Court name: Court of Appeal of England and Wales
Date of decision:

A dual British and Pakistani national who was detained in a camp in Syria was deprived of her British nationality in December 2019 on the grounds that this would be conducive to the public good. A copy of the notice of the deprivation was placed on the applicant's file but was not communicated to her at this time. Under regulations made under the British Nationality Act 1981, this was considered to constitute notice. The deprivation of citizenship was only communicated to the applicant when her lawyers contacted the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in September 2020 to ask for assistance with the applicant’s repatriation and were later informed of this decision by the Home Office in October 2020. The applicant applied for judicial review, claiming that the domestic regulation in question and the deprivation decision had no legal effect. The Court of Appeal dismissed the Secretary of State appeal against the High Court decision finding in the applicant's favour. The judgment is currently under appeal before the Supreme Court. 

Court name: Court of Session (Scotland)
Date of decision:

The case concerns an application for asylum by a Cameroonian national, a single mother with a child born in the UK. The applicant claimed that the child’s father was a German national exercising his EEA treaty rights in the UK, and that the child may accordingly be a British citizen. The Court of Session held that the Upper Tribunal erred in not adjudicating an application for directions filed by the applicant to obtain documents to ascertain the father’s nationality. In respect of the documents required, the court held that there was no duty to enquire on the part of the Secretary of State, to identify and produce appropriate documents. The court also noted that the applicant’s situation as a single mother with a child who would be without family support was a material consideration in assessing her claim for asylum.

Court name: High Court of Justice, Queen's Bench Division, Administrative Court
Date of decision:

An Afghan national held in immigration detention brought a claim contending that the failure to provide access to free (publicly funded) initial immigration advice for immigration detainees held in prisons is discriminatory, as detainees held in Immigration Removal Centres (IRCs) have access to such advice instead. The High Court found that the difference in treatment between detainees in prisons and detainees in IRCs constituted unlawful discrimination contrary to Article 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), read in conjunction with Articles 2, 3, 5 and 8. The High Court rejected the argument that the difference in treatment was justified on the basis that the class of immigration detainees held in prisons is not relevant “other status” for Article 14 purposes, and found that detainees held in prisons are in a sufficiently analogous position to their counterparts held in IRCs to qualify for the same rights.

Court name: UK Supreme Court
Date of decision:

The appellant, a Rwandan national, was granted refugee status in the UK but was subsequently convicted of a number of offences. The Secretary of State for the Home Department has powers, under the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002 to order the deportation of persons convicted of serious offences, which included an offence committed by the appellant. The Secretary of State ordered the appellant’s detention pending deportation and the appellant initially sought judicial review of the deportation order, only to then focus on the lawfulness of the detention. Following the decision in R (Draga) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2012] EWCA Civ 842, where the Court of Appeal ruled detention lawful even where based on an unlawful deportation order, the Court of Appeal dismissed the appellant’s substantive appeal. The Supreme Court overturned the decision.

Court name: High Court of Justice, Queen’s Bench Division (Administrative Court)
Date of decision:

The claimant, born in a refugee camp in Western Sahara, asserted he is a stateless person within the meaning of article 1(a) of the 1954 UN Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons (although he never made a formal statelessness application) and alleged that he was unlawfully detained under immigration powers, pending deportation. The Secretary of State attempted to obtain an emergency travel document for the claimant from various foreign authorities, yet delays were encountered. The claimant was detained throughout but it was held that the Secretary of State was acting with reasonable diligence, the decision to detain the claimant was not unlawful considering the circumstances and there was a reasonable prospect of removal during the period of detention. The claimant was a persistent absconder with multiple convictions, had been assessed as posing a high risk of harm to the public, and these factors weighed against him when assessing what was a reasonable period of detention.

Court name: The High Court of Justice Queen’s Bench Division Administrative Court
Date of decision:

Two of the applicants, E3 and N3, were deprived of their British citizenship by the defendant, the Secretary of State for the Home Department. Following the determination of the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (“SIAC”) in similar cases, the defendant withdrew her deprivation decisions against the applicants, whose citizenship was reinstated. 

