In the now nearly 20 years since its official foundation, a lot has been written about the Common European Asylum System (CEAS); not only in academic journals and books, but also in the form of working and opinion papers, policy reports and evaluations. Our in-depth review of this literature primarily focuses on academic work that was published since the year 2000, but also takes into account some of the more recent “grey literature” produced by nonacademic organisations. The aim of this review was to systematically collect, organise, and analyse – both quantitatively and qualitatively – this vast body of existing knowledge, in order to inform the field research soon to be carried out as part of the CEASEVAL project. One thing we found, is that much of the existing literature about the CEAS is not necessarily based on findings of (original) empirical research but discusses or merely describes its failure or partial success at a rather theoretical and often quite superficial level. CEASEVAL therefore aims to provide a more comprehensive and critical evaluation of the CEAS, by taking into account the various roles and perspectives of state as well as non-state actors and looking at developments at the European, national as well as local levels.