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: 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. As he had left Belarus in 1991, he had effectively lost his Belarusian nationality and had become stateless. 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. The court refused his application.

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: 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:

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.

Court name: Court of Appeal
Date of decision:

The appellant requested the revocation of a deportation order on the grounds that he was stateless. The appeal raises two points of principle: first, the standard of proof applicable to the determination of whether a person qualifies for the status of a stateless person as defined in the 1954 Convention; and secondly, the relevance of a finding that a person is stateless for the purposes of revocation of a deportation order. The court determined that a person claiming to be stateless must provide evidence satisfying the standard of balance of probabilities.

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

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'.

Court name: UK Supreme Court
Date of decision:

An appeal as to whether the Secretary of State was precluded under the British Nationality Act 1981 from making an order depriving the appellant of British citizenship because to do so would render him stateless.