During the period of deprivation, the third applicant, ZA, who is the daughter of one of the applicants, was born. The applicants claimed that ZA should be automatically entitled to British citizenship. The court held that the child of a British citizen born during a period in which her father had been deprived of his citizenship (which was later reinstated), was not automatically British at birth, as the decision to reinstate the father’s citizenship did not have retroactive effect.  

Court name: High Court of England & Wales, Family Division
Date of decision:

In the context of ongoing care proceedings, the court approved a local authority’s application to register the birth of a child, where the parents refused to do so and the father was opposed to registration on the grounds that, in his view, the United Kingdom is an authoritarian and capricious State.

Court name: Upper Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber)
Date of decision:

This appeal to the Upper Tribunal of the Immigration and Asylum Chamber concerns the Secretary of State for the Home Department’s (hereinafter SSHD) decision to deprive the appellant of his British citizenship. The Upper Tribunal addressed the issue of whether Article 8(1) of the ECHR was engaged and whether the SSDH discretionary decision under section 40(2) or (3) to deprive the individual of his or her British citizenship was exercised correctly. The grounds for judicial review is that the delay in acting on the appellant’s fraud reduces the public interest in deprivation and is a disproportionate interference with Article 8 ECHR.

Court name: Court of Appeal (Civil Division)
Date of decision:

The appellant, a child born to a Zimbabwean mother and Portuguese father, was not a recognised national of any country and consequently applied for limited leave to remain in the United Kingdom through paragraph 405 of the Immigration Rules. However, for paragraph 405 of the Immigration Rules to apply, individuals must also satisfy the conditions of paragraph 403, which include a requirement that individuals be inadmissible to any country other than the UK. The Court of Appeal affirmed the Upper Tribunal’s decision that JM was admissible to Zimbabwe and therefore did not qualify for limited leave to remain in the country under paragraph 405.

Court name: Upper Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber)
Date of decision:

This application for judicial review concerns the Secretary of State for the Home Department’s decision to refuse the applicant’s application for leave to remain in the United Kingdom as a stateless person on the basis that she could have re-entered the Kuwait lawfully through a travel document she had been provided with by the Kuwaiti authorities. The Upper Tribunal addressed the issue of the correct interpretation of ‘admissibility’ of a person who claims to be stateless to their country of former habitual residence, under paragraph 403(c) of the Immigration Rules. The single ground of judicial review is that the respondent’s definition of ‘admissible’ is unlawful, irrational and/or inconsistent with her own policy. The court found that 'admissible' means the ability to enter and reside lawfully and does not incorporate the concept of 'permanent residence'.

Court name: Upper Tribunal, Immigration and Asylum Chamber
Date of decision:

The case is a judicial review of the decision by the Secretary of State to reject the applicant’s application for limited leave to remain in the United Kingdom as a stateless person under paragraph 403 of the Immigration Rules. The Upper Tribunal found that the Secretary of State’s decision was unsustainable as the Secretary of State failed to comply with a duty to give effect to the terms of its own published policy, and the public law duty of enquiry, requiring it to proactively participate in the collection of information relevant to the decision being made.  Furthermore, the Upper Tribunal held that the Secretary of State’s decision was vitiated by an error of law, as the language of Article 1(1) of the 1954 Convention requires a decision-maker to ask itself if an applicant is a national of any State at the time of the determination.

Court name: Upper Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber)
Date of decision:

The case concerns a Belarusian individual who had entered the UK in 1998, whose asylum applications were refused and who spent the subsequent eighteen years in immigration bail as his identity could not be confirmed and he could not be deported to Belarus. He complained that the state of “limbo” in which he was as a result of his immigration bail constituted an infringement of his right to private life. He also alleged that he had become stateless as result of losing his Belarusian nationality. The court found that there was a violation of Article 8 of the ECHR. On the statelessness question, it was held he could not be considered a stateless person. 

Court name: England and Wales High Court (Queen's Bench Division)
Date of decision:

The Home Office was not authorised to detain an individual subject to a deportation order for longer than the period reasonably required to “enable the machinery of deportation to be carried out”, nor for any other purpose.

