In a dispute concerning court jurisdiction, the Supreme Administrative Court recognised the special circumstances of the claimant in an application for the determination of statelessness, and ruled that the court which would have been competent in an asylum procedure should continue the proceedings.
- 1954 Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons
- Section 32 para. 3 of Act no. 325/1999 Coll, on Asylum
- Section 7 para. 2 of Act no. 150/2002 Coll., Code of Administrative Procedure
The Ministry of Interior issued a negative decision regarding the applicant's application for statelessness determination. By analogy with the procedure under the Asylum Act, the applicant brought the case to the Regional Court in Ostrava, as she had the registered residence in the district of this court. However, the Regional Court referred the case to the Municipal Court in Prague, arguing that decisions related to statelessness is not similar to decisions related to international protection and therefore the local jurisdiction should be based on the general rule (the location of the authority that issued the decision). The Municipal Court disagreed with this reasoning, stating that the analogy with the asylum procedure should be preserved, and referred the case to the Supreme Administrative Court to decide which court is competent to decide cases concerning statelessness determination.
According to the applicant, the analogy with the Asylum Act should also be preserved with regard to local jurisdiction. She also stated that there were other individual reasons why the Regional Court in Ostrava should decide her case, as she, her husband and her son were in a difficult economic and health situation. The travel to the Municipal Court in Prague would mean serious complications for the family.
While confirming its previous jurisprudence, the Supreme Administrative Court ruled that the analogy between the procedure to determine statelessness and the asylum procedure does not apply with regard to local jurisdiction. According to the court, there is no gap in the legislation that needs to be filled regarding the determination of the place of jurisdiction.
The competent local court is determined on the basis of the seat of the administrative authority that issued the decision. In cases concerning applicants for statelessness determination, it is the Ministry of Interior with its seat in Prague.
This general rule and the court's conclusion apply only to ongoing proceedings initiated under the previous legal framework. For decisions taken by the Ministry under the new law (from 2 August 2021), the provisions of the Immigration Act will apply, according to which the competent court will be determined on the basis of the foreigner's place of residence at the time of filing the lawsuit.
However, due to the special circumstances (health and economic background of the applicant), the Supreme Administrative Court ruled that, in this particular case, the court of the place of residence of the applicant, namely the Regional Court in Ostrava, should continue the proceedings.
The local jurisdiction for actions against decisions on statelessness determination initiated under the previous legal framework is determined on the basis of the seat of the administrative authority issuing the decision. The analogy with the Asylum Act does not apply.
However, for decisions issued after 2 August 2021, after the change in the law, different rules will apply.
In this particular case, due to the special circumstances (health and economic background of the applicant), the Supreme Administrative Court ruled that the court of the place of residence of the applicant, so the court which would have been competent in an asylum procedure, should continue the proceedings.
Supreme Administrative Court jurisprudence in the Czech Republic