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L1

L1 became a British citizen in 2003. While him and his family were spending their summer holidays in Sudan, back in the UK the Home Secretary signed an order depriving L1 of his citizenship – an order she had been waiting to issue once L1 was abroad.

L1 was born in 1971 in Sudan. He first arrived to the UK in 1991 as an asylum seeker and became British through naturalisation in 2003. L1 is married to a Sudanese national and they have four young children, all of whom are British citizens. In July 2010 the family traveled to Sudan to spend the summer holidays visiting relatives and planned to return to the UK in time for their children’s school start. But only four days after the family left England, Theresa May sent a notice informing L1’s of his citizenship deprivation to their family address in London, knowing that they were in Sudan. In fact, this is one of the few cases were the Home Office has admitted intentionally waiting with a citizenship deprivation order until the individual was abroad – for the very purpose of a more efficient exclusion from the UK.

Because L1 was abroad when the letter informing him of his citizenship deprivation was sent to his home, he missed his 28-day window for appeal. SIAC did not accept his late incoming appeal and concluded in their judgement that L1 was ‘not prevented by external circumstances from giving notice of appeal in time’. This needs to be understood in the context of the Home Secretary’s decision of waiting with taking away citizenship from L1 until he was abroad. In a turn of events favourable to L1, the Royal Courts of Justice subsequently ruled that SIAC was wrong not to allow L1’s late appeal. Furthermore, they argued that Theresa May abused her power when intentionally waiting for L1 to leave the country before serving him a deprivation order. The legal case of L1 went through several years of proceedings, eventually being dismissed in 2014. Because the final ruling is missing from the SIAC archive no more information is available on this case.

While SIAC asserts that it takes into consideration the affects that their decisions have on the families of the Appellants, in the case of L1 the severe consequences his exclusion implied for his British children was considered justified.

Key sources

Court of Appeal (2013) L1 and The Secretary of State for the Home Department, [2013] EWCA Civ 906

SIAC (2010) L1 and Secretary of State for the Home Department, Appeal No: SC/100/2010 (3rd dec 2010)

SIAC (2013) L1 and The Secretary of State for the Home Department, Appeal No: SC/100/2010 (18th Dec 2013)

SIAC (2013) L1 and The Secretary of State for the Home Department, Appeal No: SC/100/2010, (8-9th May 2014)