Marriage Too Young

In 2009, “H”, a 22-year old South African man, married a British national, just turned 18 with still a year to go at school. His subsequent immigration application succeeded properly on matters of finance, accommodation and genuine relationship, but failed – as we had to advise it would – because the sponsor was under 21.

Falling foul of Rule 277 the only remedy was Judicial Review to argue that the rule itself was unlawful, in other words to follow the case of Aguilar 2009 EWHC 3189. The facts were strongly similar.

We issued Judicial Review proceedings and the case rested behind Aguilar which was funded by a charitable institution. In that case the couple failed in the High Court but they went to the Court of Appeal, which overturned the High Court decision and subsequently the Supreme Court confirmed that. The Home Office has now changed back the marriage rules so that immigration applications based on the marriage of 18-year olds can be made.