Natasha appeared for the Secretary of State in this high profile appeal, which has already been to the Supreme Court on the issue of deprivation and citizenship (Pham v SSHD [2015] UKSC 19). The Appellant was a Vietnamese national by birth and a committed Islamist extremist. In 2011, he travelled to Yemen where he received terrorist training before returning to the UK with the intention of detonating a bomb at the arrivals area at Heathrow Airport.

The Secretary of State had deprived the Appellant of his British nationality, under section 40(2) British Nationality Act 1980, on the basis that deprivation was conducive to the public good. Since that decision, the Appellant had been sentenced in the U.S. to 40 years’ imprisonment for terror offences. The Secretary of State subsequently applied, successfully, to strike out his appeal against the deprivation order on the basis that it had no realistic prospects of success. The issue for the Court of Appeal was whether deprivation action was appropriate when an individual no longer posed a risk to nationality security, in the Appellant’s case by virtue of his imprisonment in the U.S.

The Court of Appeal held that a person could be deprived of his status as a British citizen on the ground that it was conducive to the public good, on the basis that he had repudiated his obligation of loyalty to the UK, even where he did not pose a current risk to national security. It also concluded that SIAC’s power to strike out an appeal was not limited to appeals where there were no reasonable grounds or an abuse of process. It was entitled to consider incontrovertible evidence at a preliminary stage. The appeal was dismissed.

Natasha Barnes was led in this matter by Robin Tam QC and a copy of the judgment can be found here.