The applicant, M.  Singh, applied for release from detention on the basis that he was being held unlawfully whilst his deportation was delayed. The judge found that the powers within the Immigration Act 1971 (the “1971 Act”) contained implied limitations, such that unless the Home Office could prove to the court, within three days following the hearing, that Mr Singh’s deportation was imminent, he should be released on the basis that the implied limitations on the exercise of the power to detain had not been complied with.

Court name: Court of Justice of the European Union
Date of decision:

This case concerns a mother and child, NB and AB, stateless Palestinians formerly residing in Lebanon who are registered with UNRWA. AB is severely disabled and has complex medical issues and other needs. They sought asylum in the United Kingdom on the basis of Article 1D of the Refugee Convention. The Court considered whether they qualify to be granted ipso facto refugee status under Article 1D of the Refugee Convention. The Court found that the burden of proof lies with the applicants to prove that they have actually had recourse to UNRWA’s protection or assistance and that that protection or assistance has ceased, but, once that is established, if the authority considers that the applicant could now return to UNRWA’s area of operation, it is for that authority to demonstrate that the circumstances have changed in the area of operations concerned and that the applicant can access adequate protection or assistance from UNRWA. It also held that the applicant does not need to prove that there was any intentional infliction of harm or failure; it is sufficient to establish that UNRWA’s assistance or protection has in fact ceased for any reason (beyond the applicant’s control). The Court held, inter alia, that if UNRWA cooperates with a civil society or host government agency or actor to fulfil its mission, the services by those organisations are relevant to considerations of whether UNWRA can provide adequate assistance or protection only if there is a stable and formal relationship between UNRWA and the relevant organisations, and the applicant has a durable right to such services.

Court name: UK Supreme Court
Date of decision:

A Nigerian child was unable to apply British citizenship as she could not pay the full fee, fixed at £973 at the time. The UK Supreme Court found that setting high and unaffordable fees for registration as a British citizen is not unlawful, even though it acknowledged that for many young people the current level of fees is unaffordable and that the inability to acquire British citizenship may result in difficulties for young people. However, the Supreme Court found that the UK Parliament had empowered the Secretary of State to set such fees at a level exceeding the cost of processing a citizenship application and therefore setting such high fees was not unlawful.

Court name: The Special Immigration Appeals Commission
Date of decision:

The Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC) allowed an appeal against the Secretary of State’s decision to deprive C3, C4 and C7 of their British citizenship, and found that the decision to deprive C3, C4 and C7 of their citizenship breached s.40(4) of the British Nationality Act 1981, as it would render the appellants stateless. On the date of the deprivation decision, it was found that C3, C4 and C7 did not have Bangladeshi citizenship under the law of Bangladesh and the Secretary of State therefore could not deprive them of their British citizenship.

Court name: UK Immigration and Asylum Chamber
Date of decision:

The case concerned the decision to deprive the appellant of his British citizenship on the basis that he had exercised deception in relation to his identity when he first applied for asylum. The court considered the application of the discretion by the Home Office (hereafter the respondent) and the impact the decision would have on appellant’s family, in particular his minor child. The court dismissed the appeal on the basis that the errors of law identified were not sufficient to affect the outcome of the decision.

Court name: Upper Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber)
Date of decision:

The appellant’s nationality, or lack thereof, was the central issue of the remaking decision of this appeal. The appellant alleged that he was stateless and that this constituted “very compelling circumstances” outweighing the public interest requiring his deportation; he could not therefore be deported from the UK. The respondent alleged that the appellant was a de jure Guinean national and that the barriers to removal in his case were purely administrative in nature and did not therefore permit the appellant to succeed in his appeal. The Court found that the appellant failed to show, on the balance of probabilities, that he was stateless within the meaning of the 1954 Convention; rather, the appellant was found to be in “actual limbo”. The Court also held that it could not be said that the very strong public interest was outweighed by any factors supporting the appellant’s position, whether viewed in isolation or cumulatively. The Court further found that there may come a stage when all possible avenues to establish the appellant’s Guinean nationality and/or other means of facilitating a removal have been exhausted and that the prospect of deporting him from the UK could be considered so remote that Article 8 ECHR might provide a route for success; but, in the Court's judgment, that stage had not been reached by some distance.

