In the Court of Appeal (Civil Division) - On Appeal from the High Court of Justice - Queen's Bench Division - Administrative Court
This is an appeal from the judgment of Ouseley J in which he decided that each of the three appellants, Mr Hysaj, Mr Bakijasi and Mr Kaziu, had not in fact become British citizens when issued with certificates by the Secretary of State purporting to register them as having citizenship by naturalisation. This was on the basis that they had fraudulently deceived the Secretary of State when they first came to this country and thereby obtained indefinite leave to remain ("ILR"), which they then relied upon when applying to become British citizens pursuant to the British Nationality Act 1981 ("the 1981 Act").
Although the appellants told various lies about themselves, the common theme in the three cases is that when they came to the United Kingdom they each fraudulently claimed that they were ethnic Albanians from Kosovo who faced persecution there and so should be granted asylum in the United Kingdom. In truth, however, each of them was a national of Albania with no entitlement to asylum. As Mr Knafler QC, who appeared on their behalf, correctly and sensibly acknowledges, these fraudulent claims represented a serious abuse of the right of refugee protection. Nonetheless, he submits, the Secretary of State has not addressed the frauds in the correct way.
Although the Secretary of State has a power under section 40 of the 1981 Act to make an order to deprive a naturalised British citizen of his citizenship, in relation to which there is a right of appeal under section 40A, she did not exercise that power in these cases. Instead, when the Secretary of State discovered the frauds she wrote to each appellant to inform him that, relying on previous decisions of this court in relation to the earlier relevant statutory provision, section 20 of the British Nationality Act 1948 ("the 1948 Act"), his naturalisation was "null and void" by reason of having been obtained "by means of impersonation" and that he was not, and never had been, a British citizen.
No right of appeal arises in these circumstances, but the appellants brought these judicial review proceedings to challenge the Secretary of State's decision in each case to treat their naturalisation as being invalid. Their claim for judicial review having failed before Ouseley J, they now appeal to this court with permission granted by the judge.