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

This case primarily concerns NB and her disabled minor son AB as well as her husband and other children, who are UNRWA-registered stateless Palestinians. Having previously resided in the Al Bass refugee camp in Lebanon, they arrived in the United Kingdom in 2015 and are seeking refugee status on the basis of Article 1(D) of the Geneva Convention. The Court considers whether they qualify to be granted ipso facto refugee status under Article 1(D) of the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees.

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: 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: 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.

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.