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The Supreme Court unanimously dismissed the appeal made by the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions against Ms Tamara Gubeladze in a case with wide-ranging consequences for nationals of the ‘A8’ Accession States, resident in the UK. 

The central issue in this appeal was whether the respondent a Latvian national living in the UK, is entitled to receive state pension credit. The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions rejected her claim on the ground that the requirement of three years’ continuous residence required three years’ continuous 'legal' residence which meant a right of residence under the Citizens Directive. The claimant alleged that the UK’s decision to extend the Worker Registration Scheme (WRS) (which applied to individuals coming to work in the UK from eight of the Accession States which joined the EU in 2004) by two years was unlawful.

The Supreme Court concluded that the Upper Tribunal and Court of Appeal had been correct to find that the principle of proportionality applied to decisions to derogate from the free movement rights of A8 nationals and that the UK’s extension of the WRS was disproportionate. Lords Sales and Lloyd Jones, on behalf of the Court, also held that on a textual interpretation of the relevant provisions, claimants only required actual and not ‘legal’ in order to rely upon the exceptional bases for a permanent right of residence pursuant to Article 17(1)(a) of the Citizens’ Directive.

Tom de la Mare QC and Ravi Mehta acted for the intervener, the AIRE Centre.

The full judgment is available here.