 

Court name: Court of Appeal
Date of decision:

The applicant applied for British citizenship on the basis of s.4B of the British Nationality Act 1981 (which does not allow the grant of British citizenship when the applicant already has another nationality), relying on a letter from a Pakistani Consulate confirming that his Pakistani nationality was cancelled. The Court of Appeal reversed the lower court’s decision, which had been in favour of the applicant, on the basis that (1) it failed to apply the principle that the person's nationality was to be determined by reference to the actual law of the state on the basis of expert evidence, not what agencies of the state might assert about that person's nationality; and (2) the lower court’s reading of Pakistani law was mistaken.

Court name: UK Supreme Court
Date of decision:

The case concerns the deprivation of Ms Begum’s British citizenship and whether the subsequent decision of the Home Office not to allow her to enter the United Kingdom in order to appeal the revocation of her citizenship in person was unlawful. Ms Begum had been stripped of her citizenship for reasons of national security after she ran from home as a teenager to marry an ISIL fighter in Syria. She then commenced three sets of proceedings in order to appeal the deprivation decision, which the Court dismissed.

Court name: European Court of Human Rights
Date of decision:

The applicant challenged a decision depriving him of his British citizenship and excluding him from the United Kingdom because of his alleged involvement and link to terrorist-related activities. After failing in his appeals to the High Court, Court of Appeal and the Special Immigration Appeal Tribunal, the applicant complained to the European Court of Human Rights (‘the Court’) under Articles 8 and 14. The Court rejected all of the applicant’s complaints, finding them to be manifestly ill-founded, and declared the application inadmissible.

Court name: High Court of Justice (Administrative Court)
Date of decision:

The Claimant was a British Overseas citizen and had renounced his Malaysian citizenship in 2006 on the basis of legal advice that this was necessary for him to obtain indefinite leave to remain in the UK, but was refused leave to remain. In 2017, after being refused leave to remain in the UK as a stateless person under paragraph 403 of the Immigration Rules, the Claimant sought judicial review of this decision. The Court confirmed that a BOC who is not a national of any other State is a stateless person for the purpose of paragraph 403(b) of the Immigration Rules, however the Claimant failed to show that he is not admissible to Malaysia or to any other country.

Court name: Court of Appeal (Civil Division)
Date of decision:

This case, heard first before the First-tier Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber) (the “First-tier Tribunal”) followed by the Upper Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber) (the “Upper Tribunal”), concerned the Secretary of State for the Home Department’s decision under section 40(3) of the British Nationality Act 1981 (the “1981 Act”) to deprive the appellant of his British citizenship granted on 11 December 2007 on the ground that, in his application, the appellant had deliberately concealed the fact that he had earlier obtained a grant of British citizenship using false details. 

Before the Court of Appeal, the key issues to be determined were (i) on whom the burden of proof lay to prove that the appellant would be stateless if deprived of British citizenship, and (ii) whether the Upper Tribunal had correctly determined that the First-tier Tribunal’s failure to consider the issue of the appellant’s statelessness was immaterial.

Court name: Court of Appeal (Civil Division)
Date of decision:

The Secretary of State for the Home Department appealed a decision to overturn two orders depriving E3 and N3 of their British citizenship. The issue raised by the appeal was whether the Secretary of State was precluded by section 40(4) of the 1981 Act from making the orders, because they rendered E3 and N3 stateless. The focus of the Court of Appeal’s judgment was whether the burden of proof concerning whether E3 and N3 would be rendered stateless following deprivation of their British citizenship fell on the Secretary of State or E3 and N3.

Court name: Court of Appeal (Civil Division)
Date of decision:

Begum v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2020] All ER (D) 43 (7 February 2020): The Special Immigration Appeals Commission ('SIAC') considered (1) the UK Home Secretary’s decision to deprive the appellant of her British citizenship, whether that decision made the appellant stateless; and (2) whether the appellant could have a fair and effective appeal from Syria and, if not, whether her appeal should be allowed on that ground alone.

Begum v Special Immigration Appeals Commission and another [2020] EWCA Civ 918 (16 July 2020): The Court of Appeal determined what legal and procedural consequences should follow from the conclusion of SIAC that Ms Begum could not have a fair and effective appeal of the Secretary of State’s deprivation appeal.