[2015] UKHC 1611 (Admin)

The Claimant had applied when aged 17 for registration as a British citizen, but had been refused registration on account of a conditional discharge for possession of cannabis. The question for the Court was whether (i) the policy relating to ‘good character’ in registration applications for children aged 16 and 17 is irrational and/or discriminatory; (ii) whether he policy is compatible with the requirement to have regard to the best interests of the child; and (iii) whether the policy was lawfully applied in any event in SA’s case. The Court found for the Claimant on all grounds, and took the opportunity to give important guidance on the correct approach to ‘good character’ requirements when applied to a child; also to the need to give cogent reasons if difference age-groups of children are to be treated differently; also to the applicability of Article 8 in nationality contexts (a matter which was fundamentally disputed by the Secretary of State). The Court declared the Secretary of State’s then applicable policy on good character of children to be unlawful.

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