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: High Court of England & Wales, Family Division
Date of decision:

In the context of ongoing care proceedings, the court approved a local authority’s application to register the birth of a child, where the parents refused to do so and the father was opposed to registration on the grounds that, in his view, the United Kingdom is an authoritarian and capricious State.

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

This application for judicial review concerns the Secretary of State for the Home Department’s decision to refuse the applicant’s application for leave to remain in the United Kingdom as a stateless person on the basis that she could have re-entered the Kuwait lawfully through a travel document she had been provided with by the Kuwaiti authorities. The Upper Tribunal addressed the issue of the correct interpretation of ‘admissibility’ of a person who claims to be stateless to their country of former habitual residence, under paragraph 403(c) of the Immigration Rules. The single ground of judicial review is that the respondent’s definition of ‘admissible’ is unlawful, irrational and/or inconsistent with her own policy. The court found that 'admissible' means the ability to enter and reside lawfully and does not incorporate the concept of 'permanent residence'.

Court name: Upper Tribunal, Immigration and Asylum Chamber
Date of decision:

The case is a judicial review of the decision by the Secretary of State to reject the applicant’s application for limited leave to remain in the United Kingdom as a stateless person under paragraph 403 of the Immigration Rules. The Upper Tribunal found that the Secretary of State’s decision was unsustainable as the Secretary of State failed to comply with a duty to give effect to the terms of its own published policy, and the public law duty of enquiry, requiring it to proactively participate in the collection of information relevant to the decision being made.  Furthermore, the Upper Tribunal held that the Secretary of State’s decision was vitiated by an error of law, as the language of Article 1(1) of the 1954 Convention requires a decision-maker to ask itself if an applicant is a national of any State at the time of the determination.

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

The case concerns a Belarusian individual who had entered the UK in 1998, whose asylum applications were refused and who spent the subsequent eighteen years in immigration bail as his identity could not be confirmed and he could not be deported to Belarus. As he had left Belarus in 1991, he had effectively lost his Belarusian nationality and had become stateless. He complained that the state of “limbo” in which he was as a result of his immigration bail constituted an infringement of his right to private life. The court refused his application.

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

This matter concerns the hearing of an application for judicial review of the decision of the Refugee Appeals Tribunal (RAT) on 20 May 2006. The purpose of this application was to affirm an earlier recommendation of the Office of the Refugee Applications Commissioner (ORAC) that the applicant should not be granted a declaration of refugee status. The leave to apply for judicial review was granted on four grounds. Firstly, there was a failure to consider the submissions of the applicant to the effect that the refusal of the Libyan State to admit her constituted a form of persecution. It was found that the respondent failed to consider the significance of such a refusal. Secondly, there was a failure to consider vital evidence submitted on the applicant's behalf. Thirdly, there was a failure to consider the applicant’s account of the extent to which she lived her life in fear and how general daily activities involved avoiding attached and finally, there was a failure to have regard to the applicant’s fear of persecution. The court rejected the application as it was satisfied that the RAT had considered the applicant's evidence and found that she did not have a well-founded fear of persecution. The court also relied on English case law to confirm that statelessness per se does not confer refugee status.

Court name: England and Wales High Court (Queen's Bench Division)
Date of decision:

The Home Office was not authorised to detain an individual subject to a deportation order for longer than the period reasonably required to “enable the machinery of deportation to be carried out”, nor for any other purpose.

The applicant, M.  Singh, applied for release from detention on the basis that he was being held unlawfully whilst his deportation was delayed. The judge found that the powers within the Immigration Act 1971 (the “1971 Act”) contained implied limitations, such that unless the Home Office could prove to the court, within three days following the hearing, that Mr Singh’s deportation was imminent, he should be released on the basis that the implied limitations on the exercise of the power to detain had not been complied with.

