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AA is a national of Algeria who was refused naturalisation to become a British citizen in 2010 because he did not meet the requirement of ‘good character’.

AA first came to the UK in 1995 and five years later, in June 2010, he unsuccessfully applied for naturalisation. In June 2010, he received a letter stating that the UK Border Agency was not satisfied that he was of ‘good character’. His request for reconsideration was refused in 2011.

In 2014, AA sought to challenge the SIAC decision. He argued that the Secretary of State acted unlawfully when she refused his naturalisation without disclosing the reasons underpinning the decision as well as not giving him the chance to answer to the case put against him that impacted his reputation. As is the now common practice in these cases, AA’s case was built up almost entirely on information that the Secretary of State did not wish to make public. Consequently, a closed hearing followed.

AA does not have an Algerian passport and cannot travel to Algeria to visit his elderly mother because his visa requests are refused. Refusing him naturalisation has affected both his mental health as well as his reputation. SIAC refused to agree that the decision in any way infringed on his Article 8 as, following on from previous judgements (AHK v Secretary of State for Home Department [2013] EWHC 1426), a breach of Article 8 requires an arbitrary or discriminatory refusal which these cases do not qualify under.

While AA’s mental health disorder is not spelled out, there is mention from a psychiatrist about ‘psychotic symptoms’. AA himself said in the court:

“to deal with the fact that I am being maligned with secret accusations by secret agencies, and that my reputation is attacked without any way for me to meaningfully defend myself; this takes a heavy toll on me”

SIAC did not find AA’s arguments sufficient and rejected his challenge to the refusal of his naturalisation.