Retention of a British passport

Retention of a British passport


CategoryNews Author Zane Malik QC Date

The High Court hands down its judgment in R (Xhelilaj) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2021] EWHC 408 (Admin).

The Claimant, by this Judicial Review claim, sought an order requiring the Secretary of State to return his British passport. The Secretary of State had retained that passport as she was not satisfied as to the Claimant’s true identity and entitlement to British citizenship. The Secretary of State had made a decision not to deprive the Claimant of his British citizenship despite concerns as to his true identity and the Claimant argued that it was unlawful, in these circumstances, for the Secretary of State to retain his British passport.

The Court, dismissing the arguments made by the Claimant, holds that:

(1) The Secretary of State is not prevented from impugning the Claimant’s identity because of her previous decision not to deprive the Claimant of British citizenship, and that the Secretary of State has acted rationally: see [62]-[72].

(2) There is no issue estoppel for the Secretary of State to be restrained from impugning the Claimant’s identity: see [73]-[76].

(3) The Secretary of State has acted in accordance with the Written Ministerial Statement for British passports: [78]-[80].

(4) The Secretary of State has “indeed produced substantial, well-founded and cogent reasons for withholding the Claimant’s passport”: see [88].

(5) There is no breach of Article 8: see [90].

The High Court’s judgment is available here.

Zane Malik appeared for the Defendant, the Secretary of State for the Home Department.


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