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‘Unlawful’ child citizenship fee ruling upheld

‘Unlawful’ child citizenship fee ruling upheld

A court has stated that the fee of £1,000 to enable a child to receive their British citizenship is unlawful. Activists have welcomed the news which they say was preventing families from securing citizenship.

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Judgement is a victory for children and families

The decision of the High Court who ruled in favour of a challenge to the Home Office’s fee of £1,012 per child citizenship application has been upheld.

The original argument put to the court was that the Home Office had set an unlawfully and prohibitively high fee for a child citizenship application. The controversial fee had been denounced by campaigners as an unfair obstacle depriving children of their legal citizenship rights.

Having lost the initial case in December 2019, the Home Office lodged an appeal with the Court of Appeal. It was decided by the court on 18th February 2021 to uphold the ruling. The court found that there was not a proper assessment or consideration of the impact of the fee on the rights of children.

Depriving children of citizenship rights

The court further stated that it was “difficult to see how the fee could be afforded at all.” The news has been welcomed by campaigners who have argued that the fee negatively impacts families who cannot afford it.

The Project for the Registration of Children as British Citizens was set up to promote the rights of children and young people with respect to British citizenship. On behalf of two children, they took the case to the High Court to challenge the fee.

The decision to uphold the case means that the Home Office should now reassess the fee. A spokesperson for the Home Office stated that:

“The Home Office acknowledges the court’s ruling and will review child registration fees in due course.”

While the fee of £1,012 per child citizenship application was set by the Home Office, the actual administrative costs amount to just £372, resulting in a profit for the Home Office.

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child playing with bricks

Campaigners said the fee prevented children and families from claiming their legal right to citizenship and welcomed the Court of Appeal’s decision. [Image: Pexels]