Austria v Government of Vienna

Date30 Marzo 1954
CourtAdministrative Court (Austria)
Austria, Administrative Court.
Federal Ministry of the Interior
Government of Vienna.

Nationality — Loss of — By Marriage to Foreign National — Marriage of Woman to Foreign National Invalid according to Lex loci celebrationis — Marriage Valid according to Personal Law of Foreign National — Whether Resulting in Loss of Wife's Nationality of Origin — The Law of Austria.

The Facts.—In 1947 a woman of Austrian nationality married a British subject in Austria in accordance with the rites of the Church of England, the ceremony being performed by a British chaplain. Austrian law provides that a marriage celebrated in Austria shall not be valid unless the ceremony has been performed before an Austrian Registrar of Marriages. It further provides that an Austrian woman shall lose her Austrian nationality upon acquiring another nationality by marriage, and that Austrian citizens shall lose their nationality by expatriation resulting, inter alia, from acquisition of a foreign nationality by naturalization. It was contended in the present case that the woman here concerned had remained an Austrian citizen, notwithstanding her marriage to a British subject, because that marriage was invalid according to Austrian law. In support of the woman's case, she claiming to have lost her Austrian nationality, it was contended that she had lost that nationality as a result of her marriage, notwithstanding that the marriage was invalid according to Austrian law, on the ground that it was valid according to English law and therefore conferred British nationality upon her, and that this was equivalent in law to an expatriation so far as her Austrian nationality was concerned.

Held: that the woman was still an Austrian citizen because her invalid marriage could not be said to be equivalent in law to an expatriation allegedly resulting from the acquisition of British nationality according to English law.

The Court said: “The Federal Ministry [which appealed against the decision declaring the woman to be an Austrian citizen] proceeds on the assumption that the concept of expatriation by reason of the acquisition of a foreign...

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