20 August

There is a legal principle established in European law that national immigration authorities (eg the UK Home Office) must issue European immigration documents (eg EEA Residence Cards) within six months of application.

But many jaded immigration advisers will know that the Home Office have not always met this legal requirement.

It seemed right to advise that if someone had applied to the Home Office for an EEA Residence Card and it had still not come after six months then the Home Office could be sued in the British courts under European law. Practitioners at Lexmark Legal Associates have on occasion threatened the Home Office with legal action of this kind and the Home Office has suddenly issued the visa presumably, one imagines, to avoid such possible legal action.

Earlier this year such a case reached the courts; it was a case in the High Court called “Hana Zewdu”. The Home Office was sued on the basis of their delay in issuing documentation under European law and the financial loss consequently suffered by the claimant, and the Home Office paid compensation of £40,000. So the law really does have teeth.

People who are experiencing problems with the issue of European immigration documents might want to bear this case in mind.

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