Poland – Regional Administrative Court, N.D., 7 December 2016, IV SA/GI 663/16

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Country of Decision:
Country of Applicant:
Date of Decision:
07-12-2016
Citation:
IV SA/GI 663/16
Court Name:
Regional Administrative Court in Gliwice
Relevant Legislative Provisions:
International Law > 1951 Refugee Convention
International Law > UN Convention on the Rights of the Child
National / Other Legislative Provisions:
Poland - Art. 2 ss 11
art 2
art. 4
art. 5
art. 10 and art. 18 of the Law of 11 February 2016 on the state assistance in raising children (Dz. U. z 2016 r.
poz. 195)
Poland - Resolution of the Minister of Family
Employment and Social Policy of 18 February 2016 regarding the means and procedure in child support applications (Dz. U. z 2016 r. poz. 214).
Poland - Art. 104 of the Administrative Procedure Code (t.j. Dz. U. z 2016 r. poz. 23 z późn. zm.).
Poland - Art. 1 of the Law on Administrative Courts (t.j. Dz. U. z 2016 r. poz. 1066).
Poland - Art 134
art. 135 art. 145
art.153 of the Law of 30 August 2002 on Proceedings before Administrative Courts ( t.j. Dz. U. z 2016 r.
poz. 718 z późn. zm.).
Poland - Art. 127
art. 240
art.
art 243
art. 244 of the Law of 12 December 2013 on foreigners (Dz. U. z 2013 r. poz. 1650 z późn. zm.).
Poland - Art 87 of the Law of 20 April 2004 on promotion of employment and labour market institutions (t.j. z 2016 r. Dz. U. poz. 645 z późn. zm.)
Poland - Art.2
art. 32
art. 71
art 72 of the Constitution of the Republic of Poland (Dz.U. 1997 nr 78 poz. 483).
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Headnote: 

D.T., who possesses a leave to remain in Poland due to humanitarian considerations, appealed the Municipal Appeal Board’s decision to uphold the decision refusing to award her child benefits. Relying on a purposive interpretation of the applicable regulations regarding social welfare and the access of foreigners to the labour market, the Court decided to set aside both decisions, while stressing that the deciding body shall be bound by the legal analysis contained in the Court order. 

Facts: 

D.T., a citizen of W., in receipt of Humanitarian Protection in Poland, made an application for child benefits, in relation to the three children whom she is raising in Poland as a single mother. One of D.T.’s children is a Polish national. The Director of the Family Benefits and Alimony Office of the Municipal Office of Social Welfare, acting on behalf of the President of the city of K., denied granting the Appellant the benefits for which she applied, concluding that she did not meet the formal legal requirements, as the residence card which she presented did not include the “access to the labour market” note.

Following the appeal of the above decision, the Municipal Appeal Board in K., confirmed it, concluding that, as a person in receipt of leave to remain due to humanitarian considerations, the Appellant does not fall within the statutory list of individuals who may be in receipt of child benefits. Furthermore, as the Appellant is not a national of a European Union Member State, or any country with which Poland has signed a bilateral international agreement, the regulations on the coordination of social security do not apply to her. The body also mentioned the lack of the appropriate note on the Appellant’s residence card.

The Appellant appealed this further decision to the Regional Administrative Court in Gliwice, asking for it to be set aside and for her to be granted the protection to which she is entitled as a single mother of three, in receipt of a valid residence card. 

Decision & Reasoning: 

The Court decided to set aside the appealed decision in respect of granting child benefit along with the initial decision of the President of the city of K. .  Applying the relevant regulations of the Law on state assistance in raising children (s.a.i.r.c.) and the Law on foreigners. The Court held that relying solely on literal interpretation in relation to the present facts would result in an inappropriate differentiation in the situation of foreigners granted Humanitarian Protection.

The Appellant is a recipient of this form of protection, on the basis of which she was granted a residence card for a period of 2 years. A literal interpretation of s.a.i.r.c. indicates the possibility of granting a child benefit on the condition of a foreigner being in receipt of a residence card with the “access to the labour market” note. Under the Law on foreigners, a residence card is issued with the abovementioned note if he was granted leave to remain on the territory of Poland due to humanitarian concerns along with a permission to work on the territory of Poland.

Taking the above regulations together, the Court considered that the right of a foreigner issued with a residence card to obtain child benefits depends on whether or not he has also been granted with a permission to work in Poland or the need for such permission has been waived. Both instances are a basis of the “access to the labour market” note being recorded on a residence card. According to the Law on the promotion of employment and labour market institutions, foreigners granted leave to remain due to humanitarian concerns are entitled to work on the territory of Poland and therefore meet the above criteria of receiving child benefits.

Applying purposive interpretation to the provisions of s.a.i.r.c. the Court concluded that their purpose was for the State to provide partial assistance to parents in the form of covering the expenses connected with parenting and said provisions do not exclude the children of foreigners in possession of a right to work in Poland. The appellant is in possession of a residence card however, despite her right to work in Poland and her documented past employment, the issuing body failed to record the appropriate note on her card. The differentiation of the legal position of foreigners in possession of a residence card along with a right to work, due to whether or not the issuing body recorded the appropriate note on their card, or due to the nationality of their children, would violate the Polish Constitution and the Convention on the Rights of the Child. 

Due to these considerations the Court concluded that the provisions of s.a.i.r.c. entitle a foreigner with leave to remain due to humanitarian considerations and a right to work to obtain child benefits, regardless of whether the appropriate body disclosed the latter right on their residence card.  While remitting the application to be considered anew, the Court stressed that the administrative body will be bound by the present analysis.  

Outcome: 

Appeal granted (decisions set aside and remitted for reconsideration).

Subsequent Proceedings : 

The application was remitted for re-consideration, with the caveat that the administrative body shall be bound by the legal analysis contained in the court’s reasoning. 

 

Observations/Comments: 

This case summary was written by Brenda Efurhievwe, BPTC student at BPP University. 

This case summary was written by Brenda Efurhievwe, BPTC student at BPP University.