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UK Supreme Court Decision R v Johnson. Hey News Flash to HMG and Territories Governments


The Supreme Court has decided that the historic failure of British nationality law to confer automatic citizenship on a child born out of wedlock was discriminatory, it has continuing consequences which breached a person’s human rights in a discriminatory way and that denying such a person British citizenship now is unlawful should they request it. The fact of the person’s later criminal offending was not relevant because the injustice had occurred at birth.

R (on the application of Johnson) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2016] UKSC 56.

As Lady Hale, giving the judgment of the Court, points out:

"The child is not responsible for the marital status of his parents or the date of his birth, yet it is he who suffers the consequences."

"It is clear, therefore, that the denial of citizenship, having such an important effect upon a person’s social identity, is sufficiently within the ambit of article 8 to trigger the application of the prohibition of discrimination in article 14."

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