Supreme Court to rule next week on regulations on Zambrano carers – Local Government Lawyer

The Supreme Court will next week hand down an important judgment on the lawfulness of the regulations governing Zambrano carers and benefits.

The case of R (on the application of HC) v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions and others concerns an Algerian national (HC) who entered the UK lawfully, married a British citizen and had two children who are British nationals.

By the time the marriage ended, HC had overstayed her visa. Her evidence was that she suffered domestic violence during her marriage.

HC and her children are accommodated by Oldham Council under s.17 of the Children Act 1989 and she receives subsistence and utility costs.

HC applied for and was eventually granted residency as a Zambrano carer ­– i.e. the third-country national carer of an EU citizen (her children) whose presence was required for the EU citizen to enjoy the rights of citizenship.

She brought an application for judicial review against the regulations that provide that Zambrano carers are not eligible to receive non-contributory social benefits, and a further application for judicial review against Oldham Council. However, the High Court and the Court of Appeal rejected her claim.

The issues in this case were:

1 Whether the statutory instruments which provide that Zambrano carers are not entitled to social benefits in the UK were unlawful, in particular whether they entailed discrimination under EU law or the ECHR which could not be justified.

2 Whether the resolution of these points of law required a reference to the Court of Justice of the European Union.

A five-judge panel comprising Lady Hale, Lord Clarke, Lord Wilson, Lord Sumption and Lord Carnwath heard the case on 21-22 June 2017.

Judgment will be handed down next Wednesday (15 November).

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