Case Report G0130: ZK v Minister for Justice

Year: 2022

Types of Social Welfare: EU Residency, Procedural Safeguards

Deciding Body: High Court

Title of Payment: N/A

Date of Final Decision: 16 May 2022

Keywords: Oral Hearing; Procedural Safeguards; Fairness; Conflict in Factual Evidence; Credibility; Marriage of Convenience; EU Residency

Organisation who represented the Claimant: n/a

Casebase no: G0130

Case Summary:

In Z.K. v The Minister for Justice & Equality and Ireland and The Attorney General [2022] IEHC 278, Z.K. successfully challenged the decision of the Minister for Justice and Equality (the “Minister”) to revoke the grant to him of EU residency.

Z.K. was a Georgian national who married a Lithuanian national (Z.H.) who had been residing in Dublin since 2006.

The couple said they met on a dating app around May 2016 while Z.K. was still in Georgia. In September 2016, Z.K. travelled to Ireland and, in February 2017, applied for international protection. He admitted the purpose of the application was to obtain a temporary permission to apply to marry. They married in March 2017. They provided evidence to vouch for the bona fides of the marriage.

In April 2017, Z.K. applied to the Minister for a residence card as the spouse of an EU national exercising her EU Treaty Rights in the State. The application was granted in December 2017.

The relationship became strained and, though the couple’s evidence was that they attempted to resolve their difficulties, they ceased living together around October 2018, albeit that there were references to this happening in October 2017 (which they indicated were mistaken). When, in 2019, Z.H. sought a new passport, they indicated that they had ceased living together.

In April 2019, the Minister wrote to set out concerns around the bona fides of the marriage and informed Z.K. of an intention to revoke his permission to reside in the State (the “Decision Letter”). Z.K.’s residence card was revoked in August 2019. Among the reasons given was that Z.K.’s marriage was a marriage of convenience contracted for the purpose of obtaining a derived right of free movement and residence under EU law. In reaching the decision, the Minister considered relevant that some of Z.K.’s wife’s post had continued to be sent to her mother’s residence (where she had previously resided). Further, some of her phone bills addressed to her marital residence were overlooked.

In September 2019, Z.K.’s solicitor requested a review of the decision on Form EU 4 and made representations on behalf of Z.K., also including a transcript of messages and third-party testimonials to vouch for the bona fides of the relationship. In January 2021 the Department prepared a recommendation submission which concluded that the marriage was never genuine.

On 1 February 2021, a letter (the “Review Letter”) upheld the decision to revoke Z.K.’s residence, stating that the decision had been taken because “the Minister was of the opinion that the documentation that you had provided in support of your application was false and misleading as to a material fact, particularly with respect to the EU citizen’s residence in the State”. On 2 February 2021, the Minister sent a letter seeking updated information from the applicants (a “Current Activity Letter”). In March 2021, Z.K. was informed the review decision remained unchanged.