• The case of Case C-60/00 Mary Carpenter [2002] ECR I-6279 concerned fundamental rights, specifically the right to family life and the freedom of movement. Where a measure obstructs and interferes with a right in a way that is incompatible with fundamental rights, it shall be held as disproportionate and thus incompatible. This includes the deportation of a spouse which interferes with one’s freedom of movement to provide services (Article 56 TFEU), as in this case.

Facts of Case C-60/00 Mary Carpenter [2002] ECR I-6279

  • Mr Carpenter, a UK national, ran a business selling advertising space in medical and science journals, as well as offering administrative and publishing services to the journal editors
  • He would travel to other Member States for the purposes of his business, to provide services
  • Mrs Carpenter, a Philippine national, had: overstayed her leave, failed to apply for an extension, and then married Mr Carpenter
  • She then applied for leave to remain which was refused by the Secretary of State with a deportation order made
  • Appealing this, Mrs Carpenter maintained she had a right to remain under Community law to look after the children whilst Mr Carpenter travelled for business purposes
  • The immigration adjudicator was satisfied the marriage was genuine, with Mrs Carpenter playing an important part in the upbringing on her stepchildren whilst her husband travelled to provide and receive services
  • Mrs Carpenter challenged the Home Secretary’s refusal and order for deportation on the ground that the interference was disproportionate under EU law, specifically hindering Mr Carpenter’s ability to travel to provide services afforded by Article 56 TFEU (/Article 49 EC)

Issues in Case C-60/00 Mary Carpenter [2002] ECR I-6279

  • Did the refusal to grant leave to remain and order to deport Mrs Carpenter constitute as a hinderance to her husband’s freedom of movement to provide services?
  • Did the fundamental right to respect family life preclude national law?

Held by the European Court of Justice

Mary Carpenter was granted leave to remain; Article 56 precluded the refusal and deportation order.

Findings of the Court

Applying the rights to the case:

  • In respect of Mr Carpenter’s work, he is “therefore availing himself of the right freely to provide services guaranteed by Article 49 EC. Moreover, as the Court has frequently held, that right may be relied on by a provider as against the State in which he is established if the services are provided for persons established in another Member State” [30]
  • In respect of the stepchildren, “It is clear that the separation of Mr and Mrs Carpenter would be detrimental to their family life and, therefore, to the conditions under which Mr Carpenter exercises a fundamental freedom.” [39]

Principle of proportionality

  • “A decision to deport Mrs Carpenter, taken in circumstances such as those in the main proceedings, does not strike a fair balance between the competing interests, that is, on the one hand, the right of Mr Carpenter to respect for his family life, and, on the other hand, the maintenance of public order and public safety.” [43]
  • “her conduct, since her arrival in the United Kingdom in September 1994, has not been the subject of any other complaint that could give cause to fear that she might in the future constitute a danger to public order or public safety. … it is clear that Mr and Mrs Carpenter’s marriage … is genuine and that Mrs Carpenter continues to lead a true family life there, in particular by looking after her husband’s children from a previous marriage.” [44]
  • Therefore, the Court decided it would not be a proportionate measure to the objective pursued to deport Mrs Carpenter [45]