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Duncan Lewis Immigration Solicitors challenge SSHD in nullified naturalisation cases (1 April 2014)

Date: 01/04/2014
Duncan Lewis, Main Solicitors, Duncan Lewis Immigration Solicitors challenge SSHD in nullified naturalisation cases

Duncan Lewis Immigration Solicitors challenged the SSHD in the case of three Albanian nationals whose British naturalisation was nullified on the apparent grounds of a number of “admitted lies”.

*Kaziu & Ors v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2014] EWHC 832 (Admin) (26 March 2014)
Immigration Law- In the High Court of Justice- Queen’s Bench Division- Administrative Court- CO/7815/2013, CO/14160/2013 & CO/5725/2013

Duncan Lewis Solicitors represented two of the three claimants whose British naturalization was nullified on the grounds of several “admitted lies”. The three cases concerned were all heard together because of the “common issues which they raised”.

Judgement handed down from the case states that all three of the claimants were Albanian citizens who were naturalised as British citizens between 2004 and 2006.* The SSHD had discovered that in their applications for naturalisation all had apparently lied about their nationality, claiming to be from Kosovo.*

Further apparent untruths included that two had lied about their age, making one a minor in his asylum claim and one had apparently lied about his name.* Consequently, the SSHD wrote to each stating that their naturalisation was, in consequence, a nullity.*

The claimants challenged the decisions by the SSHD based on the grounds that the lies apparently did not mean that they had impersonated anyone.* According to the handed down judgement, “Impersonation was the test for whether the naturalisation was a nullity, rather than, as with other lies, providing grounds for deprivation of nationality, with its statutory right of appeal.”*

Furthermore, as stated in the judgement “all three had Indefinite Leave to Remain, ILR, at the time of their applications for naturalisation, satisfied the statutory tests and so by definition were the persons to whom citizenship was granted.”*

Mr Knafler QC submitted that “as each of the Claimants was granted ILR, the persons to whom certificates of naturalisation were granted were the people to whom ILR had been granted and who continued to enjoy it. It is not contended that these grants of ILR are nullities, even though they may be revoked. The only statutory requirement each had to satisfy was satisfied. This is not a point which has been raised in other cases.”*

Mr Justice Ouseley held that; “I am (also) troubled by the fact that the SSHD can inform an individual that deprivation proceedings are unlikely although he obtained his nationality by nullifying deceit, and then some years later, at a time of her choosing, and not subject to any time limits such as those which would apply if she had to seek judicial review, announce to him that he is not a British citizen, that the grant she has made and the certificate he holds are nullities, leaving him to take judicial review proceedings to challenge the asserted ineffectiveness of a seemingly valid document. All that had happened the while is made irrelevant to his position. Without the earlier decisions, I would have agreed with Mr Knafler and quashed the purported nullification. “*

“I am unable to conclude that I should distinguish the decisions of the Court of Appeal, powerful though Mr Knafler's submissions were. The Court of Appeal may feel that it should now distinguish its earlier decisions in the light of this new point raised by Mr Knafler. In my judgment, however, the naturalisation of each Claimant is a nullity.”*

Duncan Lewis Immigration Solicitor, Naim Hasani, acted as Solicitor for two of the claimants added;

"This is a judgement, which concerns very important considerations of the way, which the Secretary of State has and continues to interpret the application of very important and distinguishable concepts of deprivation and nullity of British nationality, when there is evidence that it was obtained by fraud, misrepresentation, concealment of a material fact or any other form of deception. This is an area where the case law is not settled, given the findings of Mr Justice Ouseley.

It is now for the Court of Appeal to clarify the law and its earlier decisions on these issues, which should now be established by this new case precedent. Despite the fact that the Secretary of State succeeded on the basis that the Judge was bound to follow the Court of Appeal earlier decisions, she was criticized for the way she has proceeded to decide whether these cases were a nullity or deprivation. The consequences of this judgement are far reaching and the Judge has called on the Court of Appeal to resolve to clarify the case law on these issues of significant public importance.”

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