In a case concerning a Dutch national associated with ISIS, the Council of State ruled that the decisions from the Dutch authorities to declare the applicant undesirable and to withdraw her Dutch nationality should be annulled on the grounds that they did not sufficiently take into consideration the best interests of her minor children and her right to family life.
The case concerns the unlawfulness of the deportation of a mother and her two daughters from Austria to Georgia. A reassessment from the court (at the time of the execution of the deportation) leads to the result that the circumstances in favour of the applicants have changed to such an extent that the deportation must be considered disproportionate.
The case concerns two Swiss nationals in a registered same-sex partnership, who had a child in the United States through a surrogacy agreement. A US court had named both parents as the child’s legal parents, but Switzerland only recognised the parent-child relationship of the genetic father and not the intended father. The intended father was unable to adopt the legally-recognised child of his registered partner as this option was, until January 2018, only open to married (heterosexual) couples. The Court found a violation of the child's right to respect for private and family life (Article 8 ECHR).
The removal of the parent of a stateless child who is not entitled to a residence permit can only be ordered for reasons of national security or public order. Otherwise, the removal of the parent would deprive the child of the rights and guarantees attached to the status of stateless person if the child accompanies his or her parents outside French territory in application of the removal order issued against the parents, or would disproportionately infringe on the right to family life of the parents, in breach of Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, if the child remains in France separated from his or her parents.
Azerbaijani authorities refused to issue an identity card to children born in Azerbaijan to foreign parents, thereby denying them Azerbaijani nationality (as domestic law applicable at the time applied the jus soli principle). The Court held that the refusal by the national authorities to deliver an identity card to the children is tantamount to a refusal to recognise their Azerbaijani nationality. This had considerable negative consequences for the children and therefore constituted an interference with their right to a private life in violation of Article 8 ECHR. It further found that the necessary procedural guarantees were not in place and that the decision was arbitrary.
The applicant is a Palestinian refugee born in an UNRWA refugee camp in Lebanon. The applicant argues that the Secretary of State failed to acknowledge that he is stateless when applying the exclusion clause of Article 1D of the Refugee Convention. The Hague District Court refers to case law from 2017 which states that statelessness determination is not a requirement during an asylum procedure if it is not essential for the decision on the application.
Switzerland – A v State Secretariat for Migration (Staatssekretariat für Migration – SEM) - Federal Administrative Court (FAC) Case no. F-1297/2017
The Federal Administrative Court (FAC) specifies its case law on the legitimate interest in the proceedings of an application for the recognition of statelessness. The FAC approves the appeal of a member of the Ajanib minority from Syria whose application was rejected by the State Secretariat for Migration and recognizes his stateless status.
The applicant was born in an undisclosed Soviet Union Republic and moved to Russia in 1993. He held a temporary resident permit. He was convicted of a drug-related crime and sentenced to eight years in prison. The Ministry of Justice issued a decision on the "undesirability of his stay" in Russia. The Ministry of Internal Affairs followed up with a decision ordering his deportation as the applicant failed to leave Russia within the prescribed deadline. After being released from prison, the applicant was placed in a migration detention centre for 48 hours; this term was repeatedly extended by the court (prior to his eventual release). Russian authorities contacted Armenian and Azerbaijani authorities, both of which refused to grant the applicant entry as he was not a citizen of their respective countries. The applicant challenged both decision of the Ministry of Justice on the undesirability of his stay in Russia and the decision of Ministry of Internal Affairs ordering his deportation. The challenge was dismissed due to lack of legal grounds to declare the disputed decisions illegal.
This case concerns the repatriation of the applicants’ daughters and grandchildren, French nationals, who were being held in camps in north-eastern Syria after leaving France to join Daesh/ISIS. The applicants alleged that the refusal by France to repatriate their kin exposed those family members to inhuman and degrading treatment prohibited by Article 3 of the Convention and breached their right to enter the territory of the State of which they were nationals as guaranteed by Article 3(2) of Protocol No. 4. The Court dismissed the complaint under Article 3 but found the complaint under Article 3(2) of Protocol No. 4 admissible.
Decision no. 458/2012 concerns an objection to the unconstitutionality of Article 13 (1) of the Romanian Citizenship Law no. 21/1991 (the “Romanian Citizenship Law”), an article which requires individuals applying for acquisition/re-acquisition of citizenship to submit their request in person.
The applicant argued that the article infringes (i) Article 16 (1) of the Romanian Constitution guaranteeing the equal treatment of individuals before the law, (ii) Article 21 (1) - (2) of the Romanian Constitution regarding the free access to justice, (iii) Article 24 of the Romanian Constitution – the right of defence, as well as (iV) the right to a fair trial guaranteed under Article 6 ECHR.
The Romanian Constitutional Court rejected the objection. It noted that, as this procedure is purely administrative, it does not fall under the scope of Article 16 (1) and Article 21 (1) - (2) of the Romanian Constitution, nor is Article 6 of ECHR applicable. The Romanian Constitutional Court highlights that the presence of the applicant (in the process of acquiring citizenship) is the first proof of the interest that one shows in obtaining citizenship, as an expression of the connection and belonging of a natural person to the Romanian State.
