Right to remain: the Chavez-Vilchez case


The CJEU recently examined whether a derived right to reside in the EU existed for parents, write Cormac Little and Marco Hickey.


The 10 May 2017 judgment of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) in Case C-133/15 [Chavez-Vilchez & Others v Raad van bestur van de Sociale verzekeringsbank & Others] addressed an important question. Can a third-country national, as the parent of a minor who is an EU citizen, rely on a derived right to reside and travel within the EU?

Case facts

The case was taken by eight mothers of Dutch children who had applied for financial support under the domestic social welfare system. A third-country national who is not lawfully resident in the Netherlands cannot claim such benefits under Dutch law, so these applications were refused.

After having their cases rejected at first instance, the applicants appealed to the Higher Administrative Court of the Netherlands, which stayed proceedings and referred various questions to the CJEU for a preliminary ruling.

Past cases

In its decision, the CJEU re-visited C-34/09 [Gerardo Ruiz Zambrano v Office national de l’emploi (2011)], where it had held that a parent of a child holding EU citizenship derived a right of residence to live and work in the relevant member state in order to protect that child’s rights to remain in the EU.

Cormac Little and Marco Hickey are partners at William Fry and LK Shields respectively. In a joint feature, they take a detailed look at the Chavez-Vilchez case, and the CJEU’s decision.

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