Is the child’s connection to Norway significant to the consideration of whether internal relocation is unreasonable? Is the court able to review this matter in full? These are some of the issues to be considered by the Supreme Court.

The case will be considered this week, from 9 to 12 November, in a plenary sitting comprising 19 judges, a method only used in a small number of important cases of principle.

Family from Afghanistan

The case concerns an Afghan family of four, two children aged six and nine and their parents, who received a final rejection of their application for protection from UNE in 2013. The family was from a province in Afghanistan that was considered unsafe. The Immigration Appeals Board (UNE) based the rejection on, among other things, the fact that the family could reside in Kabul as internally displaced persons. The decision was declared invalid by Oslo District Court and Borgarting Court of Appeal, mainly due to inadequate grounds relating to the consideration of the child’s best interests.

The child’s best interests

The Supreme Court shall consider several matters of principle. One of the main issues is the consideration of the child’s best interests in internal relocation cases. Should the authorities compare the child’s situation in Norway and the country of origin when considering whether internal relocation is unreasonable? The child’s situation and connection to Norway shall be considered, but under which legal provisions? This is currently included in the consideration of whether a residence permit may be granted on humanitarian grounds. The opposing party, however, believes that this should be included in the consideration of the need for protection. They believe, among other things, that this is supported by the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

How the Supreme Court considers this main issue may be of great significance to how the Norwegian immigration authorities are to consider cases in future in which internal relocation of families with children is a key issue.

Full judicial review?

Another main issue is whether the courts can fully review the immigration authorities' assessments of whether internal relocation is unreasonable. Can the court review all aspects of this assessment or does the concept of abuse of authority set limits as to how far the court can go?

UNE will publish a statement after a judgment has been pronounced in the case.