Y (Children In Care: Change of Nationality): CA 6 Aug 2020

Proceedings for LA to change child’s nationality

Two children taken into care were of Indian nationality, though born in the UK. The LA wanted to apply for UK nationality so as to regularise their immigration status. The parents objected. The parents now appealed from rejection of their requests for the discharge of the long standing care orders.
Held: The appeals failed. Section 33 of the 1989 Act did not give power to the LA to apply for UK citizenship. Incidents of this sort might arise regularly but in different factual circumstances. An LA should apply to the High Court requesting it to exercise its inherent jurisdiction. Such a decision was fundamental to a child’s future and required the most careful consideration. Parents in such situations might have additional difficulties in challenging a decision made by the LA, and the children should also have a clear voice.
The court below should have said that this decision needed fresh proceedings in a request for the Court to exercise its inherent jurisdiction.

McCombe, King, Peter Jackson LJJ
[2020] EWCA Civ 1038, [2020] WLR(D) 460
Bailii, WLRD
Children Act 1989 33
England and Wales

Children, Immigration

Updated: 01 November 2021; Ref: scu.653067