Court name: Court of Appeal
Date of decision:

The applicant applied for British citizenship on the basis of s.4B of the British Nationality Act 1981 (which does not allow the grant of British citizenship when the applicant already has another nationality), relying on a letter from a Pakistani Consulate confirming that his Pakistani nationality was cancelled. The Court of Appeal reversed the lower court’s decision, which had been in favour of the applicant, on the basis that (1) it failed to apply the principle that the person's nationality was to be determined by reference to the actual law of the state on the basis of expert evidence, not what agencies of the state might assert about that person's nationality; and (2) the lower court’s reading of Pakistani law was mistaken.

Court name: Supreme Court (Corte Suprema di Cassazione)
State: Italy
Date of decision:

The Ministry of Interior requested for the decision concerning the recognition of the respondent’s stateless status, be overturned. The case on appeal raised two points of principle: first, the burden of proof applicable to the determination of whether a person qualifies for stateless status, as defined in the 1954 Convention; and secondly, the consideration of stateless persons as a particular category of aliens comparable to beneficiaries of international protection. The Supreme Court overruled the Court of Appeal’s previous decision and ordered the Tribunal for a new assessment of the applicant’s status.

Court name: Supreme Administrative Court
State: Ukraine
Date of decision:

The applicant was born in the Soviet Union on the territory of Russia. The facts as to where the applicant lived and when are disputed in the case. In 1999 he was issued a Ukrainian passport, but a court later established that the place and date of birth he indicated were not correct, and his passport was confiscated and destroyed. The authorities argued that the applicant ought to prove he never acquired Russian nationality or alternatively that he renounced his Russian nationality. 

Court name: Federal Administrative Court of Switzerland
Date of decision:

The applicant is a Syrian Kurd, who fled to Austria in 2011. Just after he left, Syria passed a Decree that would have allowed the applicant to acquire Syrian nationality. The applicant was thus deemed to have been able to acquire Syrian nationality, even if he hasn’t done that, and therefore was not entitled to a stateless status.  

Court name: Constitutional Court of Austria (Verfassungsgerichtshof)
State: Austria
Date of decision:

The applicant acquired Austrian nationality in 1995 and renounced her former Turkish nationality in 1996 as a condition for retaining the Austrian nationality. In 2018 the Austrian authorities declared that she has no longer been an Austrian national since 1997 as it appeared that she voluntarily re-acquired her Turkish nationality at that time, which is a ground for automatic loss of Austrian nationality. The Court set aside the determination of loss of Austrian nationality as it did not carry out a proportionality test on the basis of the Tjebbes judgment.

Court name: Constitutional Court of Austria (Verfassungsgerichtshof)
State: Austria
Date of decision:

The applicants are children born presumably in a surrogacy arrangement in Ukraine to two Austrian nationals. Even though the custody of the commissioning parents over the applicants was confirmed under the Austrian law, their parentage and consequently the Austrian nationality of the applicants was initially denied. The Court considered that the best interests of the child prevail in such a case over the prohibition of surrogacy under Austrian law, and confirmed the applicants' right to Austrian nationality. 

Court name: Vienna Administrative Court
State: Austria
Date of decision:

The applicant acquired Austrian nationality by naturalisation in 1997, and renounced her Turkish nationality in that context. In 2018 it appeared that the applicant was listed on the voter registers for Turkish nationals abroad. She did not provide proof that she did not re-acquire Turkish nationality, and on that basis the Austrian authorities declared she has lost her Austrian nationality automatically due to acquisition of a foreign nationality. 

Court name: Constitutional Court of Austria (Verfassungsgerichtshof)
State: Austria
Date of decision:

In order to acquire Austrian nationality, the applicant renounced her Turkish nationality in 1997. Over a decade later it came to light that she has re-acquired Turkish nationality in 1998, which according to Austrian law resulted in automatic loss of the Austrian nationality. She renounced her Turkish nationality again in 2009, but in 2010 the Austrian authorities confirmed that she was no longer Austrian since 1998. The Court found that this was not in violation of Austria's obligation to avoid statelessness since the applicant's statelessness was not caused by a decision of the  Austrian authorities. 

