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N.D. and N.T. v Spain – 8675/15; 8697/15

Country Spain
Status FINAL
Court ECtHR (Grand Chamber)
Relevant Law Article 13 Article 4 Protocol 4
Year 2020
Found for State

The applicants, nationals of Mali and Côte d’Ivoire, arrived in Morocco independently of one another after fleeing from their countries of origin. On 13 August 2014, in a group of around 600 migrants attempting to cross the border fence, N.D and N.T were apprehended by the Spanish border guards and immediately handed over to Moroccan authorities. In its Chamber judgment, the Court had previously found violations in relation to both complaints.

The importance of the case lies in the Grand Chamber’s overturn of the decision, that would set the standard for future cases litigated under Article 4 Protocol 4. In its decision the Grand Chamber assessed the applicants’ own conduct. The Court assessed whether the applicants took advantage of the group’s large numbers in trying to gain irregular entry. More so, the Court found that Spain had other mechanisms to grant people access to the territory and they could have applied for visas or for international protection at a border crossing point.

The Court then found that the applicants placed themselves in an unlawful situation by deliberately attempting to enter Spain as part of a large group rather than using available legal procedures and found no violation of Article 13 in conjunction with Article 4 Protocol 4.