Court name: Court of Appeals of Gipuzkoa
State: Spain
Date of decision:

A 7-year-old child arrived in Spain irregularly by boat in April 2018. She was born in Morocco to a Cameroonian mother while they were on a journey to Europe, and due to the circumstances the child’s birth was not registered. Her mother contacted the Cameroonian and Moroccan embassies in Spain, but she never succeeded in registering her birth nor recognising her Cameroonian nor Moroccan nationality. The child was thus stateless, as declared in the first instance judgment and confirmed on appeal. The Provincial Court of Guipúzcoa held that the mother had made a genuine effort to remove all bureaucratic obstacles to have the child’s Cameroonian nationality recognised. The Court held that the safeguard established in the Spanish Civil Code to prevent statelessness of children born in Spain should be applied broadly and by analogy, as this is the only interpretation in compliance with international treaties to which Spain is a party and with the principle of the best interests of the child. Therefore it found that there was a violation of the child's fundamental rights and declared that the child held Spanish nationality and agreed to order the Central Civil Registry to register the birth of the child. 

Court name: Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU)
State: Poland
Date of decision:

The case concerns the refusal by the Head of the Civil Registry Office of Kraków (Poland) to transcribe into the Polish register of civil status the birth certificate of the daughter of K.S. and her wife S.V.D., issued by Spanish authorities. This lack of registration hindered the issuance of a passport, which impacted the child’s freedom of movement.

The Court interpreted Articles 20 and 21 of the TFEU, to mean that the Member State of which a child of a same-sex couple is a national (i) is obliged to issue to that child an identity card or a passport without requiring the prior transcription of a birth certificate of that child into the national register of civil status, and (ii) is obliged to recognise the document from another Member State that permits the child to exercise, without impediment, the right to move and reside freely within the territory of the Member States.

Court name: The High Court of Justice Queen’s Bench Division Administrative Court
Date of decision:

Two of the applicants, E3 and N3, were deprived of their British citizenship by the defendant, the Secretary of State for the Home Department. Following the determination of the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (“SIAC”) in similar cases, the defendant withdrew her deprivation decisions against the applicants, whose citizenship was reinstated. 

During the period of deprivation, the third applicant, ZA, who is the daughter of one of the applicants, was born. The applicants claimed that ZA should be automatically entitled to British citizenship. The court held that the child of a British citizen born during a period in which her father had been deprived of his citizenship (which was later reinstated), was not automatically British at birth, as the decision to reinstate the father’s citizenship did not have retroactive effect.  

Court name: Supreme Court
State: Ireland
Date of decision:

This appeal arose from decisions of first and second respondents to refuse the appellant’s application for an Irish passport on the basis that he is not an Irish citizen. The appellant’s passport application was on grounds of automatic birth right citizenship derived through the residence of his father, an Afghan national, who gave false information on his initial refugee application in the State. The Court of Appeal had decided in favour of the Minister, holding that a declaration of refugee status which is revoked on the basis that the applicant had provided false and misleading information leads to the declaration being void ab initio.

The Supreme Court allowing the appeal, held that while a refugee declaration is ‘‘in force’’ and until such time as it is revoked, it must be regarded as being valid. This was based on the fact that the Minister for Justice has a discretion as to whether or not to revoke and is only required to do so when it is considered appropriate. This discretion would have enabled the Minister for Justice in an appropriate case to consider the effect of a decision to revoke on those who obtained derivative rights prior to revocation. The Court held that residence status conferred by the State on a parent based on false or misleading information could be included for the calculation of the period required to confer an entitlement of citizenship on the appellant.

Court name: Court of Appeal (Civil Division)
Date of decision:

The appellant, a child born to a Zimbabwean mother and Portuguese father, was not a recognised national of any country and consequently applied for limited leave to remain in the United Kingdom through paragraph 405 of the Immigration Rules. However, for paragraph 405 of the Immigration Rules to apply, individuals must also satisfy the conditions of paragraph 403, which include a requirement that individuals be inadmissible to any country other than the UK. The Court of Appeal affirmed the Upper Tribunal’s decision that JM was admissible to Zimbabwe and therefore did not qualify for limited leave to remain in the country under paragraph 405.

Court name: UK Supreme Court
Date of decision:

A Nigerian child was unable to apply British citizenship as she could not pay the full fee, fixed at £973 at the time. The UK Supreme Court found that setting high and unaffordable fees for registration as a British citizen is not unlawful, even though it acknowledged that for many young people the current level of fees is unaffordable and that the inability to acquire British citizenship may result in difficulties for young people. However, the Supreme Court found that the UK Parliament had empowered the Secretary of State to set such fees at a level exceeding the cost of processing a citizenship application and therefore setting such high fees was not unlawful.

