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.
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.
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.
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.
A child (MK) was born in the UK in 2010 and her parents were both nationals of India. MK had made an application for registration as a British citizen. Paragraph 3 of Schedule 2 of the British Nationality Act 1981 requires that the child 'is and always has been stateless'. The key issue was whether, in order to be considered stateless, the child was required to have sought (and failed) to acquire the nationality of her parents. The Court determined that there was no requirement to have sought the nationality of the parents, and MK was, if she met the other relevant requirements, entitled to register as a British citizen, as she was and always had been stateless at the date of the relevant Home Office decision. Further, the Secretary of State could require an applicant to prove the relevant facts, but could not lawfully 'impose requirements that cannot, or practically cannot, be met'.