Court name: Court of Justice of the European Union
State: Bulgaria
Date of decision:
Key aspects: Detention

A stateless person of Chechen origin, whose real identity could not be determined with certainty, was detained in Bulgaria for several years. His application for asylum was rejected, but he stayed in detention as several countries denied him the right to enter. By the time the case reached the CJEU, the applicant had been in detention for 37 months. The court ruled that where there is no reasonable prospect of successful expulsion, individuals cannot be detained. The Court ruled on several points regarding the interpretation of Article 15(4) to (6) of Directive 2008/115/EC (EU Returns Directive), including on the calculation of the maximum period of detention. The Court also interpreted the concept of a (lack of) reasonable prospect of removal within the meaning of Article 15(4) of the Returns Directive, according to which detention ceases to be justified and the person concerned must be released immediately when it appears that, for legal or other considerations, a reasonable prospect of removal no longer exists.