• Monday, August 15, 2022

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UK appeal court rules high child citizenship fee as ‘unlawful’

FILE PHOTO: The £1,012 citizenship charges has left children feeling “alienated and excluded”, a court heard

By: Pramod Thomas

The high fees of £1,012 that children or their parents are expected to pay to secure British citizenship was ruled unlawful by an appeal court in the UK.

The Home Office charges £1,012 for a child to register for citizenship. The cost of the process is just £372, reported The Guardian.

According to the report, children who have a right to register as  citizens may be prevented from doing so because of the high cost or lack of access to legal advice risk losing out on rights and benefits.

The court on Thursday(18) found that ministers had failed to assess and consider the impact of this fee on children and their rights.

In December 2019, a high court judge ruled that the fee was unlawful after finding it prevented many children from being registered for citizenship, leaving them feeling “alienated, second-best and not fully assimilated into the culture and social fabric of the UK”.

The Home Office appealed against the high court’s ruling that the department had failed in its duty to assess the best interests of children and give primary consideration to these interests in setting the fee, the report said.

The court of appeal rejected the appeal. The department must now reconsider the fee and ensure that children’s best interests while forming new fee structure, the Guardian report added.

Carol Bohmer, the chair of the Project for the Registration of Children as British Citizens, which brought the case, told the newspaper that she was ‘delighted’ the courts had again held that the ‘scandalously high’ fee was unlawful.

Bohmer, along with the project’s founder, Solange Valdez Symonds, have been campaigning for eight years to reform citizenship fees for children.

A Home Office spokesperson said that the office acknowledges the court’s ruling and will review child registration fees in due course.

Eastern Eye

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