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24th October 2016
 
Zdraveyte! (Bulgarian)

This issue we concentrate on the topic of interest to most BritCits members - the MM case.  As a refresher for some and new for others, here's the MM case overview.  A huge amount of work went into writing it, so please read.  It is free, though you'll need to register if you wish to download.
WHEN IS JUDGEMENT DAY?

Unless there's an exceptional event, it should be on a Wednesday in November, December or even 2017- not this week. That's all we know.

For the first time, I am now giving in to speculation. Be warned - I have no more insight into Supreme Court happenings than any of you, so below is just food for thought, as I am fed up with simply saying I don't know...although, I still do not know!

There were seven judges who presided over the hearing, with Lady Hale the lead judge and known for her interest on family-related cases, it's not unreasonable to assume she will hand down the judgment.  

Mark, who you may know from his blog posts on the extortionate fees HO charges, has done some stalkish-detective analysis to ascertain which Wednesdays in the next few weeks Lady Hale is scheduled to 'sit' - 2nd November, 30th November. So if it is going to be November, it's likely to be one of these dates - else potentially 14th December, the next time all seven of the judges will be in.  Mark does warn these are only his musings, so it could of course be any other day. 

A few things suggest the judgment may be sooner rather than later - July hearings have already been ruled on, while MM was in February!

However, more things suggest it could be later still:

- as of last week, lawyers hadn't yet received the draft judgment, which should be with them a little in advance of the handing down, to correct spelling of names etc.
- Article 50 case is scheduled for a hearing at the SC in November/December, thus judges likely to be busy with this urgent case over the next few weeks, given Theresa May's trigger-happy finger hovering over the Brexit button.
- seven judges means there's a lot of discussion and debate.  Each also has to decide on their own ruling, relating it to that of the others.

FEATURED FAMILY

Fiona and Nate - BritCit Fiona is facing an uphill battle to keep her family united. Nate, her American husband & father to their son, has an offer of a job paying over £18,600, but this has been ignored by the Home Office.

WHAT DO WE WANT JUDGMENT TO BE?

Income requirement
- Abolish. Or at least, link it to no higher than minimum wage, but allow for i) third party support ii) spouse's earnings capacity iii) personal financial circumstances - earning over £18,600 but having a mortgage and credit card debt cannot necessarily be better than someone earning £10,000 with mortgage-free housing and no debt!

Spouses have no recourse to public funds, and nothing in this case is about changing that.  But as before, where sponsors can demonstrate ability to support their foreign spouse, that should be more than enough.

Children
- Best interest of children to prevail, especially where the children are British or in the UK, whatever the sponsor's financial circumstances.  No ifs, no buts.

Brits overseas
- More flexibility for Brits who having studied, worked or travelled overseas, now want to return home.
These are people who have shown ambition and initiative.  We should be welcoming their return, not putting up barriers to entry by preventing their spouse from being able to come here.

WHAT WILL THE JUDGMENT BE?

Even as I type this I can hear Lady Hale bellowing these were British children with a fundamental right to live in UK (amazing moment - were it in a movie, there would have been clapping!). 

Yes I'm hopeful, but I was completely and totally wrong with Court of Appeal. So hey ho, maybe I'm just a glass half full kinda person.

ANY RECENT RELEVANT JUDGMENTS?

A recent SC judgment in the Johnson case may be an insight into what their leanings are.  Colin Yeo has done a write-up, quoting Lady Hale:

"The child is not responsible for the marital status of his parents or the date of his birth, yet it is he who suffers the consequences."
 

Maybe, just maybe, the judges will say the same in relation to the parents income levels.
    

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