Employment and Immigration Law Update - Shamima Begum

30 July 2020

The Court of Appeal has ruled that Shamima Begum, the former UK school girl, who travelled to Syria to join ISIS at the age of 15, should be permitted to return to the UK to challenge the removal of her British Citizenship.

Begum will be launching a Judicial Review against the High Court and Special Immigration Appeals Commission’s decision that the removal of her citizenship was lawful. A person cannot be deprived of citizenship if it would render them stateless to do so. Sajid Javid, the Home Secretary who undertook the decision argued that Ms Begum is entitled to Bangladeshi citizenship, although the Bangladeshi authorities have raised objections to this.

The Court of Appeal agreed with Ms Begum’s legal team that she could not effectively pursue her application for judicial review, including access to effective legal advice, in her current situation, in a refugee camp in Kurdish controlled Syria. They held that it is in the interests of justice that she be allowed to return to bring her case. She may still be arrested and detained on entry to the UK.

The Home Office can still apply for permission to appeal to the Supreme Court. We anticipate it is likely to try and do so, as this case will have implications for the Government’s policy of depriving dual national IS supporters of their British nationality whilst they are out of the UK.

This article is from the July 2020 issue of Employment and Immigration Law Update, our monthly newsletter for HR professionals. To download the latest issue, please visit the newsletter section of our website. For further information please contact Clare Hedges or another member of Birketts' Immigration Team.

The content of this article is for general information only. It is not, and should not be taken as, legal advice. If you require any further information in relation to this article please contact the author in the first instance. Law covered as at July 2020.


Clare Hedges

Senior Associate - Head of Immigration

+44 (0)1223 326605

+44 (0)7581 150137