The case concerns the refusal by the Head of the Civil Registry Office of Kraków (Poland) to transcribe into the Polish register of civil status the birth certificate of the daughter of K.S. and her wife S.V.D., issued by Spanish authorities. This lack of registration hindered the issuance of a passport, which impacted the child’s freedom of movement.
The Court interpreted Articles 20 and 21 of the TFEU, to mean that the Member State of which a child of a same-sex couple is a national (i) is obliged to issue to that child an identity card or a passport without requiring the prior transcription of a birth certificate of that child into the national register of civil status, and (ii) is obliged to recognise the document from another Member State that permits the child to exercise, without impediment, the right to move and reside freely within the territory of the Member States.
The applicant is a Polish national, whose son was born in Belarus to a mother who is a national of Belarus. The applicant was originally not mentioned as a father on the birth certificate, but established his paternity through a court order in Poland, unfortunately missing the 12-months deadline since the birth of his son to be able to claim Polish nationality for his son. The Court comments on the applicability of Article 24 ICCPR, stating that it is not applicable since the child acquired Belarusian nationality, and implying that if the child would have been stateless Article 24 ICCPR may have resulted in an interpretation of the Polish law so as to remedy the child's statelessness.
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 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.
The applicant arrived to Poland from Ukraine shortly after the dissolution of the USSR. His application for facilitated naturalisation as a stateless person was rejected in 2010 as his statelessness was not evident. The state authorities presented evidence of applicant's Ukrainian citizenship which included a letter from Ukrainian consulate in Poland. The Court ruled that self-declaring as stateless does not have legal significance in the context of access to facilitated naturalisation, and held it against the applicant that he did not effectively challenge the state authorities' evidence of his Ukrainian nationality.
The applicant was born abroad to two Polish mothers, and acquired Polish nationality on the basis of at least one of his parents being Polish. However, he was unable to access Polish identity documents, for which a transcription of a foreign birth certificate into the Polish legal order is required - the latter being denied as the concept of two mothers contradicts the fundamental principles of Polish legal order. The Court ruled in favour of the applicant, relying heavily on national and international children's rights norms.
The applicant originates from Ukraine and enjoys legal residence rights in Poland. He has been identified as stateless on one of his residence identity cards issued in Poland, and has requested as a stateless person to be granted a Polish travel document for foreigners, which was denied to him on the basis that he did not provide proof that he is unable to obtain a travel document from his country of origin instead.
The applicant was born in Poland to a Vietnamese mother. When she was 9 years old a Polish citizen formally recognised her as his daughter, and the local authority subsequently confirmed that she is a Polish citizen by birth. She was growing up as a Polish citizen until another 8 years later the central government authorities invalidated the confirmation of nationality by the local authority, as according to the Polish Citizenship Law changes in parenthood can only lead to acquisition of Polish citizenship if they take place within 1 year of birth. The applicant's arguments related to article 8 ECHR, best interests of the child, as well as long-term presumption of Polish citizenship due to no fault of the applicant, although the court dismissed all arguments.
R.G. unsuccessfully applied for refugee status in 2007. In 2013 he submitted a new application claiming that he had become a stateless person after country F had refused to confirm his citizenship, and that therefore new factual circumstance had arisen that justified submitting another application.
The Court pointed out that the refusal of one country to confirm his citizenship does not automatically mean that no country will confirm his citizenship and that the question of whether he is a stateless person is irrelevant when assessing the conditions for granting refugee status or other forms of international protection.
The public prosecutor appealed to the Provincial Administrative Court in Kraków (“Court”) against the transcription of A.Z.’s birth certificate by the Head of the Registry Office in Krakow into the Polish Civil Register, claiming that it is contrary to the fundamental principles of the legal order of the Republic of Poland because A.Z.’s birth certificate listed two women as parents. The appeal was dismissed.
The Court stated that due to the large number of states that have ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child and because many states include similar provisions in their national legislation, legal experts argue that the right of a child to nationality is part of international customary law, therefore everyone should acquire a nationality at birth.