On 25 July 2008, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) gave judgment in the case of Metock & Ors v Ireland (Case C-127/08). This case concerns the right of a British citizen, working in Ireland, not to be separated from her husband (a national of Cameroon, and refused asylum seeker) whom she married in Ireland. (The case also concerns the rights of four other families in Ireland where one of the family members is an EEA national exercising Treaty rights in Ireland who wishes to be joined by, or not be separated from, his or her non-EEA national partner).
The ECJ judgment shows that the spouse of an EEA national exercising Treaty rights (i.e. the EEA national is in an EEA country other than his or her own country):
- may join or stay with that EEA national unless his or her exclusion is permitted under EU law
- cannot be excluded from that country under that country’s immigration laws if those laws are more restrictive than EU law
It does not matter when or where the marriage took place. It does not matter how the person entered the EEA or entered the particular country.