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British Nationality Deprivation Appeals – Not Dead Yet

In Pirzada (Deprivation of citizenship: general principles) [2017] UKUT 196 (IAC) the Upper Tribunal appears to limit the issues in an appeal against a Home Office decision to deprive a person of their British citizenship status. It is arguable that the Upper Tribunal erred, not least as this aspect of the decision is at odds with other relevant decisions.

Section 40 of the British Nationality Act 1981 (as amended) (“the 1981 Act”) provides the Secretary of State with a discretionary power to make an order (“a Deprivation Order”) depriving a person of a citizenship status. There are many different types of British citizenship; “a citizenship status” is used to ensure that every British citizen is potentially subject to a Deprivation Order.

To make a Deprivation Order the Secretary of State must be satisfied either:

  1. That deprivation is conducive to the public good and that it will not make the individual stateless (subsection 2); or
  2. That the citizenship status resulted from registration or naturalisation and was obtained by means of fraud, false representation or concealment of a material fact (sub-section 3).

As the Secretary of State decides what is considered to be conducive to the public good in these matters, the only statutory limit to the subsection 2 power is statelessness. All potentially dual nationals are therefore at risk of deprivation under this provision. Similarly, the subsection 3 power does not itself require the individual concerned to be personally responsible for the relevant fraud, false representation or omission of material facts. Thus a person registered as a British citizen as a child remains potentially at risk of deprivation throughout their life.

Section 40A of the 1981 Act provides for a right of appeal to the First-tier Tribunal against a decision to make a Deportation Order, unless the Secretary of State certifies that the decision was taken wholly or partly in reliance on information which should be not made public on specific grounds – Click for Full Article