Court name: Council of State of the Netherlands (Raad van State)
Date of decision:

The applicant is the mother of a stateless child born in the Netherlands, who applied for confirmation of Dutch nationality for her son. The application was rejected as the municipality neither considered it established that the child is stateless, nor that he has fulfilled the legal residence requirement. The applicant claimed that denial of confirmation of nationality for her son constitutes violations of article 8 ECHR, article 7 CRC and article 24 ICCPR, but those arguments failed in Court. The Court mentions the plans of the Dutch government to introduce a statelessness determination procedure. 

Court name: Supreme Administrative Court
State: Poland
Date of decision:

The applicant arrived to Poland from Ukraine shortly after the dissolution of the USSR. His application for facilitated naturalisation as a stateless person was rejected in 2010 as his statelessness was not evident. The state authorities presented evidence of applicant's Ukrainian citizenship which included a letter from Ukrainian consulate in Poland. The Court ruled that self-declaring as stateless does not have legal significance in the context of access to facilitated naturalisation, and held it against the applicant that he did not effectively challenge the state authorities' evidence of his Ukrainian nationality.

Court name: Council of State of the Netherlands (Raad van State)
Date of decision:

The case concerns a child born in the Netherlands to an undocumented mother of Chinese origin. The child is registered in the municipal records as having an "unknown" nationality. The mother attempts to register him as "stateless" to strengthen his claim to Dutch citizenship, but cannot meet the high standard of proof set by the municipality for registering statelessness. The Court sides with the municipality in this case, but implies that the legislator ought to establish a statelessness determination procedure in the Netherlands.

Court name: Council of State of the Netherlands
Date of decision:

Applicant was born in Macedonia and lived in the Netherlands for 38 years. His path to naturalisation was inhibited by the registration of his nationality status as "unknown" in the municipal records, which he requested to change to "stateless", arguing that he has never acquired the Macedonian nationality. The Council of State sided with the municipality that denied the request, maintaining that it has not been "irrefutably established" that the applicant is not a Macedonian national. The judgment refers to the Dutch legislative initiative on the statelessness determination, implying that it is needed, and that the municipal registry is not a statelessness determination procedure.  

Court name: High Court of Justice, Queen's Bench Division
Date of decision:

A child (MK) was born in the UK in 2010 and her parents were both nationals of India. MK had made an application for registration as a British citizen. Paragraph 3 of Schedule 2 of the British Nationality Act 1981 requires that the child 'is and always has been stateless'. The key issue was whether, in order to be considered stateless, the child was required to have sought (and failed) to acquire the nationality of her parents. The Court determined that there was no requirement to have sought the nationality of the parents, and MK was, if she met the other relevant requirements, entitled to register as a British citizen, as she was and always had been stateless at the date of the relevant Home Office decision. Further, the Secretary of State could require an applicant to prove the relevant facts, but could not lawfully 'impose requirements that cannot, or practically cannot, be met'.

Court name: Tribunal Supremo (Supreme Court)
State: Spain
Date of decision:

Saharawi people who live in Algerian refugee camps do not have a nationality, therefore they are stateless and must be officially recognized as such.

Court name: Supreme Court (Tribunal Supremo)
State: Spain
Date of decision:

The applicant is a Saharawi man who was born in the former Spanish Sahara and who, in 1979, fled to the Saharawi refugee camps in Tindouf (Algeria), where he lived until 2005, when he arrived in Spain after being issued a passport by the Algerian authorities. In Spain, he applied for statelessness status. The Ministry of Interior rejected his application based on his Algerian passport, but this decision was overturned, on appeal, by the High Court, which found that Algerian passports are just travel documents.  

Court name: Supreme Court (Tribunal Supremo)
State: Spain
Date of decision:

The case concerns a Saharawi woman who was not recognised as a stateless person by the Ministry of Interior, in a decision which was later upheld by the High Court. The Supreme Court overturned both the lower decisions.

Court name: Administrative Court in Zagreb
State: Croatia
Date of decision:

The applicant was born in 1984 in the Republic of Croatia and her birth was registered, but she never acquired citizenship. The case concerns her subsequent acquisition of citizenship as a stateless person with permanent residence.