The case concerns an application for asylum by a Cameroonian national, a single mother with a child born in the UK. The applicant claimed that the child’s father was a German national exercising his EEA treaty rights in the UK, and that the child may accordingly be a British citizen. The Court of Session held that the Upper Tribunal erred in not adjudicating an application for directions filed by the applicant to obtain documents to ascertain the father’s nationality. In respect of the documents required, the court held that there was no duty to enquire on the part of the Secretary of State, to identify and produce appropriate documents. The court also noted that the applicant’s situation as a single mother with a child who would be without family support was a material consideration in assessing her claim for asylum.
This case concerns the difference in treatment between citizens of Latvia and ‘permanently resident non-citizens’ of Latvia with regard to the calculation of their pension rights. For the latter group, employment periods accrued outside of Latvia prior to 1991 in other parts of the USSR are excluded from the calculation. The Court found that direct difference in treatment on the grounds of nationality in pensions does not violate the ECHR, as when determining that difference in treatment, Latvia pursued a legitimate aim and this measure was proportionate to that aim. It noted that applicants decided not to naturalise in Latvia, where they resided. The Court also found that the assessment of whether the difference in treatment is justified by 'very weighty reasons' (test applied where there is a direct different of treatment on the sole ground of nationality) must be carried out considering the wide margin of appreciation in this case.
An Afghan national held in immigration detention brought a claim contending that the failure to provide access to free (publicly funded) initial immigration advice for immigration detainees held in prisons is discriminatory, as detainees held in Immigration Removal Centres (IRCs) have access to such advice instead. The High Court found that the difference in treatment between detainees in prisons and detainees in IRCs constituted unlawful discrimination contrary to Article 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), read in conjunction with Articles 2, 3, 5 and 8. The High Court rejected the argument that the difference in treatment was justified on the basis that the class of immigration detainees held in prisons is not relevant “other status” for Article 14 purposes, and found that detainees held in prisons are in a sufficiently analogous position to their counterparts held in IRCs to qualify for the same rights.
United Kingdom - ML (Morocco), R (on the application of) v The Secretary of State for the Home Department  EWHC 2177 (Admin)
The claimant, born in a refugee camp in Western Sahara, asserted he is a stateless person within the meaning of article 1(a) of the 1954 UN Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons (although he never made a formal statelessness application) and alleged that he was unlawfully detained under immigration powers, pending deportation. The Secretary of State attempted to obtain an emergency travel document for the claimant from various foreign authorities, yet delays were encountered. The claimant was detained throughout but it was held that the Secretary of State was acting with reasonable diligence, the decision to detain the claimant was not unlawful considering the circumstances and there was a reasonable prospect of removal during the period of detention. The claimant was a persistent absconder with multiple convictions, had been assessed as posing a high risk of harm to the public, and these factors weighed against him when assessing what was a reasonable period of detention.
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.
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.
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. 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. He also alleged that he had become stateless as result of losing his Belarusian nationality. The court found that there was a violation of Article 8 of the ECHR. On the statelessness question, it was held he could not be considered a stateless person.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 appellant’s nationality, or lack thereof, was the central issue of the remaking decision of this appeal. The appellant alleged that he was stateless and that this constituted “very compelling circumstances” outweighing the public interest requiring his deportation; he could not therefore be deported from the UK. The respondent alleged that the appellant was a de jure Guinean national and that the barriers to removal in his case were purely administrative in nature and did not therefore permit the appellant to succeed in his appeal. The Court found that the appellant failed to show, on the balance of probabilities, that he was stateless within the meaning of the 1954 Convention; rather, the appellant was found to be in “actual limbo”. The Court also held that it could not be said that the very strong public interest was outweighed by any factors supporting the appellant’s position, whether viewed in isolation or cumulatively. The Court further found that there may come a stage when all possible avenues to establish the appellant’s Guinean nationality and/or other means of facilitating a removal have been exhausted and that the prospect of deporting him from the UK could be considered so remote that Article 8 ECHR might provide a route for success; but, in the Court's judgment, that stage had not been reached by some distance.
The applicant was born in the Russian Federation and his birth was not duly registered. Lacking identity documents and unable to prove his nationality, he was detained in Ukraine for the purpose of expulsion. The Court held that the authorities did not act diligently when they waited almost eleven months to contact the Russian embassy and obtain documentation to evidence the applicant's Russian nationality, and failed to review the lawfulness of his detention and to provide an effective remedy, in violation of Articles 5(1), (4) and (5) ECHR.
The applicant is from Western Sahara and identifies as a Sahrawi, a territory occupied by Morocco. Having fled to France, he argued that he should qualify as a stateless person even though his birth certificate indicates that he has Moroccan nationality. He argued that this matter should be referred to the CJEU for a preliminary ruling.