Current fees for registering a child as a British national are unlawful
In the landmark case of the Project for the Registration of Children As British Citizens & Ors, R (On the Application Of) v Secretary of State for the Home Department  EWHC 3536 (Admin), the High Court found “mass of evidence” against the current £1012 application fee for registering a child as a British citizen and ruled it to be unlawful.
The Court made it clear that where a child is entitled to be registered as a British citizen, it will generally be in the child’s best interest to be registered as one. Quite to the contrary, the current high application fees have meant that “children born in the UK and identifying as British … feel alienated, excluded, isolated, “second-best”, insecure and not fully assimilated into the culture and social fabric of the UK.”
During the proceedings, it transpired that only £372 of the application fee paid is used towards the administrative costs of processing the application, leaving the majority remains to be used across the immigration system.
Due to a previous ruling, the Court was unable to rule on the issue of whether there was a power in law to set the application fee above administrative costs. However, the Court found the claimants’ position that there was no such power to be powerful and granted the claimants a certificate to apply to the Supreme Court for permission to appeal on this point.
The Court’s decision gives hope to those struggling to cope with the ever-increasing application fees. The decision is a clear illustration of the court’s awareness of the practical struggles experienced by children and the parents and guardians of children wanting to claim their British nationality.
The full judgement can be read on: https://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/Admin/2019/3536.html
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