Court name: Court of Giurgiu (in Romania Judecatoria Giurgiu - first instance)
State: Romania
Date of decision:

The applicant, a stateless person from Kuwait, filled an application to be granted refugee status in Romania, and, alternatively, any form of protection. The competent authority, the General Inspectorate for Immigration, Asylum and Immigration Department, rejected the request. The applicant challenged this decision in court, but the court confirmed the rejection of his application, considering that the applicant did not meet the criteria provided by Romanian law in order to be granted with refugee status or any other form of subsidiary protection in Romania. 

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: 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: Constitutional Court of Hungary
State: Hungary
Date of decision:

The Constitutional Court held that in a case where the acting authority finds, on the basis of the opinion of expert agencies, that the applicant's stay would violate or endanger the national security of Hungary, the application for statelessness status shall be rejected on procedural grounds without further examination of whether the applicant qualifies as a stateless person.

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

The applicant, who described himself as being Saharawi, claimed that he should not be granted statelessness status because he was entitled to Spanish nationality. Alternatively, he argued that he should be recognised as being stateless. The Supreme Court found that his entitlement to Spanish nationality could not be considered, given that it has never been requested before by the applicant. However, the court found that given that he could not be considered as Moroccan or Algerian under the law of these two countries, nor as covered by the exception foreseen in Article 1(2)(i) of the 1954 Convention, his statelessness status should be recognised.

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: Penza Regional Court
Date of decision:

In July 2017, the applicant was punished with deportation from Russia for violating the rules of stay of foreign nationals and was placed in a detention centre for foreign nationals until execution of the deportation order. It was later found that the applicant had lost his Tajik citizenship and deportation to Tajikistan therefore became impossible. The applicant successfully challenged the decision on his deportation due to the impossibility of executing the deportation order, and was released from the detention centre.

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

A person born in Tajikistan applied for statelessness status. The applicant argued that he could not ask for nationality from Tajikistan because that country would force him to convert to Islam. The Spanish authorities dismissed the application because, under their understating of Tajikistan law, nationality from that country is granted on a jus sanguinis basis regardless of the religion or ethnicity of the applicant. The court confirmed the decision of the Spanish authorities to deny the statelessness status on the grounds that: (i) given the alleged nationality of his parents it was reasonable to assume that the applicant could have the right to nationality of Tajikistan; (ii) it was not proven that the authorities from Tajikistan actually denied nationality to the applicant, that his parents were not from Tajikistan nor that it was required to convert to Islam to obtain the nationality; and (iii) the applicant filed its application in 2012 despite having arrived in Spain in 2003 (this delay goes against the credibility of the application).

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

The case concerned the rejection of the asylum applications submitted by a single mother and her five minor children, who are stateless Palestinians from the Gaza Strip and were registered with UNRWA. The Constitutional Court found a violation of equal treatment among foreigners and held that the Federal Administrative Court had failed to recognise the applicants’ right to ipso facto protection as refugees, disregarded UNHRC’s assessment criteria for the Gaza Strip, and did not give sufficient consideration of the vulnerability of a mother mother and her five minor children.

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

The applicant, a stateless person residing in Hungary, faced protracted difficulties in regularising his legal situation, being eventually recognised as stateless after fifteen years' residence. During thirteen of those years, the applicant had no legal status in Hungary and was entitled to neither healthcare nor employment, nor was he able to marry. Constitutional Court proceedings were initiated by a judge, in which the judge proposed to declare that the term "lawful residence" in the territory of Hungary, as provided for in 76§ (1) of Act no. II of 2007 on Admission and Right of Residence of Third-Country Nationals (Harmtv), which requires a person to be lawfully staying in the country in order to be granted statelessness status, was contrary to the Fundamental Law of Hungary, and to order a general prohibition of its application in the given case. The Constitutional Court held that the term “lawful residence” was contrary to the Fundamental Law of Hungary, thus deleted it from the cited law. However, it refused to prohibit its application to the underlying procedure, as the applicant concerned was able to initiate a new procedure afterwards. This case reached the European Court of Human Rights (Sudita Keita v. Hungary).