The case concerned the interpretation of Article 19 of the Directive (2011/95/EU, Qualification Directive). Specifically, the applicant had been granted subsidiary protection by the Austrian authorities on the mistaken basis that he was an Algerian national. The applicant was not responsible for the mistake, having rather declared throughout the proceedings that he was stateless. The CJEU held that under the Qualification Directive a State is under the obligation to revoke subsidiary protection if information emerges to prove that an individual never satisfied the requirements under the Directive.
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.
The applicant was born in 1974 to an Iranian father and Austrian mother, and by virtue of the laws applicable at the time only acquired Iranian nationality. Austrian nationality was granted to him by a court decision in 1981. He later moved to the US where he wishes to naturalise, and requested permission from Austria to retain Austrian nationality. Such permission, however, can only be granted to nationals by birth. The Court found a violation of the principle of equality of treatment among nationals.
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.
The applicant received asylum status as a stateless Palestinian, but his request to register his statelessness in the municipal civil records was rejected due to lack of evidence. He has an original UNRWA document and an ID from Lebanon, but they were considered insufficient proof of identity as well as of statelessness. The applicant complained that inability to affirm his statelessness violates his identity rights under article 8 ECHR, as well as his rights as a stateless person under EU law, both of which arguments didn't succeed.