openJustice

The children who can't afford to be British (podcast)

The High Court in London recently found a fee charged by the Home Office to be unlawful. In this podcast, Amnesty's Steve Valdez-Symonds tells us more about the landmark case.

Oscar Rickett
16 January 2020
Children celebrate the verdict on the steps of the High Court in London.
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Courtesy of Steve Valdez-Symonds. All rights reserved.

The Home Office has been charging a fee of £1,012 to children who wish to register their British citizenship. In a landmark judgment on 19 December 2019 the High Court in London found this to be unlawful.

The fee has left a substantial number of children who have a right to citizenship but simply cannot afford the fee feeling, in the words of the High Court, "alienated, excluded, isolated, "second-best", insecure and not fully assimilated into the culture and social fabric of the UK".

Depending on what happens next, this could be a life changing moment for these children. It was also a big win for the organisation that brought the challenge, The Project for the Registration of Children as British Citizens (PRCBC) and Amnesty, who supported it.

In the third podcast of this series, we gain an insider's view of the case from Steve Valdez-Symonds, Director of Refugee and Migrant Rights at Amnesty UK. We find out how, in setting this fee, the Home Office failed to make a fundamental distinction between immigration and citizenship. We also hear the historical and political context surrounding the case, and some practicalities of the litigation.

This podcast is part of the Unlawful State series where we investigate unlawful decision making by the UK government and hear from pioneering NGOs using the law to tackle the problem. See here for more.

You can also listen to the Unlawful State series on:

Apple Podcasts

Spotify

And wherever you normally get your podcasts.

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