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In a recently given opinion, an Advocate General has proposed that the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) should dismiss a case that was brought by the European Commission against the UK over the right to receive certain benefits.

Posted by on in Right of Residence

The Citizen’s Directive, Directive 2004/38, introduced a new and updated right of permanent residence, open to all EU nationals who exercised Treaty rights in a host Member State for a continuous period of five years, and to their family members.

The right of permanent residence under EU law is acquired by Union citizens and their family members after five years’ continuous legal residence in a host member state.

Advocate General Kokott has recently given her Opinion in Case C-218/14, Singh, Njume and Aly, 7 May 2015, a case concerning retained rights of residence following divorce from an EEA national.

Factual Background

Messrs Singh, Njume and Aly were all married in Ireland to Union citizens exercising their Treaty rights in Ireland and who were granted permission to reside based on their relationship with their spouses. Each marriage broke down after at least four years living together in Ireland, following which the Union citizen left Ireland and filed for divorce in their home country and decrees absolute were issued.

The family members of UK nationals are not ordinarily able to benefit from EU free movement law as transposed by the EEA Regulations – there are some exceptions, but the general rule is that only non-UK EU nationals can rely upon the EEA Regulations as a source of residence rights for their family members.

What, then, is the effect on their non-EU family members’ rights of residence of a UK citizen acquiring an additional EU nationality, or of a Union citizen acquiring British nationality? Do UK citizens’ family members become eligible for EEA Residence Cards? Are the family members of the Union citizen who naturalised as British able to continue living in accordance with the EEA Regulations with EEA Residence Cards?

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