18th February 2021
The Court of Appeal has today handed down judgment in important appeals concerning the lawfulness of the fees charged to children seeking to register as British citizens. Nicholas Chapman acted for the Home Secretary.
The claimants, led by the Project for the Registration of Children as British Citizens, alleged that the fees 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. The High Court and, now, the Court of Appeal rejected this argument. The Court of Appeal upheld the High Court’s ruling that the fees regulations had been made in breach of the statutory duty to have regard to the best interests of children, though refused the claimants’ appeal against the High Court’s decision not to quash the regulations.
Upon the intervention of Parliamentary counsel, the Court also made important observations about the effect of Article 9 of the Bill of Rights 1689, which concerns the “questioning” of Parliamentary proceedings and, more generally, the use to which Parliamentary materials may be put.
The Court has granted permission to appeal to the Supreme Court.
Nicholas Chapman was led by Sir James Eadie QC.
The judgment can be found here.