Secretary of State for the Home Department v Robinson (Jamaica)

Hi guys,

I hope that you are all safe and well.

These are very interesting times that we are living in, but I have never been more grateful for all the small things that bring joy…and this blog is one of those things.

I realise that I’ve not posted a blog in a very long time, so I’m sharing a recent case from The Supreme Court who this month handed down their judgement in the case of Robinson. Here’s the case if you haven’t read it:

Robinson (Jamaica) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2020] UKSC 53 (16 December 2020) (

The appeal concerned the law governing deportation in Zambrano cases.

As background, the primary carer of a British citizen will have a Zambrano right to reside in the UK if both the following apply:

(i) the British citizen is also residing in the UK, and

(ii) the British citizen would be unable to reside in the UK or another EEA Member State if the primary carer left the UK for an indefinite period.

The issue in the appeal was whether non-EEA nationals benefiting from a Zambrano right to reside enjoy enhanced protection against deportation, such that they can be deported in “exceptional circumstances” only. The term “exceptional circumstances” is found in CJEU case law (CS).

The SSHD’s case was successful as all five Justices found that the phrase “exceptional circumstances” is not an additional test or hurdle that a State needs to overcome. It simply means that deportation is an exception to the general rule that a person who enjoys the fundamental rights of an EU citizen cannot be compelled to leave the territory of the EU.

The Supreme Court found that the SSHD does not have to identify “exceptional circumstances” in order to deport offenders. The judgment protects the SSHD’s ability to deport offenders and maintains the clear public interest in such deportation.

This new Robinson case will still be relevant after the transitional period ends on 31 December 2020, as in certain circumstances deportees will continue to be able to rely on Zambrano rights.

What do you think of this case? Let us know your comments by getting in touch.

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