Court name: Court of Justice of the European Union
State:
Date of decision:

Bulgarian authorities refused to issue a birth certificate to the daughter of a Bulgarian mother and a British mother, who was born in Spain and issued a Spanish birth certificate with the names of both mothers, on the basis that it could only recognise parents of different genders. The Court found that where a birth certificate issued in another Member State designates parents of the same sex, the Member State of which the child is a national is required to issue an identity card or a passport to the child, without requiring a birth certificate to be drawn up beforehand by its national authorities. It also held that the Bulgarian authorities, and any other Member State, must recognise the parent-child relationship as established by the Spanish authorities for the purposes of permitting the exercise of the child’s right to move and reside freely within the EU, and any documents that would allow such travel.

 

Court name: Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC)
Date of decision:

The communication concerned M.K.A.H., a stateless child, and whether Switzerland violated his rights under Articles 2 (2), 6, 7, 16, 22, 24, 27, 28, 29, 37 and 39 UNCRC when it decided to return him and his mother to Bulgaria, pursuant to the agreement between Switzerland and Bulgaria relating to the readmission of migrants in irregular situations, where they had previously obtained subsidiary protection.

Some of the findings of the Committee were that (i) Switzerland had not respected the best interests of the child nor heard him at the time of hearing the asylum request; (ii) the child ran a real risk of being subject to inhuman and degrading treatment in case of a return to Bulgaria; (iii) Switzerland had not sought to take the necessary measures to verify whether the child would be able to acquire a nationality in Bulgaria. The Committee also found that Article 7 UNCRC implicates that States must take the necessary positive actions to implement the right to acquire a nationality.

Court name: Human Rights Committee
Date of decision:

A child was born in the Netherlands was registered as having 'unknown' nationality and the authorities refused changing it to 'stateless' on the ground that the child had not proved that he had no nationality, as the burden of proof was on the child and not on the authorities. Without being recognised as stateless, the author could not acquire Dutch nationality. The Committee adopted the view that this requirement rendered the author of the complaint unable to effectively enjoy his right as a minor to acquire a nationality, in violation of the rights guaranteed under Article 24(3) in conjunction with Article 2(3) ICCPR.

Court name: High Court
State: Ireland
Date of decision:

The applicant is a child who was born in Ireland to a Cameroonian mother and a Ghanaian father, it was asserted that the child was stateless. The Refugee Appeal Tribunal denied the child applicant refugee status and the applicant requested a judicial review of the tribunal’s decision. The application centred around the tribunals alleged wrongful reliance on the applicant’s right to acquire citizenship in Ghana and Cameroon. The application for judicial review was ultimately unsuccessful.

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

The applicant is a Polish national, whose son was born in Belarus to a mother who is a national of Belarus. The applicant was originally not mentioned as a father on the birth certificate, but established his paternity through a court order in Poland, unfortunately missing the 12-months deadline since the birth of his son to be able to claim Polish nationality for his son. The Court comments on the applicability of Article 24 ICCPR, stating that it is not applicable since the child acquired Belarusian nationality, and implying that if the child would have been stateless Article 24 ICCPR may have resulted in an interpretation of the Polish law so as to remedy the child's statelessness. 

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

The judgment is an answer to a general legal question as to whether Polish law allows the incorporation of foreign birth certificates where parents are of the same sex. The question was prompted by the authorities' refusal to transcribe into Polish law the foreign birth certificate of a child born to two mothers, both of whom are Polish nationals. The applicant argued that since lack of a transcribed birth certificate inhibits her child's access to a Polish passport, it in practice leads to a situation that is identical to statelessness. 

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

The applicant was born in Yugoslavia on the territory of Croatia, to parents who were born on the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The applicant's birth registration erroneously included an entry "Muslim", which was subsequently crossed out and replaced by a reference to his origin from Bosnia and Herzegovina. The applicant argued that he should have been registered as a Croatian national at birth, just like his brother was, and that denial of Croatian nationality status would mean that he became stateless after the dissolution of Yugoslavia. 

