Committee of experts on nationality (CJ-NA)

The Committee of Experts on Nationality (CJ-NA), set up under the authority of CDCJ, used to be the Council of Europe intergovernmental committee specialising in matters relating to nationality and responsible for the intergovernmental co-operation in the field of nationality.

The main aims of the CJ-NA were:

  • To follow developments on nationality issues, in particular in member states of the Council of Europe.
  • To search for solutions aiming at the harmonisation of rules and practices in Europe on matters concerning acquisition and loss of nationality.
  • To hold regular exchanges of view to achieve a common standing between member States, and to make proposals for the solution of practical and legal problems faced by States within its field of competence, namely by drafting legal instruments (conventions and recommendations) for adoption by the Committee of Ministers.

The CJ-NA was the committee which drafted, among a number of other legal instruments, the well-known European Convention on Nationality which may be considered as a real European code on nationality as it consolidates in a single text the important issues relating to nationality, or even Recommendation CM/Rec(2009)13 on the nationality of children.

The CJ-NA was assisted in its work by a Working Party and by experts who provided the necessary appropriate reports or studies, such as (the most recent):

  • Study for the feasibility of a legal instrument in the field of nationality law and families (including the promotion of acquisition citizenship (2012).
  • Feasibility study on promoting acquisition of citizenship as a means to reduce statelessness (2006).
  • Feasibility study on nationality issues and denial of residence in the context of the fight against terrorism(2006).
  • Feasibility study on the nationality of the child (2006).

In 2008 a Group of Specialists on Nationality (CJ-S-NAT) replaced CJ-NA. It was set up as an Ad hoc Advisory Group, under the authority of the CDCJ, primarily to promote and contribute to the reinforcement of the existing instruments of the Council of Europe in the field of nationality and to make proposals to the CDCJ. After three meetings in 2008 (29-30 April, 6-8 October and 8-11 December), the CJ-S-NAT produced a Final report for the attention of CDCJ containing proposals for steps to raise awareness and improve the implementation of Council of Europe instruments in the field of nationality.

European Bulletin on Nationality

The CJ-NA used to prepare a European Bulletin on Nationality containing practical information on the nationality laws of almost all European States, with the aim to enable persons concerned with questions of nationality to have a better understanding of the national laws in this field. The last update of the Bulletin, as the data provided by member states (constitutions, acts, codes, etc.), was in 2004.

European Conferences on Nationality

Four European Conferences on Nationality were organised by the Council of Europe:

  • 4th Conference, on “Concepts of Nationality in a Globalised World” (Strasbourg, 17 December 2010).
  • 3rd Conference, on “Nationality and the Child” (Strasbourg, 11-12 October 2004).
  • 2nd Conference, on "Challenges to national and international law on nationality at the beginning of the new millennium" (Strasbourg, 8-9 October 2001).
  • 1st Conference, on “Trends and Developments in National and International Law on Nationality” (Strasbourg, 18-19 October 1999).

Bilateral legal co-operation

Bilateral legal co-operation activities with member and non-member States included:

  • Assist in the preparation of legislation and administrative procedures tailored to the country’s specific needs and consistent with the international rules governing nationality.
  • Ensure that laws and regulations in the field of nationality are implemented as intended by the legislators and in accordance with fundamental principles and standards of the Council of Europe.
  • Provide advice in the process of preparing accession to the European Convention on Nationality.

These co-operation activities involved expert opinions on existing or new draft legislation in the field of nationality, expert meetings, seminars and workshops on nationality legislation and on implementation of legislation, study visits for officials working in the field of nationality to nationality authorities of other European States, advice on the setting up of administrative procedures and computerisation of such procedures as well as staff training in the field of nationality.