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James Preston vs. the UK Government:
The case before the High Court in London

James Preston has lived and worked in Madrid, Spain, since 1995 when he was sent there by his British employer. He is a British citizen and only a British citizen,married to a British wife. Both he and his wife work for British firms.

He reads British newspapers, his children attend a British school and his estate taxes will be owed to the British government when he dies. Yet in 2009 he was suddenly denied the right to vote in parliamentary elections in his home country,on the grounds that he had lived outside the UK for 15 years.

On 10 March 2010 James Preston applied for judicial review of the legislation which deprives him and others in his situation of the right to vote. His case was heard before the High Court in London in the autumn of 2011. The Court ofAppeal heard the case on 10 July 2012, and found against the plaintiff. The case will now go to the Supreme Court in London, and if unsuccessful there,to the European Court of Justice.

Mr. Preston’s lawyers, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP and Daniel Jowell QC of Brick Court Chambers, are acting on a pro bono (for the public good) basis in view of the important constitutional issue raised by the case.They argue that the law penalizes British citizens as a result of their exercise of free movement and establishment rights guaranteed by the European Union, in violation of European Law.

The Court of Appeal found against James Preston but also denied him leave to take his case to the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom. The result of this was to deny Mr Preston access to the European Court of Justice.





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