ECtHR decision in De Souza Ribeiro v. France (no. 22689/07) [Articles 8 and 13]

Friday, October 4, 2013

The applicant is a Brazilian national who had lived in French Guiana since his childhood. In January 2007 he was stopped by the police and, as he was unable to prove that his presence on French soil was legal, an administrative removal order and an administrative detention order were issued against him. He applied for judicial review of the removal and for the stay of the removal order the next day. However, only 50 minutes after lodging his application, Mr. de Souza was removed to Brazil. Some hours later the competent court declared his application for judicial review devoid of purpose as he had already been deported. In August 2007 he returned to French Guiana and his removal order was then examined by the judicial authorities, who declared it illegal and set it aside. He was found to meet the legal conditions to be immune to expulsion. In 2009 he was issued with a residence permit and now has a renewable permit for "private and family life".

The applicant relied on Article 8 to allege a violation of his right to respect for his private and family life caused by his expulsion. He also alleged that, under Article 13, he had not had an effective remedy at his disposal to challenge the lawfulness of the removal order.

The Chamber judgment of 30 June 2011 found no violations of the alleged rights. The Grand Chamber overturns the Chamber's ruling. In view of the summary examination of the applicant's situation by the authorities and of the fact that at the time of his arrest, Mr. de Souza was legally protected against expulsion, the Grand Chamber considered that he had had an arguable claim under Article 8 in the sense of Article 13. However, his removal only 50 minutes after lodging his application had excluded any possibility of a serious examination of his claim. The execution of the removal order had also deprived the competent authority of any possibility to stay his removal. In conclusion, he had been stripped of any chance of having the lawfulness of his removal properly examined. Although French authorities did have discretion as to the manner to conform to their obligations under Article 13, this could not result in the denial of minimum procedural safeguards against arbitrary expulsion. Hence the Grand Chamber finds a violation of Article 13 in conjunction with Article 8 which was not remedied by the later granting of a residence permit.

For the full text of the judgment please click here.

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Effective remedy (right to)
Right to remain pending a decision (Suspensive effect)
United Kingdom