Confirmed: Child Whose Mother Isn’t Married to her Father Unlawfully Denied Citizenship

The Home Office has dropped its appeal against a judgment that children whose mothers are married to someone other than their fathers are being unlawfully discriminated against by British nationality legislation. In July 2018, the High Court ruled that part of the British Nationality Act 1981 is incompatible with Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights. The case was K (A Child) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2018] EWHC 1834 (Admin).

The provision in question was section 50(9A). It states that:

For the purposes of this Act, a child’s father is –

(a)   the husband, at the time of the child’s birth, of the woman who gives birth to the child…

This can prevent a child’s biological father from being recognised as the child’s legal father for the purpose of passing on his British citizenship. In K’s case, the Home Office tore up her British passport, saying that she wasn’t legally a citizen, even though she could prove that her biological father was British. The effect of section 50(9A) was that her mother’s estranged partner, to whom she was still married, was treated as her father — denying K citizenship.

The High Court found that:

the scheme of section 50(9A) of the BNA 1981 as the Defendant currently reads and applies it breaches the Claimant’s right under Article 14 ECHR read with Article 8, to enjoy equal access to the ability to acquire her biological father’s nationality which she would enjoy if her mother had not been married to a man other than her biological father at the time of her birth.

The Home Office initially appealed. But Law Lane Solicitors, representing K, now say that the appeal has been abandoned.

Read more: Freemovement,

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