30 September 2016
It isn’t often that the lawyers representing an appellant and the lawyers representing the Home Office find themselves on the same side, but this was one of those times.
The lawyers on both sides argued that “extended family members” – the unmarried partners and relatives of EEA nationals – should have a right of appeal if their applications were refused. The Tribunal, however, disagreed.
The reason for the Tribunal’s decision is the wording of the EEA Regulations, which say that an “EEA decision” is one that concerns an entitlement to enter the UK, or to be issued with documentation confirming a right to live in the UK under EEA law. As extended family members don’t have an entitlement under EEA law, but are granted at the discretion of the Home Office, the Tribunal has held that there is no right of appeal if the application is refused.
The Home Office could have chosen to amend the wording of the EEA Regulations, but instead their policy guidance has been updated to reflect the removal of the right of appeal. This means that all appeals currently in the Tribunal will be rejected as invalid, even though they were lodged when there was a right of appeal.