12 Colum. J. Eur. L. 305 (2005 – 2006)
Kristien Vanvoorden, researcher at the Institute for European law, K.U. Leuven.
As most other judgments regarding Union citizenship, the judgment in Zhu and Chen v. Secretary of State for the Home Department [Zhu and Chen] was rendered by the Court of Justice of the European Communities [ECJ] sitting as a full Court. This fact proves the exceptional importance of these cases. In the case at hand, the ECJ was seized of a preliminary reference petition submitted by the British Immigration Appellate Authority that was confronted with an application by a Chinese woman seeking to exercise an alleged right of residence in the United Kingdom for herself and her Irish baby daughter. The ECJ was asked to interpret the right to free movement and residence, one of the fundamental rights of Community law, provided for in Article 18 of the Treaty Establishing the European Community [EC Treaty], in Council Directive 73/148 on the abolition of restrictions on movement and residence within the Community for nationals of Member States with regard to establishment and the provision of services [Directive 73/148], and in Council Directive 90/364 on the right of residence [Directive 90/364]. Before dealing with these provisions, the ECJ first had to respond to two preliminary objections made by the United Kingdom and Irish Governments. First, the Governments submitted that the Zhu and Chen case dealt with a wholly internal situation, lacking any link with Community law and was therefore inadmissible. Secondly, it was argued that a minor, under Community law, could not be vested with rights of free movement and residence. Finally, the ECJ was confronted with arguments on abuse of Community law.