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SIAC dismisses appeal against deprivation of UK Citizenship

Published:

Re: B4 v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2022] Appeal No SC/159/2018

B4 was deprived by the Home Secretary of British citizenship because of his alleged involvement with an Al-Qaeda aligned group whilst in Syria and because he was deemed to be a risk to the national security of the United Kingdom. B4 appealed against the decision to deprive on a number of grounds.

The Commission considered the approach of the Special Advocates who largely limited the cross-examination in CLOSED to an area of factual clarification. Whilst not criticising the Special Advocates, the Commission said that it expected key or headline points to be put in cross-examination.  Furthermore, there was no objection to the Security Service adducing evidence from a “hybrid” witness of fact, opinion and practice. The Commission gave general guidance as to the role of Special Advocates in SIAC appeals following the Supreme Court judgment in Begum.

After considering a number of alleged public law errors. the Commission found that no errors of law or fact had been made by the Secretary of State, The Commission was also unconvinced by the argument that the Secretary of State failed to comply with the Tameside duty of relevant inquiry in respect of the policy in relation to risks under Articles 2 and 3 of the ECHR for those that are deprived of citizenship but who are outwith the jurisdiction.  The Commission also rejected the argument that the Secretary of State had failed to take account of relevant considerations.

The Commission could not address much of the ground that the decision was an arbitrary abuse of process because B4 asserted he had been in contact with MI6, which was neither confirmed nor denied and could not be addressed in the OPEN judgment. The Commission did find, however, that much of the abuse argument entailed an exercise in pure speculation. Finally, the Commission held that there was no reason why the general rule in national security cases that there is no duty to seek representations from the deprived person prior to making the deprivation order should not apply, and that the Secretary of State therefore did not make a public law error. The Commission rejected B4’s argument that a Temporary Exclusion Order should have been put in place pending the making of any deprivation order, for the specific purpose of enabling B4 to advance representations as to why such a deprivation order should not be made.

Jonathan Glasson KC and James Stansfeld (instructed by the Government Legal Department) appeared on behalf of the Secretary of State in this case.

Please click here to see the judgment.