11 July 2014

In three separate judgments, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) has unanimously declared the French family reunification procedure to be incompatible with the right to family life under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).

According to the ECtHR press release, in all three judgments, the ECtHR concluded that, ‘since the national authorities had not given due consideration to the applicants’ specific circumstances, … the family reunification procedure had not offered the requisite guarantees of flexibility, promptness and effectiveness to ensure compliance with their right to respect for their family life. For that reason, the State had not struck a fair balance between the applicants’ interests on the one hand, and its own interest in controlling immigration on the other, in violation of Article 8’.

The cases of Mugenzi v. France (no. 52701/09) and Tanda-Muzinga v. France (no. 2260/10) concern the attempts by recognised refugees to bring their children to France. In both cases, the ECtHR criticised the French visa authorities’ refusal to consider the certification of family composition by the French asylum authorities and considered excessive the time taken to get a final decision on their application for family reunification – five years for Mr Mugenzi and three and a half years for Mr Tanda-Muzinga.

This article originally appeared in the ECRE Weekly Bulletin of 11 July 2014.
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