On appeal from: [2010] EWCA Civ 1482

Considered whether the ban on the entry for settlement of foreign spouses or civil partners unless both parties were aged 21 or over, contained in the Immigration Rules, para 277, was a lawful way of deterring or preventing forced marriages. The CoA held that the application of para 277 to refuse marriage visas was contrary to ECHR, art 8.

Held, dismissing the appeals by a majority. The Secretary of State failed to establish that the interference with the respondents’ rights to a family life was justified under art 8(2). Para 277 would keep a very substantial number of bona fide young couples apart or forced to live outside the UK, vastly exceeding the number of forced marriages that would be deterred. The measure was similar to the blanket prohibition on persons subject to immigration control marrying without the Secretary of State’s written permission found to be unlawful in R (Baiai) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2008] UKHL 53.

For judgment, please download: [2011] UKSC 45
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