Court name: Administrative Court of Montenegro
State: Montenegro
Date of decision:

The applicant attempted to obtain Montenegrin nationality for himself and his two minor children through naturalisation. The requests were rejected, as the applicant did not fulfil all the naturalisation requirements. However, with regard to the children, the Court ruled that even though their parent's naturalisation failed, their entitlement to the Montenegrin nationality should be explored on the basis of acquisition at birth, as the children are otherwise stateless, and annulled the part of the administrative decision related to the children on the basis of insufficient reasoning. 

Court name: Federal Administrative Court (Bundesverwaltungsgericht)
Date of decision:

Applicants requested to be recognised as stateless in addition to having already been recognised as refugees. The judgments deals with the question of whether refugee status is comparable in rights to the status of nationals within the meaning of the exclusion clause in Article 1(2) of the 1954 Convention. The Court sides with the applicants confirming their right to be recognised as stateless persons in addition to having been granted asylum-based residence status. 

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

The applicant is of Roma ethnic origin, with parents from former Yugoslavia, who was born, grew up, and worked his whole life in Austria. He has had a permanent residence permit until 1995, when the latter was withdrawn due to applicant's criminal convictions. The Court found the applicant to be stateless, and determined that expulsion of a stateless person without a former country of habitual residence amounts to violation of Article 3 ECHR. 

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

The applicant was born in Belarus between 1990 and 1993, to parents of Armenian ethnic origin, and lived in Austria since the age of 9. Austria's civil registration allows for the registration of births of individuals who are stateless or whose nationality status is unclear, and the applicant argued her birth should be registered based on this provision, as she is stateless, or at least her nationality status in undetermined. The authorities considered that the applicant is an Armenian national based on findings in her asylum file, but the Court sided with the applicant and determined that she is entitled to have her birth registered in Austria.

Court name: East-Brabant Court
Date of decision:

The applicant originates from Somalia and arrived to the Netherlands through Yemen as an unaccompanied minor. When testifying for his asylum application, he omitted to mention that he had lived in Yemen. He was granted a residence permit which later lead to his naturalisation, but the latter was withdrawn nearly 12 years later as the authorities found out about his history in Yemen. He argued that the denaturalisation is disproportionate in light of the CJEU Rottmann judgment, citing statelessness as one of the circumstances, and the court upheld his position. 

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 was born abroad to two Polish mothers, and acquired Polish nationality on the basis of at least one of his parents being Polish. However, he was unable to access Polish identity documents, for which a transcription of a foreign birth certificate into the Polish legal order is required - the latter being denied as the concept of two mothers contradicts the fundamental principles of Polish legal order. The Court ruled in favour of the applicant, relying heavily on national and international children's rights norms. 

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

The applicant was born in Poland to a Vietnamese mother. When she was 9 years old a Polish citizen formally recognised her as his daughter, and the local authority subsequently confirmed that she is a Polish citizen by birth. She was growing up as a Polish citizen until another 8 years later the central government authorities invalidated the confirmation of nationality by the local authority, as according to the Polish Citizenship Law changes in parenthood can only lead to acquisition of Polish citizenship if they take place within 1 year of birth. The applicant's arguments related to article 8 ECHR, best interests of the child, as well as long-term presumption of Polish citizenship due to no fault of the applicant, although the court dismissed all arguments.

Court name: High Court
State: Ireland
Date of decision:

This case concerns an applicant who sought to quash the decision of the respondent which refused to revoke a deportation order made in respect of the applicant. The respondent contended that the applicant had been untruthful throughout the asylum process about his nationality and was therefore not entitled to any relief, while the applicant contended that the applicant’s untruthfulness should not be a bar to relief as substantial grounds established that a real risk to the applicant's life or freedom was inevitable. The Court found in favour of the applicant and quashed the decision of the respondent refusing to revoke the deportation order.

Court name: Nantes Administrative Court of Appeal
State: France
Date of decision:

The applicant was born in Taiwan, and entered France as an unaccompanied minor on a "borrowed" passport. Her application for stateless status was rejected, as she did not make sufficient effort to obtain Chinese nationality. OFPRA also relied on the applicant having had a "double identity" in France and therefore being untrustworthy, and on the fact that France does not recognise Taiwan as an independent state. 

Court name: Court of the Hague
Date of decision:

A child is born in the Netherlands in 2016, and has resided there since, without a legal residence permit. A request was made on behalf of the child to determine that he has Dutch nationality, on the basis of direct application of article 1 of the 1961 Convention, as he would otherwise be stateless. The Court refuses, as it considers this to be a question of granting Dutch nationality, and not of determination of Dutch nationality, which the Court is not empowered to do.