Court name: United Kingdom Supreme Court
Date of decision:

The UK Supreme Court ruled on the case of a Belarusian national against whom a deportation order remains in place but who is in limbo, having been subject to several unsuccessful removal attempts and detention. The Home Secretary refused to grant him residence (leave to remain) even though there is no real prospect of his removal. On appeal, the UK Supreme Court held that because the applicant thwarted his removal with his own deliberate actions (allegedly due to his refusal to disclose his real identity), the decision does not violate the applicant’s right to respect for private and family life under Article 8 ECHR.

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

The Court found a violation of Article 8, in a groundbreaking case regarding children’s right to a birth certificate. The applicant was born in Mexico and repatriated to Spain after an earthquake. Despite his mother’s attempts, his birth was not registered upon arrival in Spain as the necessary documentation had been destroyed by the earthquake in Mexico, and he was issued with an ID card only at 21. The Court found that, upon becoming aware of the situation, Spanish authorities were under a positive obligation to assist the applicant in obtaining documentation and the failure to do so resulted in a violation of Article 8 ECHR.

Court name: Committee on the Rights of the Child
State: Spain
Date of decision:

Eight children of Moroccan nationality born and raised in Melilla, a Spanish enclave city in Morocco, to migrant parents, who had irregular administrative status submitted four different communications to the Committee on the Rights of the Child. Even though the children had the right to attend public school by law, they were unable to access public education in Melilla in practice, because they were requested to provide documents that were difficult or impossible to obtain given their irregular administrative status. The Committee on the Rights of the Child found that Spain had violated the applicants’ right to non-discrimination and to education under Article 2 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, read in conjunction with Article 28, and Article 6 of the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on a communications procedure.

Court name: Fourth Chamber, Court of Justice of the European Union
State: France
Date of decision:

A stateless person of Palestinian origin, who lived in one of UNRWA’s areas of operations in Lebanon, made an asylum application in France claiming that it was impossible for UNRWA to provide him with sufficient access to medical care and appropriate living conditions required by his health condition. The Council of State (Conseil d’État) submitted a request for a preliminary ruling to the CJEU. The Court followed Advocate General Emilou’s opinion and found that UNRWA’s protection or assistance must be considered to have ceased when UNRWA is unable to ensure that the person ‘has access to the healthcare and medical treatment without which that person is exposed to a real risk of imminent death or to a real risk of suffering a serious, rapid and irreversible decline in his or her state of health or a significant reduction in life expectancy’. The existence of that risk is for the national court to assess. 

Court name: Supreme Court
State: Spain
Date of decision:

The Supreme Court held that an asylum seeker may maintain during the appeal phase the benefits received during the asylum procedure, in particular the right to reside and work in Spain.

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

The applicant is a permanent resident who was previously granted subsidiary protection after fleeing his country of origin. Lithuanian authorities refused to issue a travel document to the applicant on the grounds that the applicant could request such a document from the authorities of his country of origin. The Court held that there had been a violation under Article 2 of Protocol No. 4 of the Convention. 

Court name: Administrative Court of Appeals
State: Greece
Date of decision:

The case concerns the eligibility to receive pension as a widow, in a case where the marriage has lasted less than the three-year threshold foreseen in the legislation. The applicant claimed that she had been unable to marry her partner for a significant period of time, in view of the fact that she was stateless. The Court of appeals found that since the cause of the applicant's husband's death could be regarded as an accident, his wife could be eligible to receive his pension, irrespective of the fact that their marriage had lasted for only 9 months.

Court name: Council of the State
State: Greece
Date of decision:

The case concerns the refusal by the Greek authorities to grant benefits and pension to mothers with at least four children, as prescribed by law, in case any of the children is not a Greek national. In this case, the family had lost Greek nationality. While most family members re-acquired it later, one of the daughters had remained stateless.

Court name: Court of first instance of Thessaloniki
State: Greece
Date of decision:

This case concerns the application for the issuance of a "certificate of inheritance'' to prove the status of heir of a stateless person. The court found that, while the issuance of such a certificate is not possible for a stateless person since, in view of her status, she is not registered in the municipal rolls, the applicants should still provide sufficient evidence to substantiate their claim that their are the heirs of the deceased.

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

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.

Court name: High Court of Justice, Queen's Bench Division, Administrative Court
Date of decision:

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.

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. 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. 

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: 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).

Court name: Municipal Court Prague
Date of decision:

Access to Public Health Care should be granted to applicants while the statelessness procedure is pending, by analogy with the situation of asylum seekers.

