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Upper Tribunal approach to proxy marriages conceded to be wrong by Home Office

Upper Tribunal approach to proxy marriages conceded to be wrong by Home Office

In an interesting development on the validity of proxy marriages, the Home Office has taken the view in a Court of Appeal case that the Upper Tribunal’s approach in Kareem [2014] UKUT 24 is wrong in law. The Court of Appeal has declined to simply overrule Kareem on this basis, though, and is asking the Attorney General to appoint an advocate to the court.

Those following this blog for some time will be aware that I have previously expressed some scepticism about the correctness of Kareem and the cases which follow it. The general rule of private international law is that a marriage which was lawful in the country in which it occurred will be recognised in other countries. Kareem goes behind this rule in holding that a marriage contracted in country A will only be recognised in the UK if it is also recognised in intermediary country B.

If Kareem does prove to be wrong there will be a lot of people denied their free movement rights and put to considerable litigation expense by the approach of the Upper Tribunal.

Source: Awuku v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2016] EWCA Civ 1303 (06 December 2016)

Colin Yeo
Immigration and asylum barrister, blogger, writer and consultant at Garden Court Chambers in London and founder and editor of the Free Movement immigration law website.

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