UK Nationality and Borders Bill: new clause removes requirement to notify people they are being stripped of citizenship

13 Dec 2021 / International and Regional Instruments / Prevention and reduction / United Kingdom
Houses of Parliament

The UK Government has introduced a new Clause 9 to its Nationality and Borders Bill (currently before Parliament and already controversial for stateless children), that would empower the Secretary of State to deprive a person of British nationality without giving them notice notice if it appears there is lack of information to do so, it is not ‘reasonably practicable’ to give notice, or in the interests of national security, relations with another country or public interest.

The introduction of this clause is likely to be a reaction to the recent judgment D4 v SSHD where the High Court held that the current requirement to give notice cannot be met by simply inserting a notice ‘on file’, without serving it to the person concerned. This would leave a person unable to challenge the decision to deprive them of nationality, including to put forward any arguments based on a risk of statelessness. This amendment has severe impacts on the rule of law and on a person’s fundamental rights, and it disregards many of the UK’s international obligations, including the prohibition of arbitrary deprivation of nationality, the obligation to avoid statelessness and the right to a fair hearing. The power to deprive individuals of their nationality already disproportionately impacts on minorities, and the expansion of these powers would only contribute to further discrimination and exacerbate the risk of leaving people stateless.

Photo: Adi Ulici on Unsplash

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