The automatic detention of foreigners is illegal. Detained foreigners may be entitled to compensation

The foreigners whose freedom has been automatically restricted have the right to claim compensation for damages for illegal detention.

In today’s ruling, the Constitutional Court declared Article 5 of the Law on the Legal Status of Foreigners (the Law) as of 13 July 2021 to be contrary to Article 20 of the Constitution in so far as it provided that, in the event of a mass influx of foreigners in the event of a declared state of emergency or state of war, all asylum seekers had to be accommodated in the places indicated, without the right to free movement, where such accommodation could last up to six months in accordance with paragraph 8 of that Article, and without the competent authority having taken a decision which could be appealed against before a court.  Article 140-8(3) of the Law, in force as amended on 20 April 2023, has also been found to be contrary to the same article of the Constitution, insofar as it requires all asylum seekers to be accommodated in the specified places, without being granted the right to freedom of movement, for a duration up to 6 months according to Article 140-8(5) of the Law.

In this ruling, the Constitutional Court also took into account the provisions of EU law and international law on measures restricting the liberty of asylum seekers, as well as the jurisprudence of the Court of Justice of the European Union and the European Court of Human Rights. The Constitutional Court pointed out that, according to the CJEU (C‑72/22 PPU), the Law provides for an alternative measure to detention in question is to be regarded as detention, and that it is a coercive measure which should only be applied when no other less restrictive means of personal liberty are available.

Pursuant to Article 6.250 of the Civil Code of the Republic of Lithuania, non-pecuniary damage is defined as a person’s physical pain, mental anguish, inconvenience, emotional depression, humiliation, impairment of communication opportunities, and other damage, as assessed by the court in monetary terms. Detention of a person, like any other restriction of his or her liberty, is detrimental to the interests of that person.  Today’s decision of the Constitutional Court affirms the illegality of automatic detention and serves as a basis to claim just satisfaction.




Konstitucijos pr. 7, Vilnius LT-09308