEN

The main mission of the Information, Documentation and Research Division (DIDR) is to assist with decision-making during examination procedures by providing Ofpra officials with reliable, objective, transparent, independent and up-to-date information on the countries of origin.

It is tasked with distributing information necessary for examination and protection, via the internal documentary collection it manages and Ofpra's speciality portal ( Flora ), a fully operational database that it is responsible for overseeing. It is also responsible for training the examining protection officers on the countries of origin.

In addition, the DIDR provides a research-on-demand service for protection officers, when additional information is required for examining an asylum application. In keeping with the guidelines common to the European Union, the documents it produces enhance the quality of international protection application processing.

The fact-finding missions in the countries of origin, conducted by the DIDR, are also an invaluable source of information for examining applications.

Three research sections specialising in certain geographic zones make up this division, alongside a "Documentation and monitoring" section in charge of the speciality portal and the room where publications, studies and journals can be consulted by agents:

  • North Africa/ Middle East/Turkey/Balkans section
  • Asia/post-Soviet states section
  • Africa/Americas section
  • Documentation and monitoring section


Legal, European and International Affairs Division

  • Division head: Johan ANKRI

The DAJEI has five main missions:

  • The provision of legal advice to Ofpra’s divisions and services regarding the examination of asylum applications, requests to cross the border to apply for asylum, applications for statelessness status, procedures involving the termination of protected status, and the implementation of judicial and administrative protection; diffusion of legal information; participation in the harmonisation of the practices of the Office and controls regarding the quality of the decisions

  • Defence of Ofpra’s decisions at the level of administrative jurisdictions and representation of the Office at the National Asylum Court ( CNDA )

  • Participation in the drafting of new legal norms regarding asylum at the French and European levels and in their implementation at Ofpra

  • Practical cooperation with Ofpra’s European counterparts and institutional partners as well as the monitoring of the evolution of the legal framework and asylum policies at the French, European and international levels; coordination of projects at the European and international levels

  • Exchange of information with legal authorities and other administrations

This division is composed of three sections and one office:


  • Legal counsel and disputes section
  • Public order and termination of protection section
  • General affairs section
  • Office for European and international affairs

The legal counsel and disputes section and the public order and termination of protection section are tasked with providing the officials working at the DACIM and in the protection and geographic divisions with legal support with regards to examination of files relevant to the expertise of the section providing the support. They are also in charge of cases brought before the National Asylum Court (CNDA) which can, where applicable, give rise to the writing of defence pleadings and presentation of oral observations in court. They examine requests for further examination issued by this court.

Also responsible for legal monitoring, these sections analyse the case law of the National Asylum Court and of other national and European courts on asylum matters and draft appeals to the Conseil d'Etat following an annulment decision on the part of the CNDA.

The general affairs section follows certain disputes at the CNDA, especially recours en révision and administrative and common law disputes. The section also responds to requests to access sound recordings and administrative documents. It ensures the digital transmission of asylum seekers’ files to the CNDA. It also responds to requests from prefectures, legal authorities and other administrations for information and for cooperation, while respecting the principle of the confidentiality of the asylum application.

The office for European and international affairs endeavours to promote Ofpra's work and showcase its expertise at European and international level. It monitors the negotiations on the Common Europe Asylum System ( CEAS ) and ensures the monitoring and evaluation of the evolution of the legal framework and asylum policies at the level of Europe, the UNHCR and the world. It ensures practical bilateral cooperation between Ofpra and its counterparts and develops partnerships in the field of asylum. As the point of contact for the European Asylum Support Office (EASO) and for the European Migration Network (EMN), the office coordinates Ofpra's participation in the activities of both organisations. It develops and coordinates projects with European financial backing. It also contributes to the development of France’s position at the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) and the European Court of Human Rights ( ECHR ).

The DAJEI also provides the secretariat for Ofpra's harmonisation committee. Set up in 2013 to address Ofpra's concerns in terms of unification of procedures and work practices, this committee meets every three months and is made up of the representatives of Ofpra's main specialities and all the divisions. It is a forum for discussions, proposals and impetus that shares points with the Director-General that are essential for making his decisions.

The Permanent Secretary of the harmonisation committee assists the Director-General in his duties as Committee Chair; he organises its sessions, supervises the activity of the groups of geographic and thematic advisors, and coordinates the preparation, monitoring and assessment of the committee's work. He provides legal counsel to the Management and is also the advisor to Ofpra's staff in terms of implementing the asylum procedures.

The DAJEI also has a professional conduct advisor and two policy officers with the respective responsibilities of monitoring the consideration of vulnerabilities in the examination of asylum applications and the quality control of asylum application processing and decisions issued by Ofpra.

The professional conduct advisor is tasked with informing officials of the applicable rules of professional conduct and with advising them about any special situation, with a view to preventing potential conflicts of interest.

The policy officer for vulnerabilities coordinates the activity of the five thematic advice groups devoted to the main specific protection needs (unaccompanied minors, sexual orientation and gender identity, torture, human trafficking and violence against women) and coordinates the cross-cutting actions of these groups. S/he also monitors the special procedures bearing on these specific needs, supports consultations with stakeholders outside Ofpra on matters related to vulnerability and centralises vulnerability facts reported by associations. Finally, s/he contributes to the development of Ofpra’s doctrine regarding the taking into account of vulnerabilities.

Quality control of Ofpra's decisions enables assessment of the concrete application of legal obligations, the principles of the Institution and the quality objectives it sets in the accomplishment of its mission. It also makes it possible to identify corrective measures if necessary.


Bibliothèque de l'Ofpra
© C. Millerand