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

The case concerns the eligibility for protection of a person born in Gaza, who holds a passport issued by the Palestinian National Authority, is registered with UNRWA, and sought asylum in Bulgaria. Interpreting Article 12(1)(a) of the 2011 Qualification Directive (equivalent to Article 1D of the Refugee Convention), the CJEU found that Article 1D, as lex specialis, must be considered prior to Article 1A of the Refugee Convention, that prior registration with UNRWA does not necessarily mean that the applicant could access sufficient protection in an UNRWA area, and that Palestinians are not included under the second paragraph of Article 1D and automatically entitled to protection if they could be admitted to any area where they could access effective assistance or protection from UNRWA and could live there in safe and dignified conditions for as long as necessary.

Court name: Migration Court of Appeal
State: Sweden
Date of decision:

The case concerns the application of Article 12 of the Qualification Directive (recast Directive 2011/95) on the possibility for those whose support from United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) has ceased to obtain international protection. The main issue was the determination of which country had been the applicant’s habitual place of residence to examine the reasons for protection. In the applicant’s case, while he had lived in Syria for a significant length of time, his ties to Algeria were strong enough to permit the Court to find the latter to be his habitual place of residence and consequently the applicant’s appeal was dismissed as Algeria was found to be safe.

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

The case concerns a stateless person of Palestinian origin who was refused asylum in Hungary. The question before the CJEU concerned the circumstances in which a person is considered to be receiving "protection or assistance from organs or agencies of the United Nations other than [UNHCR]" within the meaning of Article 12(1)(a) of the 2004 Qualification Directive (equivalent to Article 1D of the Refugee Convention), and may therefore be entitled to refugee status when that protection or assistance ceases. The CJEU held that the words “at present” mean the present day, and that a person receives protection or assistance from UNRWA when that person has actually availed themselves of that protection or assistance, and not if they are entitled to but have not done so. It also noted that persons who have not actually availed themselves of protection or assistance from UNRWA, prior to their application for refugee status, may, in any event, have that application examined pursuant to Article 2(c) of the Directive.

Court name: Federal Administrative Court
State: Germany
Date of decision:

The applicant is a stateless Palestinian who seeks to be recognised ipso facto as a refugee in Germany. The lower administrative courts in Germany granted him refugee status, but the Federal Administrative Court stayed the proceedings and referred questions to the CJEU for preliminary ruling (Bundesrepublik Deutschland v XT, case C‑507/19). After the CJEU ruling, the Federal Administrative Court applied the CJEU's reasoning to the applicant’s case and remanded the case to the lower courts for further investigation of the underlying facts about the applicant leaving Lebanon and Syria.

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

The case concerns the interpretation of Article 12(1)(a) of the 2011 Qualification Directive (equivalent to Article 1D of the Refugee Convention). The applicant requested international protection in Germany as he no longer had access to assistance from UNRWA in Syria. The Court held that to determine whether a person is no longer receiving protection or assistance from UNRWA, national authorities should consider all the fields of UNRWA’s areas of operations which a stateless person of Palestinian origin who has left that area has a concrete possibility of accessing and safely remaining therein.

Court name: European Court of Human Rights
State: France
Date of decision:

The applicant, a Moroccan national who acquired French nationality, was sentenced to seven years’ imprisonment in 2013 for involvement in a conspiracy to carry out terrorist acts in France and other countries. He was deprived of his French nationality and was served with an expulsion order: despite requesting an interim measure under grounds of Article 3 ECHR he was returned to Morocco.

The applicant claimed, inter alia, that his removal violated his rights under Article 3 ECHR due to the risk that he would be exposed to ill-treatment in the event of his return and that his removal in breach of the European Court of Human Rights (the Court) interim measure violated Article 34 ECHR.

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

An Austrian national by birth transferred his residence to Germany and naturalised as a German national. The naturalisation in Germany had the effect, in accordance with Austrian law, of causing him to lose his Austrian nationality. The German authorities later withdrew the naturalisation with retroactive effect, on the grounds that the applicant had not disclosed that he was the subject of a criminal investigation in Austria on account of suspected serious fraud, and that he had thus obtained German nationality by deception. The Court held that it is not contrary to EU law for a Member State to withdraw nationality obtained by deception, even if it results in losing EU citizenship, so long as the decision observes the principle of proportionality. Observance of the principle of proportionality requires the person concerned to be afforded a reasonable period of time in order to try to recover the nationality of their Member State of origin.

Court name: European Court of Human Rights
Date of decision:

This case concerns a stateless applicant born in the Tajikistan Soviet Socialist Republic of the Soviet Union, who was arrested for homelessness in Russia. The District Court ruled that he had to be preventively detained until his expulsion to Tajikistan. Russia tried to obtain travel documentation for the applicant, overlooking the fact that the applicant was not a Tajik national and that Tajikistan had no legal obligation to admit him, resulting in his preventive detention for two years. The Court found a violation of Article 5 ECHR, as the applicant’s detention was not carried out in good faith due to the lack of a realistic prospect of his expulsion and the domestic authorities’ failure to conduct the proceedings with due diligence.

Court name: European Court of Human Rights
State: Cyprus
Date of decision:

Fourteen Syrian nationals of Kurdish origin and two stateless Kurds had their asylum applications rejected in Cyprus, on grounds of the accounts being either unsubstantiated, lacking credibility or, on the respective facts, being insufficient to establish a real risk of persecution. The applicants were arrested, detained, deported, and subjected to imprisonment for protesting the Government’s restrictive asylum policies. The grounds for deportation related to illegal entry and illegal stay. The applicants claimed that they had not received these orders but were informed orally of their deportation.

