France / State Council / 383664 M. Q. v the French Republic (request to annul an Order)

Key facts of the case:

Mr Q (a citizen of both France and Morocco) was stripped of French nationality by an Order of 28 May 2014 adopted on the basis of Articles 25 and 25-1 of the Civil Code, on the grounds that he was convicted by a final judgment of the High Court of Paris for participating in a criminal association for the preparation of an act of terrorism, offences listed in Article 421-2-1 of the Criminal Code. In a request filed in August 2014, Mr Q asked the State Council to annul the Order on the grounds of abuse of power.

Outcome of the case:

The State Council rejected the appeal.

The withdrawal of French nationality is not incompatible with the requirements resulting from the law of the Union if the people in question acquired this nationality and also have another nationality, for reasons listed and having regard to the very particular gravity of the acts of terrorism, and if the withdrawal of nationality is possible within a limited time.

The State Council rejected the appeal by dismissing the pleas made as follows:

  • To the extent that the loss of the nationality of a Member State results in the loss of citizenship of the Union, the loss of the nationality of a Member State must, to be consistent with EU law, respond to reasons of public interest and be proportionate to the seriousness of the facts on which it is based, the time since the acquisition of nationality and the possibility for that person to obtain another nationality; that the terms of the Charter of Fundamental Rights do not preclude that the loss of nationality may depend on the mode or conditions of acquisition of nationality. 
  • The right of a foreigner to acquire the nationality of a State signatory to the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms and keep it is not among the rights and freedoms recognized therein;
  • The applicant can not usefully claim a misreading of the provisions of Protocol 12 to the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, which has been neither signed nor ratified by France;
  • The terms of Article 3 of Additional Protocol 4 to the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, according to which ‘No one shall be expelled, by means of individual or collective measures, from the territory the State of which they are a national’ do not prevent a person from being deprived of French nationality under the provisions of the Civil Code;
  • It does not appear from the file that, in ordering the withdrawal of French nationality for Mr Q, the Prime Minister exclusively based the decision on the conviction by the High Court of Paris, without a review of the specific circumstances the applicant's situation.
Paragraphs referring to EU Charter: 

 

6. Considering  that under Article 20 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union: ‘All persons are equal before the law’; that under Article 21 of the Charter: ‘In the field of application of the laws and without prejudice to their specific provisions, any discrimination based on nationality shall be prohibited’; that under Article 20 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union: ‘There shall be a citizenship of the Union. A citizen of the Union is any person holding the nationality of a Member State’;

7. Considering, as stated by the Court of Justice of the European Union in its judgment of 2 March 2010, Rottman, C-135/08, that the definition of the conditions for the acquisition and loss of nationality falls within the competence of each Member State of the Union; considering, however, that since the loss of the nationality of a Member State results in the loss of citizenship of the Union, the loss of the nationality of a Member State must, to be consistent with Union law, respond to reasons of public interest and be proportionate to the seriousness of the facts on which it is based, the time since the acquisition of nationality and the possibility for that person to obtain another nationality; as mentioned above the Charter of Fundamental Rights does not preclude that the loss of nationality may depend on the mode or conditions of acquisition of nationality.

 

Deciding body (original language): 
Conseil d’Etat
Language: 
French