Moustaquim v Belgium: ECHR 18 Feb 1991

The applicant was a Moroccan national who arrived in Belgium in 1965 when he was aged under 2. In 1984, nineteen years later, after a career of juvenile crime, he was deported, but the deportation order was suspended in 1989 and he returned to Belgium. He complained that his deportation had violated his right to private and family life under article 8.
Held: There had been interference by a public authority with his right to family life guaranteed in article 8(1) and that this was not justified under article 8(2). The Court rejected a complaint under article 14, holding that the applicant’s position could not be compared with that of Belgian juveniles, since they had a right of abode in their own country and could not be expelled from it.
‘. . the court would reiterate that article 14 safeguards individuals placed in similar situations from any discriminatory differences of treatment in the enjoyment of the rights and freedoms recognised in the Convention . . In the instant case the applicant cannot be compared to Belgian juvenile delinquents. The latter have a right of abode in their own country and cannot be expelled from it . .
As for the preferential treatment given to nationals of the other member states of the Communities, there is objective and reasonable justification for it as Belgium belongs, together with those states, to a special legal order.’


12313/86, (1991) 13 EHRR 802, [1991] ECHR 3


Worldlii, Bailii


European Cnvention on Human Rights 8


Human Rights

Cited by:

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CitedA v Secretary of State for the Home Department, and X v Secretary of State for the Home Department HL 16-Dec-2004
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CitedBarclay and Others, Regina (on the Application of) v Secretary of State for Justice and others CA 2-Dec-2008
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CitedNouazli, Regina (on The Application of) v Secretary of State for The Home Department SC 20-Apr-2016
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Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Human Rights

Updated: 04 June 2022; Ref: scu.165085