- R.F.D.A May-June 1999, 15 (3), 545 Case M. Villegas
- 26 March 1999
- Translated by:
- Tony Weir
- Professor Sir B. S. Markesinis
Given that article 37-1 of the Code of French Nationality, in the version resulting from the Law of 9 January 1973, provides that “a foreigner … who contracts a marriage with a French national may acquire French nationality by declaration …”; that under article 39 of the same Code “within one year of the date laid down in article 106(2) [the date of delivery of the receipt mentioned in article 105(2)] the government may, by decree in the Conseil d’État, bar the acquisition of French nationality on the ground of immorality, lack of assimilation or cessation of cohabitation. In such an event the party is deemed never to have acquired French nationality”.
Given that on 7 December 1976 M. Villegas signed a declaration, based on these articles, of his desire to acquire French nationality and received a receipt on the same day; that on 6 December 1977 a decree barring his acquisition of French nationality was made but was not notified and so was without effect; nevertheless in a letter dated 8 September 1995, received by M. Villegas on 3 October 1995, the Minister of Integration sought to notify M. Villegas of the decree which had been signed on 6 December 1977;
Given that in view of the extraordinarily long delay, for which M. Villegas was not responsible, between the signature of the decree of 6 December 1977 and its purported notification, this decree could no longer be effectively notified; that accordingly the letter of 8 September 1995, to which he objects, must be treated as notifying M. Villegas of a different decision; given that this new decision does not meet the conditions to which the government’s power to ban the acquisition of French nationality by a foreign spouse is subject, in particular the condition as to time of notification, M. Villegas is entitled to demand its annulment;
1. The letter of the Minister of Integration dated 8 September 1995 is annulled.
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