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The Immigrants’ and Refugees’ Right to ‘Family Life’: How Relevant are the Principles Applied by the European Court of Human Rights?

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The article examines the case law of the ECtHR on immigration and asylum cases under ‘family life’ under ECHR Article 8. It argues that certain criteria of the Court in both admission and in expulsion cases do not appear to be particularly relevant to the actual notion of family life. We argue that besides its being scarcely relevant to the nature of family life, the ‘elsewhere approach’ applied by the Court in these cases is indirectly discriminatory for certain categories of aliens. Certain of the criteria taken into consideration in expulsion cases do not aim at measuring family life, but rather the level of integration that the immigrant enjoys in the hosting country. Rather recently, the Court seems to have even taken into account ‘financial considerations’ in its case law on family life. The article argues that a different approach in Article 8 admission and expulsion cases is necessary.

Affiliations: 1: Associate Professor, Department of Constitutional Law, University of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain; Researcher, Public Law Institute (IDP)


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