Expat Brexit Rights Case Rejected By Dutch Court

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A Dutch court has thrown out a legal challenge by British expats to clarify their rights in Europe after Brexit.

The expats argued that as they had lived in The Netherlands for a long time, they had enshrined rights that should be respected after Brexit.

But the court in Amsterdam decided their argument was ‘too vague’ and should not go to the European Courts of Justice.

The expats had already lost one case in April, when lawyers for the Dutch government claimed the case was ‘inadmissible’ and ‘groundless’.

The decision was appealed, only to be rejected again.

Disappointment at decision

Stephen Huyton, one of the five expats bringing the case, was disappointed at the decision. The expats were supported by expat groups the Commercial Anglo Dutch Society and Brexpats – Hear Our Voice.

“This case has always been about seeking clarification. Not only for the 46,000 Brits living in the Netherlands, but also for the 1.2 million Brits living in other EU countries. Given today’s judgment much uncertainty remains,” he said.

Their lawyer, Christiaan Alberdingk Thijm, explained the verdict came with some positives.

“It is now confirmed in two instances that only the ECJ of can determine what Brexit means for my clients. I urge all court in the EU to bring these issues to the ECJ as soon as possible,” he said. “Brits in the EU are entitled to legal certainty about their citizenship rights upon which they have to build their lives.”

Citizenship conditions

He was referring to a judge’s statement that the ECJ should rule if Britons would automatically lose their European citizenship and, if so, under what conditions.

Before the case, Thijm explained that Brexit did not mean expats should lose their right to freedom of movement and to remain in the EU.

“The negotiators in Brussels all assume that the consequence of Brexit will be that British citizens living in an EU member state will lose their European citizenship. However, national and European citizenship are not necessarily linked. The ECJ has ruled before that the rights that are awarded to European citizens are autonomous,” he said.

The expats have not indicated if their legal action will continue.

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