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

This case concerns a mother and child, NB and AB, stateless Palestinians formerly residing in Lebanon who are registered with UNRWA. AB is severely disabled and has complex medical issues and other needs. They sought asylum in the United Kingdom on the basis of Article 1D of the Refugee Convention. The Court considered whether they qualify to be granted ipso facto refugee status under Article 1D of the Refugee Convention. The Court found that the burden of proof lies with the applicants to prove that they have actually had recourse to UNRWA’s protection or assistance and that that protection or assistance has ceased, but, once that is established, if the authority considers that the applicant could now return to UNRWA’s area of operation, it is for that authority to demonstrate that the circumstances have changed in the area of operations concerned and that the applicant can access adequate protection or assistance from UNRWA. It also held that the applicant does not need to prove that there was any intentional infliction of harm or failure; it is sufficient to establish that UNRWA’s assistance or protection has in fact ceased for any reason (beyond the applicant’s control). The Court held, inter alia, that if UNRWA cooperates with a civil society or host government agency or actor to fulfil its mission, the services by those organisations are relevant to considerations of whether UNWRA can provide adequate assistance or protection only if there is a stable and formal relationship between UNRWA and the relevant organisations, and the applicant has a durable right to such services.

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: Cour administrative d’appel de Paris
State: France
Date of decision:

A Palestinian refugee was living in Lebanon and benefited from the protection of UNRWA before leaving for France and applying for statelessness status in France. After the Conseil d’État quashed a decision granting the applicant statelessness status and referred the case back to the Administrative Court of Appeal, the Court found that the applicant still benefitted from effective protection from UNRWA, as she did not fall under any of the conditions identified by the Conseil d’État in which a Palestinian refugee who is outside UNRWA’s area of operation must be considered as no longer effectively benefiting from UNRWA’s protection.

Court name: Conseil d'Etat
State: France
Date of decision:

A Palestinian refugee was living in Lebanon and benefited from the protection of UNRWA, before moving to and applying for statelessness status in France. The Conseil d’Etat quashed a decision to grant the applicant statelessness status because it did not mention whether the applicant no longer continued to benefit from UNRWA's effective protection. The Conseil d'Etat ruled on the conditions of eligibility of Palestinian refugees for statelessness status and identified three hypothesis in which a Palestinian refugee who is outside UNRWA's area of activity must be considered as no longer effectively benefiting from the protection or assistance of this agency.

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

The case concerns the interpretation and scope of Article 12(1)(a) of the 2004 Qualification Directive (equivalent to Article 1D of the Refugee Convention). The CJEU held that persons who have registered with UNRWA or received UNRWA’s assistance will not be excluded from refugee status if that assistance has ceased for reasons beyond their control and independent of their volition. However, mere absence from UNRWA’s area of operation or a voluntary decision to leave it cannot be regarded as cessation of assistance. A person will be considered to have been forced to leave UNRWA’s area of operation where their personal safety was at serious risk and it was impossible for UNRWA to guarantee their living conditions. Where UNRWA’s assistance has ceased for reasons beyond the control of the applicant, and other exclusion clauses are not applicable, the applicant is automatically entitled to refugee status, but they are required to have made an application for refugee status.

Court name: District Court of The Hague
Date of decision:

The Appellant is a stateless Palestinian who has applied for asylum in the Netherlands. The Appellant claims that Lebanon cannot be regarded as her country of usual residence. The court declares that Lebanon was rightly considered the Appellant’s country of usual residence and the exclusion provision of Article 1 (D) of the Refugee Convention applies.

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

The initiation of the procedure for the recognition of statelessness status does not require the applicant to be in the national territory, it is sufficient for the applicant to be at a border point.

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

The applicant, of Palestinian origin, applied for stateless status, arguing that Spain does not recognise Palestine as a State. The Supreme Court rejected her application arguing that many countries in the international community recognise Palestine as a state, implying that Palestine provided the applicant with protection.

Court name: Municipal Court Prague
Date of decision:

The court stated that “not admitting applicants for statelessness status to an asylum seekers' accommodation centre is an unlawful action” and the applicants should be admitted to an accommodation centre until a decision is made on their applications for recognition as a stateless person. The case was argued based on an analogy with the asylum procedure, as the reference to stateless persons is currently in the Czech Asylum Act. 

Court name: Supreme Court
Date of decision:

The applicant, who is stateless, was fined for violating immigration rules, and an expulsion order was issued against him, with a detention in an immigration detention centre prior to the expulsion. The applicant appealed against the detention, but the Court found no reasons to question the lawfulness of detention, as the law allows to detain foreigners and stateless persons prior to their expulsion. 

Court name: Supreme Court
Date of decision:

The applicant is a stateless person, who committed an administrative offence of drug abuse, and was sentenced to administrative detention and expulsion. The Court considered that in his specific circumstances, which included statelessness and long-term residence in Russia since childhood, expulsion would be a disproportionate measure at risk of violating Russia's international human rights commitments, and reduced the sentence to administrative detention only. 

