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: Upper Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber)
Date of decision:

This appeal to the Upper Tribunal of the Immigration and Asylum Chamber concerns the Secretary of State for the Home Department’s (hereinafter SSHD) decision to deprive the appellant of his British citizenship. The Upper Tribunal addressed the issue of whether Article 8(1) of the ECHR was engaged and whether the SSDH discretionary decision under section 40(2) or (3) to deprive the individual of his or her British citizenship was exercised correctly. The grounds for judicial review is that the delay in acting on the appellant’s fraud reduces the public interest in deprivation and is a disproportionate interference with Article 8 ECHR.

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

The case concerns Danish authorities’ decisions to deprive a dual national of his Danish citizenship and to deport him, following conviction for receiving training with ISIS. This was found to be compliant with Article 8 ECHR. The Court reasoned that deprivation of nationality was not arbitrary, that there had been sufficient opportunities to appeal, and that the crime in question, terrorism, was a serious one that endangered human rights. The punishment of deprivation of nationality was found to be proportionate. The Court also found that deprivation of nationality in this instance did not result in impermissible consequences as it did not render the applicant stateless.

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: Conseil d'État
State: France
Date of decision:

Article 25 of the French Civil Code provides that an individual may be stripped of their French nationality where, inter alia, it was acquired by naturalization and where the individual has been convicted of a crime that constituted an attack on the fundamental interests of France or an act of terrorism. Deprivation of French nationality is not allowed where it would render the individual stateless. The applicant was deprived of his French nationality, which he had acquired by naturalization, following a decision of the Paris Criminal Court (Tribunal de Grande Instance de Paris) convicting him for his participation in an association of criminals with a view to preparing an act of terrorism. That court found that he had joined a terrorist group and participated in training and armed operations of that group. The Council of State (Conseil d’État) upheld the decree of deprivation of nationality because the applicant held Algerian nationality since birth and could not be deprived of it since the Algerian code of nationality only authorises the deprivation of nationality for persons who have acquired it after birth. Therefore, the loss of French nationality would not render him stateless and was thus not illegal under French law. The Council of State also ruled on the proportionality of the decree with regard to the European Convention on Human Rights and found that, given the seriousness of the crimes committed by the applicant, the challenged decree did not disproportionately infringe the right to respect for his private life guaranteed by Article 8 of the ECHR.

Court name: Constitutional Court
State: Romania
Date of decision:

The claimant is a stateless person whose Romanian nationality was withdrawn by the National Citizenship Authority (“Autoritatea Nationala a Cetateniei”) on the grounds that he is known to have links with terrorist groups or has supported, in any form, or has committed other acts that endanger national security. Romania law provides that in such cases, the order issued by the National Citizenship Authority can be appealed in court, and the decision issued by this court is final and irrevocable. The claimant raises an objection of unconstitutionality with regard to this law, because it violates the principle of the double degree of jurisdiction provided for in the EU law in criminal matters, assimilating the matter in question with a criminal matter as defined by the EU law.

 

 

Court name: The Special Immigration Appeals Commission
Date of decision:

The Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC) allowed an appeal against the Secretary of State’s decision to deprive C3, C4 and C7 of their British citizenship, and found that the decision to deprive C3, C4 and C7 of their citizenship breached s.40(4) of the British Nationality Act 1981, as it would render the appellants stateless. On the date of the deprivation decision, it was found that C3, C4 and C7 did not have Bangladeshi citizenship under the law of Bangladesh and the Secretary of State therefore could not deprive them of their British citizenship.

Court name: UK Immigration and Asylum Chamber
Date of decision:

The case concerned the decision to deprive the appellant of his British citizenship on the basis that he had exercised deception in relation to his identity when he first applied for asylum. The court considered the application of the discretion by the Home Office (hereafter the respondent) and the impact the decision would have on appellant’s family, in particular his minor child. The court dismissed the appeal on the basis that the errors of law identified were not sufficient to affect the outcome of the decision.

Court name: Constituional Court of the Russian Federation
Date of decision:

The Supreme Court of the Republic of Karelia requested to review the constitutionality of Article 22(2) of the Federal Law On Russian Citizenship ('Citizenship Law'), which established that the fact that a person had been confirmed by a court to have committed or prepared to commit one of the offences in the established list of offences related to terrorist activities, was equivalent to the fact that such person had knowingly given false information about their intention to comply with the Constitution of the Russian Federation when when applying for the Russian nationality, which constitutes a ground to revoke their nationality.

