The Netherlands – The District Court of The Hague rules on the validity of a Syrian marriage

Thursday, August 16, 2018

On 16 August 2018, the Administrative Division of the District Court of The Hague decided on a case concerning the validity of a marriage that took place in Syria. The applicant had applied for a provisional residence permit, in order to reunify with their partner who was already residing in the Netherlands.

The application was rejected twice by the domestic authorities, on the basis of a lack of a registered valid marriage. Moreover, according to the authorities, the conditions for the recognition of a lasting and exclusive relationship between the couple were also not met. The applicant appealed against the second rejection, claiming that their marriage was legal and valid under Syrian law from the moment of the Sharia court ratification.

The Court specified that the central question would be whether the marriage was considered valid on the date of entry of the sponsor in the Netherlands. In order to do this, the Court decided to assess what the status of the marriage in question was at that time, under private international law. According to the relevant provisions in the Dutch Civil Code, a foreign marriage is considered valid in the Netherlands, if it was legal according to the law of the State where the ceremony took place.

As such, the Court relied on a relevant 2017 report of the Syrian Ministry of Foreign affairs, regarding documents in Syria, in order to answer this question. According to the report, the official date of the marriage is the date determined by the Sharia court, therefore the contested marriage should be considered valid under Dutch law, as of that date. Finally, the Court upheld the appeal, while stating that the State should have recognised the relationship between the applicant and the sponsor, according to this line of interpretation.

Based on an unofficial translation by the ELENA Weekly Legal Update.

This item was reproduced with the permission of ECRE from the weekly ELENA legal update. The purpose of these updates is to inform asylum lawyers and legal organizations supporting asylum seekers and refugees of recent developments in the field of asylum law. Please note that the information provided is taken from publicly available information on the internet. Every reasonable effort is made to make the content accurate and up to date at the time each item is published but no responsibility for its accuracy and correctness, or for any consequences of relying on it, is assumed by ECRE.




Family reunification