Supreme Court to hear important case concerning the rights of Zambrano carers

On 7 May 2019, the Supreme Court will hear two linked appeals concerning the rights of Zambrano carers. Doughty Street Chambers barristers Caoilfhionn Gallagher QC, Antonia Benfield and Zoe Harper are instructed on behalf of Liberty, an intervener in the appeals.

The case is brought by two non-EU nationals who sought a right of residence in the UK as the primary carers of British national family members. 

The case will test the limits of the Zambrano principle under EU law, which gives primary carers a derivative right of residence, where their removal from the UK would mean that their EU national family members would be compelled to leave the UK and therefore the territory of the European Union if their family member is unable to remain.

The appeals are brought by Mr Adil Shah and Mr Nilay Patel. Mr Shah is a Pakistani national who has lived in the UK with his wife and son, both British nationals.  Mr Shah’s wife works full time and he acts as the primary carer for their young son.  Mr Patel is an Indian national who is the primary carer for his elderly British parents who have complex health problems.  In the Court of Appeal, both appeals were dismissed on the basis that the EU nationals would be able to remain in the UK without their family members or in the alternative, that any decision to leave the EU would be a question of choice and not compulsion.

The Supreme Court has granted permission for both Liberty and the AIRE Centre to intervene in these important appeals. 

Liberty will seek to assist the Court by ensuring that human rights concerns and principles of international law are given adequate weight in Zambrano cases which regularly involve vulnerable EU nationals who are either children or elderly dependent adults. Liberty considers that the principles of the UN Conventions on the Rights of the Child and the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and broader human rights frameworks must be given due account to ensure that vulnerable EU nationals are not separated from their primary carers nor are they left in a position that their autonomy and rights to human dignity are breached.

Caoilfhionn Gallagher QC, Antonia Benfield and Zoe Harper are instructed by Lara ten Caten on behalf of Liberty. Liberty has been granted permission to intervene in writing.