Court name: Supreme Court
Date of decision:

The applicant is a stateless person, who has been fined and ordered to leave Russia due to lack of appropriate immigration documents. He was discovered in Russia again in 2014, fined, and an expulsion order was issued against him. The Court found that the applicant's statelessness does not exempt him from having to comply with immigration regulations. 

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

The applicant appplicant was born in Russia and renounced his Russian nationality in 2000. He applied for a statelessness status in Luxembourg in 2008, but it was discovered that he had applied for asylum status in the Netherlands in 2006, which was rejected, so Luxembourg transferred the applicant to the Netherlands under the Dublin regulation. The applicant returned several times to Luxembourg and was sent back to the Netherlands. He made a repeated application for statelessness status in 2014, where the courts accepted his argument that statelessness status determination doesn't fall within the scope of the Dublin regulations, and the court also accepted that his voluntary renunciation of Russian nationality does not exclude him from protection under the 1954 Convention. 

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

The applicant originates from former Soviet Union, and has lived in Luxembourg since 2004, unsuccessfully applying for the recognition of a statelessness status on numerous occasions. His identity has never been confirmed, and there were doubts as to the credibility of his testimony stemming from his asylum procedures. The applicant claimed that after 15 years of inability to determine the country of destination for his removal the attempts at deportation should be terminated, and his statelessness recognised, especially considering his poor health condition. 

Court name: High Administrative Court of the Republic of Croatia
State: Croatia
Date of decision:

The applicant was born in Croatia in 1998 and has lived there ever since. His parents are citizens of Serbia, but the applicant's citizenship status remained unclear. His request for a permanent residence permit in Croatia was rejected, among others due to lack of a valid travel document, lack of means of subsistence, and lack of health insurance. The Court ordered the authorities to issue a new decision, taking into account the ECHR judgment in Hoti v. Croatia, and the applicant's potential statelessness which is related to widespread difficulties in confirming Serbian citizenship of individuals in a similar situation to the applicant. The applicant initiated a new administrative dispute and the Administrative Court in Rijeka ruled in his favour, however, on appeal, the High Administrative Court rejected the applicant’s request.

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:

Applicant is a refugee from Vietnam, whose refugee status was withdrawn after a number of criminal convictions, combined with the fact that he made a safe trip to Vietnam. He applied for a travel document for foreigners claiming that he is stateless or at least that his nationality status is unclear. The authorities maintained that he was still a Vietnamese national, but the Court sided with the applicant, insisting that the authorities should have taken more factors into account in considering the applicant's potential statelessness. 

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

After having been born, having lived, worked and and paid taxes in Austria his whole life the applicant was told he is not entitled to unemployment benefits as he did not have a right to work in Austria. While he was granted Austrian nationality upon application, he argued that he was entitled to unemployment benefits also in the time frame between becoming unemployed and acquiring the nationality, invoking his statelessness, and lack of implementation of Statelessness Conventions by Austria. The Court denies direct applicability of the Statelessness Conventions in Austria, and rules against the applicant. 

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

The applicant was born in Iraq and formerly possessed Iraqi identity documents. After establishing permanent legal residence in Austria he applied for a travel document for foreigners on the basis that he has an "unclear nationality" status. The application was rejected without granting the applicant the right to an oral hearing. The Constitutional Court upheld the applicant's right to have an opportunity to explain his allegedly unclear nationality status in an oral hearing. 

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: Brussels Court of Appeal
State: Belgium
Date of decision:

The judgment relies on earlier Constitutional Court judgments that have established that stateless persons who lost their nationality involuntarily and demonstrated that they do not have the right to permanent legal residence elsewhere should get residence rights in Belgium on an equal footing with refugees, and that the necessary national legislation is lacking to give effect to such rights. The applicant has a criminal record and was denied residence rights on that basis, but the Court ruled that criminal convictions are irrelevant for his residence rights, and ordered authorities to regularise his residence until new legislation comes to force that regulates the stateless persons' right to residence. 

Court name: Gent Court of Appeal
State: Belgium
Date of decision:

The applicant was born in China and is of Tibetan origin. He fled China to Nepal, and then made his way to Belgium through India on a fake passport. His asylum applications failed, he has been detained with a view to deportation to China, but had been released due to the Chinese authorities not issuing the necessary documents. The applicant also unsuccessfully attempted to organise voluntary return through IOM, contacting authorities of China, India, and Nepal. These facts convinced the Court to recognise the applicant as stateless. 

Court name: Gent Court of Appeal
State: Belgium
Date of decision:

The applicant fled Kosovo in 1998, and during her asylum procedures in Belgium claimed to be a Yugoslav national, and had a Yugoslav passport as well as a birth certificate. In her statelessness determination process, the authorities and the Court found her to be uncooperative as she seemingly did not present all her identity documents to the embassy of Serbia and Montenegro with the aim of determining whether she is a Serbian national. 

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

The applicant, a statelessness individual originally from Iran, is subject to a deportation order as a result of the commission of a criminal offence in Spain. The Spanish Supreme Court establishes that a criminal conviction is not sufficient to expel a stateless person on grounds of national security and revokes his deportation.

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.