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Supreme Court of Denmark

Residence permit not to be regarded as having lapsed 

Case no. 288/2011
Judgment 7 November 2012

The Ministry of Refugees, Immigration and Integration Affairs

A 16-year-old alien's residence permit was not to be regarded as having lapsed

When A was 12 years old, A's mother sent him to a boarding school in Nigeria. Four years later – when he was 16 – he returned to Denmark.

The Ministry of Integration Affairs stated that A's residence permit had lapsed, because A had stayed outside of Denmark for more than 12 successive months. In the opinion of the Ministry of Integration Affairs, there was no basis for deciding, on application, that A's residence permit should not be regarded as having lapsed.

The Supreme Court gave importance to the fact that A had moved to Denmark when he was three years old and had lived in this country until he was 12. Also, he attended a Danish school from the first grade and until the beginning of the seventh grade, and his closest relatives, parents and siblings lived in Denmark.

The Supreme Court found that his mother's decision to send him to boarding school in Nigeria should not be to the detriment of A, such that his interests would be set aside, including A's right to respect for private and family life based on his strong ties with Denmark.

Against this background, the Supreme Court held that the decision made by the Ministry of Integration Affairs amounted to a disproportionate restriction of A's right to respect for private and family life in contravention of art. 8 of the European Human Rights Convention, and revoked the Ministry's decision.

 The High Court had reached a different conclusion.

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