Project for the Registration of children as British citizens & Anor – Family Law Week case summary

01 March 2021

Appeal and cross appeal concerning the fees charged for children to register as British citizens. Court upheld finding that the Secretary of State had failed in her duty under s.55 of the Borders, Citizenship and Immigration Act 2009 to assess children’s best interests and ensure that these were a primary consideration

Appeal and cross appeal of the decision of the High Court ([2019] EWHC 3536 (Admin) Mr Justice Jay).  The claimants challenged the fees charged to children applying to register as British citizens (currently £1012, comprising £372 admin and processing costs, and £640 to be applied to subsidising other parts of the nationality, immigration and asylum system).  Two arguments were relevant on the appeal

1) The fees are ultra vires the British Nationality Act 1981 in that they render nugatory for a significant number of children the entitlement to register because the fees are unaffordable

2) In fixing the fee for applications to register by a child, the Secretary of State failed to comply with her statutory duty imposed by s 55 to have regard to the need to safeguard and promote the welfare of children in the United Kingdom when discharging any functions in relation to immigration, asylum or nationality

In respect of 1) the High Court held it was bound by the Court of Appeal decision in R (Williams) v SSHD [2017] EWCA Civ 98.  In respect of 2) the Judge held that the Secretary of State had failed to comply with her duties under s55.

Read the full summary on Family Law Week.