Court name: European Court of Human Rights
Date of decision:

The applicants, a stateless Palestinian from Syria and two Syrian nationals, entered Russia in 2013 and were kept in a detention centre before their expulsion to Syria. The Court held that the Government’s actions breached the applicant’s rights provided under Articles 2 and 3. The Court also stated that Articles 5(4) and 5(1)(f) had been violated with regards to their detention. The Court also held that the restricted contact with their respective representatives had breached Article 34 of the Convention. 

Court name: European Court of Human Rights
State: France
Date of decision:

Five applicants of dual nationality, convicted in 2007 of participating in a criminal association in a terrorist context, were stripped of their French nationality in October 2015 by Prime Minister decrees. The Court held that the decision to forfeit the applicants’ French nationality did not have a disproportionate impact on their private lives and therefore was not in violation of Article 8 of the Convention.

Court name: European Court of Human Rights
State: Latvia
Date of decision:

A family of three applicants, who came to Latvia under the former Soviet Union, were denied permanent resident status following its independence and offered short term residence status and registration on the domestic register of residents. The second and third applicants have Russian nationality, while the first applicant has no nationality. Following complaints of their Article 8 and Article 34 rights being violated, it was held that Article 8 cannot guarantee the right to a particular type of residence permit.

Court name: European Court of Human Rights
State: Slovenia
Date of decision:

Eight applicants, some of whom were stateless and others were nationals of former Yugoslavia, failed to request Slovenian citizenship within the six months’ deadline provided for permanent residents to apply for citizenship following Slovenia’s independence. Two months after the deadline, their names were erased from the Register of Permanent Residents, resulting in them becoming stateless together with approximately 25,671 other people in Slovenia, who became known as “the erased”. The Court held that the domestic legal system had failed to clearly regulate the consequences of the “erasure”, resulting in a violation of Article 8(2), 13, and 14 ECHR.

Court name: European Court of Human Rights
Date of decision:

The applicant of Roma origin was denied a residence permit to the Netherlands on the basis of the applicant’s husband failing to meet the requirements under domestic immigration rules and because of the applicant’s multiple convictions. The Court held the Contracting State had struck a fair balance between the applicant’s Article 8 rights and its own interests in regulating its immigration.

Court name: European Court of Human Rights
Date of decision:

Two applications (joined before the Court) concerned the removal of and the refusal to exchange passports, leaving the applicants stateless and without identity documentation, after the relevant Russian authorities found their Russian citizenship to be granted erroneously. The Court held the withdrawal of identity documents, which affected the exercise of their rights and freedoms in their daily lives, was a violation of Article 8 of the Convention.

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

The applicant, a citizen of Bhutan of Nepali ethnicity was refused asylum in Ireland as the tribunal held that the applicant was stateless and that his claim for refugee status was to be determined by reference to Nepal. The applicant sought for this decision to be quashed in that the Tribunal failed to consider the applicant’s risk of persecution in Bhutan. The Court dismissed the application holding that that the discriminatory and persecutory nature of a law depriving persons of nationality is not relevant to the determination of citizenship for the purposes of refugee status or statelessness.

Court name: Council of State
State: Greece
Date of decision:

The case concerned the refusal to grant international protection to the applicant who had produced evidence that he was going to lose his nationality due to pending criminal proceedings against him in his country of nationality.

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

The applicant received an assurance of acquiring Austrian nationality if she renounces her former, Serbian, nationality. Shortly after the renunciation the applicant lost her job and was unable to find alternative employment due to her statelessness, which resulted in her no longer complying with the income requirement for acquiring Austrian nationality. The Court declares unconstitutional the law which requires continuous fulfilment of all the conditions for naturalisation, even after Austrian nationality has been conditionally granted and the former nationality has been renounced. 

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

A stateless applicant born in Bhutan and previously resident in India was refused asylum in Ireland by the Refugee Appeals Tribunal. The Tribunal stated that according to the 1951 Refugee Convention, statelessness per se, does not give rise to a claim to refugee status. The High Court held that, for the purposes of refugee status determination, the applicant does not have to prove that he was persecuted in all countries of former habitual residence. The applicant must demonstrate that one country was guilty of persecution, and that he is unable or unwilling to return to any of the states where he formerly habitually resided.

Court name: High Court of Crimean Republic (Верховный Суд Республики Крым)
Date of decision:

The case concerns an applicant who was a Ukrainian citizen and a resident of Crimean Peninsular at the time of Crimean annexation to Russia. He was originally issued with a Russian passport in 2014, which was subsequently confiscated as a government initiated verification procedure established he did not comply with the relevant residency requirements to be considered a Russian citizen. The Court, on appeal, sided with the applicant, confirming his right to Russian citizenship despite not complying with all the formal requirements. 

In its reasoning the Court relied heavily on the importance to take all the relevant and factual evidence when establishing the legal fact of residence, and basing it on a broad range of evidence about the person's personal and professional life, as well as intentions, not the merely the strict formalistic rules of residence registration, especially in light of consequences of denial of access to citizenship for the applicant, and the circumstances of state succession. The Court refers extensively to international legal instruments, even those Russia hasn't ratified, such as the European Convention on Nationality and its anti-statelessness safeguards, the CoE Convention on the Avoidance of Statelessness in Relation to State Succession, as well as art. 15 UDHR, and other international legal instruments.