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Home Office submits inaccurate witness statement in national security case


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SR, who is from Iraq but settled in the UK in 2002, wants to become a British citizen. The Home Office does not want to grant him citizenship, accusing SR of holding “extremist Islamic beliefs” and raising concerns about “financial irregularities”. The case came to the Special Immigration Appeals Commission, SIAC, because of the national security angle: SR (Naturalisation : Substansive) [2019] UKSIAC SN_71_2018.

Ms Hughes from the Home Office submitted a witness statement about the department’s decision to deny SR citizenship. In the witness statement, she said that she had reviewed the paperwork in SR’s case. But the judges spotted that the document she was referring to, a “minute sheet”, was not about SR at all.

The judges were not best pleased, expressing “our dismay at this turn of events”. They added that SIAC:

relies on the Secretary of State and her representatives to prepare these cases with meticulous care. It is particularly important, also, that applicants, such as SR, who are able to play only a limited part in their appeals and applications, should have complete confidence that the Secretary of State is taking every possible care in the decision making [in] their cases, and in preparing those cases for court.

No arguing with that. No enforcing it, either, given judicial unwillingness to do anything about Home Office malpractice in immigration cases. It is less than a month since the last disclosure scandal, in which officials failed to hand over a file note vital to an unlawful detention claim despite being asked seven times. In that case, deputy High Court judge Margaret Obi said that “there can be no excuse for this poor compliance and it must be deprecated in the strongest possible terms”. So that’s all right, then.

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CJ McKinney

CJ McKinney

CJ McKinney is a specialist on immigration law and policy. Formerly the editor of Free Movement, you will find a lot of articles by CJ here on this website! Twitter: @mckinneytweets.