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PRESS RELEASE: Jessy Saint Prix v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

18 November 2013

AIRE intervention at the Court of Justice of the European Union

On 14 November 2013 a panel of judges at the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) heard oral submissions in the case of Jessy Saint Prix [Case C-507/12], which concerns the position of EU citizens who temporarily stop working in the late stages of pregnancy, in order to have their baby. In particular, the issue for the Appellant in this case was whether she remained a ‘worker’ under EU law during that period and whether she should have been entitled to receive Income Support under the same general criteria that the UK authorities apply to pregnant British citizens in the same circumstances.

The AIRE Centre intervened in the case, highlighting the discriminatory effects of denying pregnant EU citizens this basic level of support, particularly because male workers will never be placed in the same position as their female co-workers.  

We are delighted to have been expertly represented by Jemima Stratford QC (of Brick Court Chambers), both in the UK Supreme Court and following the referral of the case to the CJEU. At the oral hearing in Luxembourg AIRE's Matthew Moriarty acted as junior counsel.

The CJEU also heard submissions on behalf of the Appellant, the EFTA Surveillance Authority, the UK government and the EU Commission. Although the case engages a range of interrelated legal and factual issues, all of the parties, with the exception of the UK government, agree that it is of fundamental importance that women in the position of the Appellant continue to be recognised as workers and do not lose their basic rights in that capacity.

The AIRE Centre remains very grateful to the Strategic Legal Fund for Vulnerable Young Migrants for funding the travel to the hearing in Luxembourg and related costs.  The AIRE Centre would not have been able to attend with Counsel without this funding. We would also like to reiterate our sincere thanks to the team at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer (led by Deba Das) for their central role in litigating the AIRE Centre’s intervention.

Advocate General Wahl is due to deliver his opinion on the case on 12 December 2013.

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