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Supreme Court of Denmark

No claim for compensation etc. in family reunification case 

Case no. 185/2011

Judgment delivered on 27 September 2013.

A and B
the Ministry of Justice 

Question relating to compensation in family reunification case. Basis of liability/statute-barring.

A fled from Sri Lanka in 1995 and was granted a residence permit as a refugee in Denmark in 1997. On 15 January 2003, A was married to B in Thailand. On 28 January 2003, B, who was born and raised in Sri Lanka, then applied for family reunification with A.

On 19 March 2003, the Danish Immigration Service rejected the application for a residence permit, and on 14 June 2004, the Ministry of Refugees, Immigration and Integration Affairs upheld this decision. However, on 17 August 2004, the Ministry of Integration Affairs reopened the case due to information on A and B's joint residence in Denmark and the birth of their mutual child and on 23 May 2005 returned the case to the Danish Immigration Service, asking the Service to issue a residence permit, which it did on 6 July 2005.

Several years later, A and B claimed compensation, stating that they had had a legal claim for family reunification and that due to obvious errors on the part of the authorities, B's application for a residence permit was rejected on 14 June 2004 and that the practice at the time was in contravention of, e.g., Article 8 of the European Human Rights Convention.

In relation to the question of statute-barring, the Supreme Court held, among other things, that the claim occurred on 14 June 2004 when the Ministry of Integration Affairs upheld the Danish Immigration Service's rejection of the application for a residence permit. The majority of the claims (claims no. 2 and 3) were therefore statute-barred when the case was brought on 24 August 2009. The Supreme Court stated that in relation to claim no. 1 relating to medical bills totalling DKK 1,450 there was not sufficient basis to establish that the errors made by the Ministry of Integration Affairs in its decision of 14 June 2004 had given rise to liability.

The Supreme Court then dismissed the claim against the Ministry of Justice. 

The High Court had reached the same conclusion.

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