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Terror watchdog review of citizenship deprivation powers


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The Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation, David Anderson QC, has issued a report on citizenship removal resulting in statelessness. There had been no cases during the period covered by the report, 30 July 2014 to 29 July 2015, so the report does not go into any specifics. Anderson instead reviews the legal background to the power and some of the criticisms that have been levelled against it. He notes, for example, that the power is similar to that in force prior to 2003. Between 1949 and 1973 there were apparently 10 cases in which persons who had become citizens by application were rendered stateless by deprivation of British citizenship, after which the power fell into disuse. It is back in vogue, though, with 27 cases between 2006 and February 2014.

Anderson also notes that the power to deprive of British citizenship is a wide one:

A striking feature of the power under review is the breadth of the discretion afforded to the Secretary of State.

He also comments on the absence of a need for judicial approval and reviews many of the criticisms of the power of deprivation of citizenship, including that the power makes law abiding new citizens feel unwelcome and that it is counterproductive because it distracts from tackling domestic terrorism.

An interesting read if you are engaged with these issues.

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Colin Yeo

Immigration and asylum barrister, blogger, writer and consultant at Garden Court Chambers in London and founder of the Free Movement immigration law website.