On appeal from: [2012] EWCA Civ 1952; [2012] EWCA Civ 1468

The Supreme Court unanimously dismissed both of these appeals regarding whether the appellant EU citizens enjoy a right of residence and are therefore able to claim benefits in the UK.

In Ms Mirga’s case the Court of Appeal had ruled that she did not have a right to residence in the UK under the Accession (Immigration and Worker Registration) Regulations 2004 (A8 Regulations) and therefore was excluded from income support by the Income Support Regulations. Ms Mirga challenged this decision.

In Mr Samin’s case the Court of Appeal upheld the Central London County Court ruling affirming Westminster City Council’s decision stating that he was “a person from abroad who is not eligible for housing assistance” within the meaning of the Housing Act, s 185(1), because he did not have the right of residence in the UK under the Immigration (European Economic Area) Regulations 2006. Mr Samin challenged this decision.

In giving the leading judgment Lord Neuberger first addressed the appellant’s claim that the refusal to allow them to claim benefits infringed their rights under the TFEU. In regards with Ms Mirga, Neuberger stated that the right under art 21.1 is qualified by the words “subject to limitations and conditions laid down in the Treaties and by the measures adopted to give them effect”. This includes those measure as referenced in the A8 Regulations. He explained that a significant aim of these measures was to ensure that EU nationals from one member state should not be able to exercise their rights of residence in another member state so as to become an unreasonable burden on the social assistance system. As Ms Mirga had not done 12 months’ work in the UK she could not claim to be a worker.

In regards to Mr Samin, Neuberger stated that his art 18 right was also limited to the scope of the Treaties and therefore his argument also failed for the same reasons as Ms Mirga’s.

Moving on to the proportionality claim, Neuberger explained that the judgments of the CJEU relied upon by the appellants did not support their argument. He finally concluded that even if there was a category of exceptional cases where proportionality would come into play, both appellant’s cases would not fall into it.


For judgment, please download: [2016] UKSC 1
For Court’s press summary, please download: Court’s Press Summary
For a non-PDF version of the judgment, please visit: BAILII

To watching the hearing please visit: Supreme Court website