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Nicholas Chapman, instructed by the Treasury Solicitor, successfully represented the Home Secretary in R (Al-Enein) v Home Secretary, an important appeal concerning the lawfulness of the good character policy for British citizenship applications.
The Court of Appeal (Flaux, Singh and Haddon-Cave LJJ) rejected the Appellant’s case that the policy was ultra vires the British Nationality Act, in that it required a 10-year period of compliance with principles of good character whereas the Act contemplated only 3 years.
The Court provided detailed guidance as to the true construction of the statutory scheme, holding that the Secretary of State has a broad discretion to define good character under the Act and that there was no reason why she could not impose an additional or extended requirement relating to breaches of immigration law as properly being a matter relevant to the general question of good character.