R (Project for the Registration of Children as British Citizens and O) v Secretary of State for the Home Department


Practice Areas

Public Law

Cases Citation

[2021] EWCA Civ 193

Appeal and cross-appeal concerning the fees charged to children applying to register as British citizens.

The claimants, led by the Project for the Registration of Children as British Citizens, alleged that the fees – more than £1,000 – are ultra vires the British Nationality Act 1981 and breach the principle of legality, being substantially in excess of the administrative cost and unaffordable to many child applicants and thereby cutting down rights conferred by Parliament.  In a widely reported judgment, the High Court (Jay J) rejected this argument.  However, Jay J allowed the claim on the secondary ground that the Secretary of State had failed in the procedural duty to have regard to the best interests of children when fixing the fees at their present level.  He declined to quash the regulations setting the fees.

The Court of Appeal refused the appeals brought against each aspect of Jay J’s judgment.  In doing so, it made important observations concerning the related principles of ultra vires and legality.  Following the intervention of both the Speaker of the House of Commons and the Clerk of the Parliaments, the Court also made observations concerning Article 9 of the Bill of Rights 1689, which regulates the use to which Parliamentary materials may be put in legal proceedings.

The Court of Appeal granted permission to appeal to the Supreme Court.

Nicholas Chapman, led by Sir James Eadie QC, represented the Secretary of State.

The judgment can be found here.

Related Barristers

Nicholas Chapman

Nicholas Chapman
Year of Call: 2001

Close X

Coronavirus Update

TGC continues proactively to safeguard against the risks posed by the spread of Coronavirus. We have a Covid-19 Committee who continue to monitor the situation and follow advice issued by the Government and Public Health England. We will be updating this page as and when new information becomes available. As of 6 July 2020, our London premises, 1 Harcourt Buildings, will be operating with a reduced clerking team in attendance. The remaining staff members and barristers will continue working remotely. We wish to reassure everyone that our contingency plans enable us to continue to provide our services.

Telephoning us

When calling our switchboard number, it will be diverted to a member of the clerking team who will be able to assist in the usual way. All direct dials in Chambers are diverted to be answered remotely.

Emailing us & Sending Instructions

Please send all instructions via email directly to We would be grateful if this could be sent in an orderly fashion to enable working from a screen manageable. We are able to receive hard copy instructions via DX or Post, if necessary. However, we have a preference for electronic documents wherever possible.

Please continue to communicate with barristers directly via phone or email.

Conferences, Joint Settlement Meetings & Mediations

Conferences, meetings and mediations will take place remotely, either by telephone or video until further notice. Group Telephone calls and video calls can be easily arranged. If an in-person meeting is felt necessary please see our Covid-19 Information page for full criteria.

Court Hearings

We are following the Government’s advice closely, which is changing daily. In keeping with that advice, we will continue to service hearings remotely, where possible and as instructed by the hosting Court. In-Person hearings will be accommodated by members of TGC. We will continue to monitor this situation.

Making a payment

If you do not already pay us by BACS, going forward please make arrangements to do so. Please contact the clerks who can supply you with the relevant BACS details.

If you wish to discuss our policy and procedure relating to coronavirus, please do not hesitate to contact our senior clerk Dean Norton on 07535 753098 or

To learn more visit our Covid-19 Information page.