The applicant argued that the provision of Article 22(2) of the Citizenship Law might be unconstitutional to the extent it allows a person to be stripped of their citizenship where such person had been convicted under “terrorism” charges before this provision entered into legal force. The Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation confirmed the constitutionality of this provision by ruling that it does not introduce new rules but only clarifies the already existing ones, and that it does not establish any liability measures. Consequently, Article 22(2) of the Citizenship Law is not subject to the prohibition of retroactive effect of the provisions establishing or aggravating liability set out by the Constitution of the Russian Federation.

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: European Court of Human Rights
Date of decision:

The applicant challenged a decision depriving him of his British citizenship and excluding him from the United Kingdom because of his alleged involvement and link to terrorist-related activities. After failing in his appeals to the High Court, Court of Appeal and the Special Immigration Appeal Tribunal, the applicant complained to the European Court of Human Rights (‘the Court’) under Articles 8 and 14. The Court rejected all of the applicant’s complaints, finding them to be manifestly ill-founded, and declared the application inadmissible.

Court name: ECtHR
Date of decision:

After discovering that the applicant had omitted information when applying for Russian nationality, his nationality was annulled and an entry ban was enforced. The Court applied a two-pronged approach to assess whether the deprivation of the applicant’s nationality was an interference with his right to private and family life, which assessed (i) the consequences for the applicant, and (ii) whether the measure was arbitrary. In light of the far-reaching consequences of this decision and its apparent arbitrary nature, the Court held that the annulment interfered with the applicant's rights guaranteed under Article 8 ECHR. Further, the Court found that the expulsion of the applicant from Russian territory failed to respect the principle of proportionality, given the lack of evidence of any threat to Russian national security posed by the applicant, thereby violating Article 8.

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

The applicant is a dual Dutch/Moroccan national whose Dutch nationality was withdrawn on the basis of a criminal conviction for terrorist activities. The Court rejected the applicant's appeal, concluding, among others, that prevention of statelessness is a valid reason for differentiated treatment between those with a single and with multiple nationalities, and that withdrawal of nationality is not a punitive measure. Withdrawal of nationality in addition to the criminal sentence does not violate the principle that prohibits repeated punishments for the same action.  

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
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: Supreme Court
State: Ireland
Date of decision:

The applicant brought an appeal challenging the constitutionality of s.19 of the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act 1956, which governs the procedure by which revocation of naturalisation is determined. The fact that the Minister initiated the revocation process, appointed the committee charged with conducting the inquiry and then reached the final decision, was unconstitutional according to the applicant, as it breached the right to fair procedures. The Court held that s.19 was unconstitutional because it did not provide the procedural safeguards required to meet the high threshold of natural justice applicable to a person facing such severe consequences, i.e. revocation of naturalisation.

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: Supreme Administrative Court
State: Ukraine
Date of decision:

The applicant's Ukrainian nationality was withdrawn rendering him stateless, and subsequently a travel ban of 3 years was imposed on him due to a procedural violation of the border crossing rules. The applicant argued that the travel ban is disproportionate, that he enjoys lawful residence in Ukraine, has very close ties with Ukraine, and that the ban interferes with his right to challenge the deprivation of nationality which rendered him stateless in person in court. 

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

The applicant was born in the US, and his birth certificate indicated a Polish national as the father, and an unknown surrogate mother as the mother. Polish authorities refused to confirm the applicant acquired Polish nationality at birth as a child of a Polish parent, because the birth certificate is against the Polish public order, in particular the prohibition of surrogacy. The courts ruled in favour of the applicant, stating that confirmation of his Polish nationality on the basis of the birth certificate does not amount to validation of surrogacy.

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

The applicant was a Syrian national of Kurdish ethnicity, who unsuccessfully applied for asylum in Switzerland. He subsequently claimed that he has been deprived of Syrian nationality and therefore ought to be recognised as stateless. The State Secretariat for Migration and the Court decided that he did not meet the standard of proof to substantiate his statelessness of 'full proof'.

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:

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: Vienna Administrative Court
State: Austria
Date of decision:

The applicant received assurance of obtaining Austrian nationality if she renounces her Estonian nationality. After the renunciation, it appeared that the applicant committed two administrative offences related to her driving, which in addition to the eight she committed previously were considered as an indication of her no longer fulfilling the public order requirement for naturalisation. This resulted in the withdrawal of assurance of obtaining Austrian nationality, leaving the applicant stateless. 

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

The applicant was issued an assurance that she will acquire Austrian nationality if she renounced her former Serbian nationality, which she did. However, after the assurance was issued the applicant committed a number of administrative offences, leading to the assurance being withdrawn after the renunciation of the former nationality has already taken place, resulting in the applicant's statelessness. The Court emphasised the constitutional significance of a letter of assurance of acquisition of nationality, and sided with the applicant.