Irish High Court finds Minister incorrect in assessing a ‘household’ for the purposes of free movement of persons in the EU

The Irish High Court has held that the Minister for Justice was incorrect in his assessment of ‘household’ dependent for the purposes of the EC (Free Movement of Persons) Regulations 2015.

The case was bought by two brothers originally from Bangladesh. Mr. Shishu was a naturalised UK citizen who exercised his EU free movement rights by coming to live and work in Ireland. His brother, Mr. Miah, lived as a dependent of his brother in the UK, however was refused residency on the basis that he was not a dependent within the meaning of 2015 Regulations. The Minister was dissatisfied with the evidence provided as to how many people lived that their address in the UK, the relationship of these people to Mr. Miah and how long both brothers had lived at the UK address.

In the High Court, Mr. Justice Barrett said the Minister erred in how he applied various sections of the 2015 Regulations, particularly around documentation of dependency. The Minister’s decision referenced insufficient evidence that Mr Miah was a member of his brother’s ‘household’, despite “strikingly comprehensive” documentation from the NHS and bank statements.

As not defined within the Regulations, Judge Barrett gave the term ‘household’ its ordinary meaning under the Citizens Rights Directive – which is wider than the common English definition of the word. The Minister had confined his understanding of the word to a group that regularly reside together in the same accommodation sharing meals, when in fact there may be a single dwelling with multiple households who do not share meals or living spaces.

The Court also criticised the “closeted manner” in which the Minister “elected to discharge his obligations to the detriment of applicants who, as a consequence of his approach, are unfailingly operating to some extent ‘in the blind’ when making an application”. The Court found it unreasonable and unfair that applicants were given no sense of how their applications would be assessed.

Judge Barrett therefore quashed the decision of the Minister and returned it to him for further consideration.

Click here for the decision in full.



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