Information Note on the Court’s case-law No. 184
Khan v. Germany - 38030/12
Judgment 23.4.2015 [Section V] See: Chamber Judgment  ECHR 411
Proposed removal of a mentally ill person who had lived and worked in the host country for more than twenty years: expulsion would not constitute a violation
Facts - The applicant moved from Pakistan to Germany in 1991 with her husband. Three years later her son was born. She and her husband divorced. The applicant worked as a cleaner in different companies and obtained a permanent residence permit in Germany in 2001. In 2005 she committed manslaughter in a state of acute psychosis. She was diagnosed with schizophrenia and confined to a psychiatric hospital. In 2009 her expulsion was ordered as she was found to pose a danger to public safety. Her mental health subsequently improved and she was granted days of leave and allowed to work full-time in the hospital laundry. The applicant lodged appeals on the grounds that her expulsion would interfere with her right to respect for her family life with her son and that her specific circumstances had not sufficiently been taken into account. The domestic courts found that, in addition to a risk of reoffending, the applicant was not integrated into German society since she spoke no German and basic medical care for psychiatric patients was available in big cities in Pakistan. Following a recommendation in a medical report, she was released on probation. She continued to work, showed balanced behaviour and was in regular contact with her son.
Law - Article 8: Previous Court judgments had shown that the strength or weakness of social ties were best dealt with by assessing the proportionality of the applicant’s expulsion under Article 8 § 2. The expulsion order was based on Section 55 of the “Act on the Residence, Economic Activity and Integration of Foreigners in the Federal Territory” which permitted expulsion in the event of danger to public safety and law and order. The measure pursued the legitimate aim of public safety.
As to whether expulsion was in the specific circumstances of the case necessary in a democratic society, the Court noted that the offence, though serious, had been committed in a state of mental incapacity, the applicant had lived for more than 20 years in Germany and, by the time the lawfulness of the expulsion order was established domestically, her condition had improved and there was no indication that she had reoffended at any point. However, the applicant’s son was now an adult and mere bonds of affection between adult family members did not enjoy specific family life protection. Although the applicant had been integrated into the German labour market, she had not produced any other evidence of participation in social life. She still had family members in Pakistan and was familiar with the language and culture. Although, since her relatives in Pakistan refused to help, problems might arise regarding her medical care, it was possible that these could be overcome with her pension from Germany. Even taking into consideration a rather difficult environment for the applicant in Pakistan, the possible problems did not carry enough weight to represent an overwhelming obstacle for her return there.
Weighing the impact on the applicant’s private life against the danger posed to public safety, the Court did not find that the German authorities had overstepped their margin of appreciation.
Conclusion: expulsion would not constitute a violation (six votes to one).
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This summary by the Registry does not bind the Court.
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