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Challenging the UK rules on the rights of EU8 workers

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Following the enlargement of the European Union in 2004, the UK implemented a relatively open labour market policy that allowed migrants from the eight central and eastern European accession states to take up work in the UK providing that they complied with registration requirements. At the same time, however, the UK sought to prevent EU8 migrants who found themselves without work from accessing benefits in its territory. This article analyses the House of Lords decision in Zalewska v Department for Social Development [2008] UKHL 67 in which the UK rules were challenged. Although the majority of the House of Lords upheld the decision that the UK's rules of registration are compatible with the Accession treaties and broader provisions of Community law on free movement and citizenship, it is submitted here that the opinions of the minority represent a more accurate application of the relevant Community law principles, notably proportionality, as interpreted by the European Court of Justice. Overall, the article emphasises how individuals' access to rights enshrined in provisions of Community law depends largely upon the goodwill of the national courts.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: The Liverpool Law School, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, UK

Publication date: 2009-03-01

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