This case concerns a stateless Palestinian who grew up in a refugee camp in Lebanon, the Ein El-Hilweh camp, before applying for asylum in the Netherlands. The Court considered that the general information submitted shows a substantial deterioration in the situation for Palestinian stateless people in Lebanon and in particular in the Ein El-Hilweh camp. The Court found that the Secretary of State’s decision was flawed and that it must reconsider the application considering relevant factors, including whether UNRWA’s support met minimum requirements. An appeal is pending.
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 applicants’ request for family reunification was upheld by the Administrative Court of Appeal in Luxembourg. The Court ruled that the appeal was well-founded and that the disputed refusal decision of the Court of first instance must be annulled. The Administrative Court of Appeal underlined that, by rejecting the family reunification application, the Ministry of Immigration and Asylum disproportionately infringed the child’s right to respect for her private and family life in violation of Article 8 of the ECHR and disregarded the best interests of the child, protected by Article 24 of the Charter and Article 5 of Directive 2003/86/EC.
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 applicant lived in Slovenia for 52 years, of which he had a permanent residence for 28 years. After being erased from the register of permanent residents, he lived in Slovenia for another 24 years. In 2014, a return decision was issued to him. Two years later, when the deadline for voluntary return had expired, he filed an application for permission to stay. The competent authority rejected his request and the case was referred to the administrative court.
The administrative court ruled that when considering the applicant's stay in Slovenia, specific circumstances must be taken into account, especially the length of the applicant’s residence in Slovenia and his social status, as well as the fact that he was a stateless person. In that regard, it is necessary to ensure that his right to respect for this private life is respected.
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.
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.
The Applicant was born in Uzbekistan in 1974 and obtained Russian citizenship in 2005. In 2017, he was convicted of an extremist crime for organisation of an extremist religious community (Nur movement) branch in the city of Blagoveshchensk and sentenced to imprisonment. In January 2019, his Russian citizenship was removed because of the conviction. After being released from prison in April 2019, the Applicant did not have any identification documents except for certificate of release, as his Russian passport was withheld. He did not have a chance to acquire any other documents to legalise his stay in Russia or leave the country, since he was arrested and placed in the migration detention centre five minutes after his release from the prison. As a result, Russian state court of civil jurisdiction declared the Applicant guilty of an administrative offence for violation of rules of stay in the Russian Federation under Article 18.8 of the Code of Administrative Offenses of the Russian Federation ("CAO") and prescribed a punishment in the form of penalty and administrative expulsion from the Russian territory.
Russian authorities contacted Uzbekistan to expel him there, however Uzbekistan did not agree to accept the Applicant. As a result, the Applicant remained in custody for about two years, since Russian law does not have provisions granting stateless individuals the right to challenge their detention nor requiring the courts to determine its duration when ordering the detention. Following unsuccessful challenges of his detention in the Russian state courts of civil jurisdiction, the Applicant filed a complaint with the Russian Constitutional Court challenging the constitutionality of the relevant legal provisions. The Constitutional Court dismissed the appeal finding all the challenged provisions were constitutional because its earlier judgment No. 14-P/2017 of 25 May 2017 already provided stateless individuals a right to challenge their further detention three months after the date of the decision to detain and expel them. The Constitutional Court also contacted Uzbekistan authorities again and they finally agreed to receive the Applicant in Uzbekistan.
United Kingdom - R (on the application of D4) (Notice of deprivation of citizenship) v Secretary of State for the Home Department
A dual British and Pakistani national who was detained in a camp in Syria was deprived of her British nationality in December 2019 on the grounds that this would be conducive to the public good. A copy of the notice of the deprivation was placed on the applicant's file but was not communicated to her at this time. Under regulations made under the British Nationality Act 1981, this was considered to constitute notice. The deprivation of citizenship was only communicated to the applicant when her lawyers contacted the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in September 2020 to ask for assistance with the applicant’s repatriation and were later informed of this decision by the Home Office in October 2020. The applicant applied for judicial review, claiming that the domestic regulation in question and the deprivation decision had no legal effect. The Court of Appeal dismissed the Secretary of State appeal against the High Court decision finding in the applicant's favour. The judgment is currently under appeal before the Supreme Court.
Bulgaria – Supreme Administrative Court, Fourth Division, Judgment № 6819/07.07.2022 in administrative case № 3789/2022
The Supreme Administrative Court (SAC) quashed Decision № 180/30.03.2022 by the Council of Minister which states the following: “Foreign citizens and stateless persons who have fled from Ukraine as a result of the military actions and who have entered and stayed on the territory of the Republic of Bulgaria may receive temporary protection even without their explicit statement and registration to benefit from temporary protection until 15 April 2022”. SAC found that the wording of the Decision is unclear, that no such deadline may be imposed and that temporary protection status may not be assigned automatically (without the consent of the beneficiary). The cassation court which heard the appeal to that judgment upheld this decision with regard to imposing a deadline for temporary protection registration, but held that temporary protection can be assigned automatically.
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.
A 7-year-old child arrived in Spain irregularly by boat in April 2018. She was born in Morocco to a Cameroonian mother while they were on a journey to Europe, and due to the circumstances the child’s birth was not registered. Her mother contacted the Cameroonian and Moroccan embassies in Spain, but she never succeeded in registering her birth nor recognising her Cameroonian nor Moroccan nationality. The child was thus stateless, as declared in the first instance judgment and confirmed on appeal. The Provincial Court of Guipúzcoa held that the mother had made a genuine effort to remove all bureaucratic obstacles to have the child’s Cameroonian nationality recognised. The Court held that the safeguard established in the Spanish Civil Code to prevent statelessness of children born in Spain should be applied broadly and by analogy, as this is the only interpretation in compliance with international treaties to which Spain is a party and with the principle of the best interests of the child. Therefore it found that there was a violation of the child's fundamental rights and declared that the child held Spanish nationality and agreed to order the Central Civil Registry to register the birth of the child.
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.
The appellant, a Rwandan national, was granted refugee status in the UK but was subsequently convicted of a number of offences. The Secretary of State for the Home Department has powers, under the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002 to order the deportation of persons convicted of serious offences, which included an offence committed by the appellant. The Secretary of State ordered the appellant’s detention pending deportation and the appellant initially sought judicial review of the deportation order, only to then focus on the lawfulness of the detention. Following the decision in R (Draga) v Secretary of State for the Home Department  EWCA Civ 842, where the Court of Appeal ruled detention lawful even where based on an unlawful deportation order, the Court of Appeal dismissed the appellant’s substantive appeal. The Supreme Court overturned the decision.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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'.