UK Court of Appeal Judgement, AAO and The Entry Clearance Officer, 22nd July 2011
An interesting judgement was delivered by the Court of Appeal (England and Wales) last week in the case of AAO and The Entry Clearance Officer. The Court assessed the relationship of adult British citizen and their financially dependant non EU parent under Article 8 of the European Convention of Human Rights. We are very interested in the Court’s findings as we are working on number of similarly factual cases for our clients.
The case involved an application by 69 year old Somalia national who had been living in Kenya to enter the UK to join her British national daughter. The Applicant was financially dependant on her daughter, who sent her monthly payments of approximately $100. She was also in poor health, and dependant on neighbours for daily care. The British national daughter had seven children and was herself dependant on State welfare. The Clearance Officer refused her application for indefinite leave to join her daughter as a relative and financial dependant. The Asylum and Immigration Tribunal upheld this decision, and the Applicant appealed on the basis that this was a breach of her Article 8 rights. The argument was made on her behalf that financial dependency could constitute family life within the meaning of Article 8.
The Court of Appeal (England and Wales) found that family life within the meaning of Article 8 would not normally exist between parents and adult children in the absence of further elements of dependency which go beyond normal emotional ties. Lord Justice Rix states as follows;
“although the money sent to her mother by the daughter raises an element of dependency, it is not one which in my judgment takes the matter very far. The provision of such money can be as much an insulation against family life as evidence of it. In any event, there is nothing to prevent the daughter continuing with the provision of money to her mother in Kenya: therefore to this extent there is no interference with family life”
We believe that financial dependency alone may not meet the Article 8 threshold, but it is a very relevant and indicative factor in the assessment of family life. The financial factor is often coupled with many other factors which would bring a case within this threshold, for example emotional dependency, frequency of contact evidencing a close relationship, obstacles prevent family life to be maintained outside the State. We have a similar case coming up for hearing before the High Court next October, which we believe includes all these factors, and which we believe falls within the ambit of Article 8 and Article 41 of the Irish Constitution. We will keep you updates as to the outcome of this case.