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Supreme Court clarifies the “right to reside” of EU citizens


On the 27th January 2016 the Supreme Court handed down judgment in the joined cases of Mirga v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions and Samin v Westminster City Council [2016] UKSC 1.

The Supreme Court’s judgment considers the (now politically sensitive) question of the circumstances in which EU migrants who are not economically active are entitled to social security benefits in the UK.  The Supreme Court upheld the decisions of the Court of Appeal that Roksana Mirga and Wadi Samin were not entitled to income support and housing assistance respectively, on the basis that they were neither economically active nor “self-sufficient” as required by the 2004 Citizenship Directive.   

This has been a fast-moving area of law and the Supreme Court considered a number of recent CJEU decisions, including Dano and Alimanovic  in which the CJEU appears to be adopting a more permissive approach to national legislation excluding non-economically active EU citizens from entitlement to benefits.  Here too, the Supreme Court held both that the domestic rules in question were compatible with the TFEU and that there had been proper consideration of the proportionality of the State’s response in the individual cases.

Here are the links to the UKSC’s judgment and press summary.


Marie Demetriou QC and Jennifer MacLeod appeared pro bono for the AIRE Centre, which intervened in the appeals, instructed by Ashurst LLP.