Court name: Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC)
Date of decision:

The communication concerned M.K.A.H., a stateless child, and whether Switzerland violated his rights under Articles 2 (2), 6, 7, 16, 22, 24, 27, 28, 29, 37 and 39 UNCRC when it decided to return him and his mother to Bulgaria, pursuant to the agreement between Switzerland and Bulgaria relating to the readmission of migrants in irregular situations, where they had previously obtained subsidiary protection.

Some of the findings of the Committee were that (i) Switzerland had not respected the best interests of the child nor heard him at the time of hearing the asylum request; (ii) the child ran a real risk of being subject to inhuman and degrading treatment in case of a return to Bulgaria; (iii) Switzerland had not sought to take the necessary measures to verify whether the child would be able to acquire a nationality in Bulgaria. The Committee also found that Article 7 UNCRC implicates that States must take the necessary positive actions to implement the right to acquire a nationality.

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

A stateless person faced protracted difficulties in regularising his legal situation, and was recognised as stateless only after residing in Hungary for 15 years. During 13 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. The Court held that Hungary had not complied with its positive obligation to provide an effective and accessible procedure enabling the applicant to have his status in Hungary determined with due regard to his private-life interests under Article 8 ECHR.

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

The Georgian born applicant held former USSR citizenship until 2000, when she became stateless. Subsequently, she applied for residence registration in Moscow but was dismissed at first instance and on following appeals, due to failing to confirm her Georgian citizenship or apply for Russian citizenship. The Court ruled that there had been a violation of Article 2 § 1 of Protocol No. 4 and Article 6 § 1 of the Convention.

Court name: Municipal Court Prague
Date of decision:

The court stated that “not admitting applicants for statelessness status to an asylum seekers' accommodation centre is an unlawful action” and the applicants should be admitted to an accommodation centre until a decision is made on their applications for recognition as a stateless person. The case was argued based on an analogy with the asylum procedure, as the reference to stateless persons is currently in the Czech Asylum Act. 

Court name: Supreme Court
Date of decision:

The applicant is a stateless person, who committed an administrative offence of drug abuse, and was sentenced to administrative detention and expulsion. The Court considered that in his specific circumstances, which included statelessness and long-term residence in Russia since childhood, expulsion would be a disproportionate measure at risk of violating Russia's international human rights commitments, and reduced the sentence to administrative detention only. 

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: Administrative Court of Luxembourg
State: Luxembourg
Date of decision:

The applicant made several unsuccessful applications for asylum and other protection statuses in Luxembourg, before applying for a statelessness status. The latter was refused, as the Algerian consular authorities' statement concerning the applicant was interpreted as lack of confirmation of the applicant's identity, not a denial of Algerian nationality to him. 

Court name: Administrative Court of Luxembourg
State: Luxembourg
Date of decision:

The applicant appplicant was born in Russia and renounced his Russian nationality in 2000. He applied for a statelessness status in Luxembourg in 2008, but it was discovered that he had applied for asylum status in the Netherlands in 2006, which was rejected, so Luxembourg transferred the applicant to the Netherlands under the Dublin regulation. The applicant returned several times to Luxembourg and was sent back to the Netherlands. He made a repeated application for statelessness status in 2014, where the courts accepted his argument that statelessness status determination doesn't fall within the scope of the Dublin regulations, and the court also accepted that his voluntary renunciation of Russian nationality does not exclude him from protection under the 1954 Convention. 

Court name: Administrative Court of Luxembourg
State: Luxembourg
Date of decision:

The applicant originates from former Soviet Union, and has lived in Luxembourg since 2004, unsuccessfully applying for the recognition of a statelessness status on numerous occasions. His identity has never been confirmed, and there were doubts as to the credibility of his testimony stemming from his asylum procedures. The applicant claimed that after 15 years of inability to determine the country of destination for his removal the attempts at deportation should be terminated, and his statelessness recognised, especially considering his poor health condition. 

Court name: High Administrative Court of the Republic of Croatia
State: Croatia
Date of decision:

The applicant was born in Croatia in 1998 and has lived there ever since. His parents are citizens of Serbia, but the applicant's citizenship status remained unclear. His request for a permanent residence permit in Croatia was rejected, among others due to lack of a valid travel document, lack of means of subsistence, and lack of health insurance. The Court ordered the authorities to issue a new decision, taking into account the ECHR judgment in Hoti v. Croatia, and the applicant's potential statelessness which is related to widespread difficulties in confirming Serbian citizenship of individuals in a similar situation to the applicant. The applicant initiated a new administrative dispute and the Administrative Court in Rijeka ruled in his favour, however, on appeal, the High Administrative Court rejected the applicant’s request.