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Analysis of flawed UK tribunal approach to marriages of convenience


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Interesting piece over on the EU Law Analysis site by Aleksandra Jolkina about the flawed approach by the First-tier and Upper Tribunals to questions of marriages of convenience in EU law. The tribunals frequently blend the highly ambiguous domestic “genuine and subsisting relationship” requirement with the much more objective EU law approach, leading to absurd outcomes:

Over the past two decades, the UK authorities have grown increasingly suspicious towards in-country marriages between mobile EU citizens and third-country nationals with an unstable or irregular residence status. In a widespread climate of Euroscepticism, such arrangements are frequently denounced as ‘marriages of convenience’, entered into to help foreigners circumvent British immigration law. This contribution will consider how the concept of marriages of convenience is interpreted by UK courts, what implications this may have for families of EU citizens living in the country and how the situation will change post-Brexit.

The final paragraphs are pretty damning. As Jolkina writes, “the validation of the hostile Home Office practices by so many judges is deeply disturbing”. A lot of civil servants and immigration judges almost seem to enjoy delving into the private lives of others, quite frankly. They would no doubt wrinkle their noses at the suggestion but I rarely see judges impose boundaries.

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Colin Yeo

Colin Yeo

Immigration and asylum barrister, blogger, writer and consultant at Garden Court Chambers in London and founder of the Free Movement immigration law website.