Possible landmark UK citizenship case heard at European Court of Justice

Hearing in the European Court of Justice

A CASE which could have major repercussions for Britain and the UE is being deliberated in the European Court of Justice.

A Spanish born woman, Perla Ormazabal became a naturalised British citizen in 2009 after settling in the UK but retained dual nationality, British and Spanish.

She met Toufik Lounes, an Algerian, and married him in an Islamic and then a civil ceremony in London in 2014.

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As Mr Lounes had entered the UK on a tourist visa in 2010 which he had illegally overstayed, he applied for the right to remain in the UK based on the fact that his wife was an EU citizen which should have automatically given him the right of abode.

This argument was rejected by the Home Office who relied on a change of UK law in 2012 which supposedly precluded those with joint citizenship from using their EU rights to have a partner settle.

The couple appealed this decision to the High Court in London using an argument that the law had been introduced to stop those who took an EU passport having been born in the UK which was quite dissimilar to their case.

In the event, the presiding judge decided to refer the matter to the European Court of Justice for review with a decision to be made by the summer.

This is a particularly unusual case as all 15 judges turned up to hear arguments from Mr Lounes, the Home Office, the Spanish Government and the Polish Government.

Whilst there may not be a huge number of dual nationality citizens in the UK currently, with Brexit fast approaching, it is quite possible that some EU nationals who wish to remain in the UK  are considering applying for British citizenship but may be discouraged depending upon the result of the case.

Once Britain leaves the EU, the government has indicated that it wants to be free of the European Court of Justice, although there are some major objections from the EU to this, but if it does get its way, then any ruling by the court may be temporary at best.


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