Hiri v Secretary of State for The Home Department: Admn 18 Feb 2014

The Claimant applied for judicial review of the Defendant’s decision to refuse his application for naturalisation as a British citizen, and subsequently confirmed on review. The reason for refusal was that the Defendant was not satisfied that he met the ‘good character’ requirement for naturalisation because of his conviction for a speeding offence which would not be ‘spent’ under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 until 17th November 2016. He had been driving at 81mph in a temporary 50mph section of a motorway.
Held: The claim succeeded. The decision was not irrational, but had erred on concentrating solely on the conviction: ‘ in deciding whether an applicant for naturalisation meets the requirement that ‘he is of good character’, for the purposes of the British Nationality Act 1981, the Defendant must consider all aspects of the applicant’s character. The statutory test is not whether applicants have previous criminal convictions – it is much wider in scope than that. In principle, an applicant may be assessed as a person ‘of good character’, for the purposes of the 1981 Act, even if he has a criminal conviction. Equally, he may not be assessed as a person ‘of good character’ even if he does not have a criminal conviction. ‘ The respondent had ignored unusually strong evidence of good character.

Lang DBE J
[2014] EWHC 254 (Admin)
Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974, British Nationality Act 1981 6(1)

Immigration, Crime

Updated: 29 November 2021; Ref: scu.521402