EU Court: A Third-Country National Suffering Serious Illness May Not Be Returned to Origin Country


The Court of Justice of the European Union has ruled that Member States are not permitted to adopt a return decision or remove from the country a third-country national who is staying illegally in its territory and suffering from a serious illness.

According to the EU Court, Member States are prohibited from taking such a decision as long as there are compelling reasons for believing that the third-country national would not be able to receive appropriate treatment in the receiving country, reports.

“EU law precludes a Member State from adopting a return decision or removing a third-country national who is staying illegally and suffering from a serious illness, where there are substantial grounds for believing that returning that national would expose him or her, on account of appropriate care not being available in the receiving country,” the statement of the EU Court reads.

The Court’s ruling was made after a 16-year-old Russian national receiving treatment in the Netherlands for a rare form of blood cancer was not granted asylum even after making numerous requests in 2020.

The medical treatment of the Russian national consisted of the administration of medicinal cannabis, whose use is not permitted in Russia. Thus, taking into account the circumstances, the Russian national has required that he gets granted a residence permit or at least his removal gets postponed until he is able to continue his life normally without the need for medication.

Since the Dutch authorities were not sure how to proceed with this particular case, the District Court of the Hague decided to submit a question to the EU Court of Justice, asking whether the country can make a return decision in such a situation.

Apart from the above-mentioned, in its response, the EU Court of Justice stressed that since Russia does not allow the type of medication that the 16-year-old Russian national needs, he may be exposed to unbearable pain and would face serious psychological consequences.

Moreover, the EU High Court highlighted that the EU law rules out the increase in the pain of a national of a third country and stressed that if a Member State sets a time limit, it cannot exempt the competent authorities from examining the situation of the person concerned.

Regarding the private life of the person concerned, the EU Court of Justice ruled that a Member State can adopt a return decision for a third-country national only if it has taken into account his/her state of health.

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