Pham v Secretary of State for The Home Department: SC 25 Mar 2015

The court was asked: ‘whether the Secretary of State was precluded under the British Nationality Act 1981 from making an order depriving the appellant of British citizenship because to do so would render him stateless. This turns on whether (within the meaning of article 1(1) of the 1954 Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons) he was ‘a person who is not considered as a national by any state under the operation of its law’. If this issue is decided against him he also seeks to argue that the decision was disproportionate and therefore unlawful under European law.’
Held: The appeal failed, and the matter was remitted to SIAC. The question arising under article 1(1) of the 1954 Convention was not decided solely by reference to the text of the nationality legislation of the state in question. Reference may also be made to the practice of the government, even if not subject to effective challenge in the courts. It had not been established that the appellant would be stateless by operation of ietnamese law.
Lord Mance said that: ‘EU law [is] part of domestic law because Parliament has so willed’ and ‘[t]he question how far Parliament has so willed is thus determined by construing the 1972 Act’ and ‘For a domestic court, the starting point is, in any event, to identify the ultimate legislative authority in its jurisdiction according to the relevant rule of recognition. The search is simple in a country like the United Kingdom with an explicitly dualist approach to obligations undertaken at a supranational level. European law is certainly special and represents a remarkable development in the world’s legal history. But, unless and until the rule of recognition by which we shape our decisions is altered, we must view the United Kingdom as independent, Parliament as sovereign and European law as part of domestic law because Parliament has so willed. The question how far Parliament has so willed is thus determined by construing the 1972 Act.’


Lord Neuberger, President, Lady Hale, Deputy President, Lord Mance, Lord Wilson, Lord Sumption, Lord Reed, Lord Carnwath


[2015] Imm AR 950, [2015] 1 WLR 1591, [2015] UKSC 19, [2015] INLR 593, [2015] WLR(D) 166, [2015] 2 CMLR 49, [2015] 3 All ER 1015, UKSC 2013/0150


Bailii, Bailii Summary, SC, SC Summary, WLRD


British Nationality Act 1981 40(4), 1954 Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons 1(1), European Communities Act 1972


England and Wales


Appeal FromPham v The United States of America Admn 12-Dec-2014
The defendant appealed against an order for his extradition to the USA to face extra-territorial terrorist charges.
Held: The court dismissed the appeal: ‘whether the appellant is a British citizen or not makes no difference to his relevant . .
At SIACB2 v Secretary of State for The Home Department (Deportation – Preliminary Issue – Allowed) SIAC 26-Jul-2012
The appellant was vietnamese by birth, but had later been granted British Citizenship. The Secretary of State came to seek to deprive him of that citizenship on conducive grounds for reasons of national security, and his deportation to Vietnam. The . .
At CA (1)B2 v Secretary of State for The Home Department CA 24-May-2013
Appeal from the Special Immigration Appeals Commission in which the issue was whether the Secretary of State for the Home Department was entitled to deprive a British Citizen originating from Vietnam of British nationality following his alleged . .

Cited by:

CitedMiller and Another, Regina (on The Application of) v Secretary of State for Exiting The European Union SC 24-Jan-2017
Parliament’s Approval if statute rights affected
In a referendum, the people had voted to leave the European Union. That would require a notice to the Union under Article 50 TEU. The Secretary of State appealed against an order requiring Parliamentary approval before issuing the notice, he saying . .
CitedBourgass and Another, Regina (on The Application of) v Secretary of State for Justice SC 29-Jul-2015
The Court considered the procedures when a prisoner is kept in solitary confinement, otherwise described as ‘segregation’ or ‘removal from association’, and principally whether decisions to keep the appellants in segregation for substantial periods . .
CitedYoussef v Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs SC 27-Jan-2016
An Egyptian national, had lived here since 1994. He challenged a decision by the Secretary of State,as a member of the committee of the United Nations Security Council, known as the Resolution 1267 Committee or Sanctions Committee. The committee . .
CitedCherry, Reclaiming Motion By Joanna Cherry QC MP and Others v The Advocate General SCS 11-Sep-2019
(First Division, Inner House) The reclaimer challenged dismissal of her claim for review of the recent decision for the prorogation of the Parliament at Westminster.
Held: Reclaim was granted. The absence of reasons allowed the court to infer . .
CitedMichalak v General Medical Council and Others SC 1-Nov-2017
Dr M had successfully challenged her dismissal and recovered damages for unfair dismissal and race discrimination. In the interim, Her employer HA had reported the dismissal to the respondent who continued their proceedings despite the decision in . .
CitedAR, Regina (on The Application of) v Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police and Another SC 30-Jul-2018
The appellant had been tried for and acquitted on a criminal charge. He now challenged the disclosure by the respondent of the charge in an Enhanced Criminal Record Certificate.
Held: His appeal failed. The critical question was whether the . .
CitedMicula and Others v Romania SC 19-Feb-2020
The appellant sought to enforce a international arbitration award against the respondent. The award was made under an arrangement which later became unlawful on Romania’s accession to the EU, and Romania obtained s stay pending resolution by the . .
CitedElgizouli v Secretary of State for The Home Department SC 25-Mar-2020
Defendants were to face trial in the US, accused of monstrous crimes. The appellant challenged the release of information to the USA by the respondent to support such prosecutions when the death penalty was a possible outcome of a conviction: ‘The . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Immigration, Human Rights, European, Constitutional

Leading Case

Updated: 07 August 2022; Ref: scu.544726