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Deprivation of British citizenship -
As we start to see more instances of British citizens facing the possibility of losing their citizenship status, the Upper Immigration Tribunal handed down judgement on 10 February 2017 which helps to clarify the legal position.
The case of Ahmed and Others (deprivation of citizenship)  UKUT 00118 (IAC) considered the fate of four men who were convicted of serious offences resulting in long sentences.
Each of the four men was given significant prison sentences totalling 57.5 years, 16 years, 12 years and 18 years which shows the severity of their offending.
The legal position
The Secretary of State can deprive someone of British citizenship under section 40(2) of the British Nationality Act 1981 (the ‘1981 Act’) where it would be conducive to the public good. There is a wide margin of discretion to make a decision on whether a deprivation order would be in the public interest. However, once the Secretary of State has decided to make an order she must notify the person that she has decided to make an order, provide the reasons for the order and notify them of their right of appeal.
The four men in Ahmed and Others were given such a notice and they pursued an appeal in the First Tier Immigration Tribunal where they were unsuccessful. The four men subsequently pursued an appeal in the Upper Immigration Tribunal on the grounds that:
The Upper Immigration Tribunal rejected all five grounds put forward by the 4 men noting in particular that, in relation to the best interests of their children, the Secretary of State has no proactive duty to ask for evidence. The burden on proving their defence lies on the Appellants.
The next step is for the Secretary of State to make the order to deprive the 4 men of their British citizenship status after which they will face deportation proceeding. Although, the Upper Immigration Tribunal has asked the Secretary of State to consider making both decisions jointly.
Impact of the judgement
From a practical point of view, what this case tells us is that people who have received a notice under Section 40(2) of the 1981 Act should seek appropriate legal representation at the earliest opportunity and prepare robust evidence to support their defence.
Written by Darren Chin
Please note that this article is for information only and should not be taken as legal and/or financial advice. Immigration law changes regularly and it may be the case that this page has not been updated to take into account the latest changes. If you would like advice on your personal circumstances, please feel free to contact us.