This case concerns the difference in treatment between citizens of Latvia and ‘permanently resident non-citizens’ of Latvia with regard to the calculation of their pension rights. For the latter group, employment periods accrued outside of Latvia prior to 1991 in other parts of the USSR are excluded from the calculation. The Court found that direct difference in treatment on the grounds of nationality in pensions does not violate the ECHR, as when determining that difference in treatment, Latvia pursued a legitimate aim and this measure was proportionate to that aim. It noted that applicants decided not to naturalise in Latvia, where they resided. The Court also found that the assessment of whether the difference in treatment is justified by 'very weighty reasons' (test applied where there is a direct different of treatment on the sole ground of nationality) must be carried out considering the wide margin of appreciation in this case.
A family of three applicants, who came to Latvia under the former Soviet Union, were denied permanent resident status following its independence and offered short term residence status and registration on the domestic register of residents. The second and third applicants have Russian nationality, while the first applicant has no nationality. Following complaints of their Article 8 and Article 34 rights being violated, it was held that Article 8 cannot guarantee the right to a particular type of residence permit.
Eight applicants, some of whom were stateless and others were nationals of former Yugoslavia, failed to request Slovenian citizenship within the six months’ deadline provided for permanent residents to apply for citizenship following Slovenia’s independence. Two months after the deadline, their names were erased from the Register of Permanent Residents, resulting in them becoming stateless together with approximately 25,671 other people in Slovenia, who became known as “the erased”. The Court held that the domestic legal system had failed to clearly regulate the consequences of the “erasure”, resulting in a violation of Article 8(2), 13, and 14 ECHR.
Maltese authorities denied Maltese nationality to a child on the basis that they were born out of wedlock to a Maltese father and a British mother. Domestic legislation only conferred nationality to children born out of wedlock if the mother was Maltese. The Court rejected the argument advanced by the Maltese Government that this case was justified on the basis that a mother is always certain, whereas a father is not. It concluded that no reasonable grounds were adduced to justify such a difference in the treatment of the applicant and found a violation of Article 14 in conjunction with Article 8 ECHR.
The appellant is a former USSR national, living in Latvia. The case is concerned with whether Latvia’s refusal of citizenship to a person who had criticised the Government, constituted a punitive measure in violation of that individual’s rights to freedom of expression under Article 10 and freedom of assembly and association under Article 11. The Court found no violation of articles 10 and 11 as the denial of citizenship did not affect the appellant’s relevant rights. Contrary, it highlighted that there is no “right to a nationality” under the Convention, and no provision of Latvian law indicates the appellant’s right to Latvian citizenship.