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Supreme Court hands down decision on mandatory fee for children to be registered as British citizens

Posted on 2 February 2022

The Supreme Court has today handed down a decision on whether the Secretary of State can lawfully make a child’s right to be registered as a British citizen conditional on paying a substantial fee.

Today's decision follows a legal challenge brought by the Project for the Registration of Children as British Citizens (PRCBC) and a child, known as O.

In the final ruling following a four-year long legal battle, the Supreme Court ruled in favour of the Home Office, stating that Parliament has authorised the Government to set the fee. At £1,012, this is at a level many children cannot afford.

The judgment also records the High Court and Court of Appeal findings that the current fee has been unlawfully set because the Home Secretary did not give consideration to the best interests of children.

Lawyers and campaigners from PRCBC and Amnesty International UK are calling for the fee change to now be realised through the Nationality and Borders Bill.

Partner Maria Patsalos, who acted for PRCBC, said:

"This is a disappointing decision and will have a resounding detrimental impact on children. Over the last four years, it has been a privilege to have championed the rights of young people seeking fair and equitable access to British citizenship.

"Wealth should never be a barrier for these children to access their rights and we hope that Parliament takes the opportunity now to resolve this deeply unfair situation."

Read the full press release here and the judgment here.

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