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In 2006, following the London bombings in 2005, the government was granted power, under S. 40(2) British Nationality Act 1981, to deprive dual-national British citizens of their citizenship if this is considered to be conducive to the public good. This power was rarely used until 2010 but, since then, the Home Secretary, Theresa May, has used it at least 37 times, including against British citizens by birth. Deprivation orders are almost always served while the individual is outside the UK and take immediate effect so that the affected person cannot return to the UK to argue their appeal. Although there is a clear link to counter-terrorism, those deprived of citizenship in this way do not have convictions for terrorist offences and the consequences for them have been drastic. All face permanent exile, two were later killed in US drone strikes while another was rendered to the US. An appeal, which is usually heard partly in secret by the Special Immigration Appeals Commission, is likely to succeed only on grounds that deprivation will make the individual stateless, a protection that the government may now remove at least partially.

While the numbers of people affected are relatively small, the implications of the existence and use of this power are wide-ranging. Deprivation raises questions related to the meaning of citizenship as a political, ethical and legal concept, the right in international law to a nationality and associated privileges, and the human right to live in one’s country of birth and residence. This interdisciplinary one-day seminar will bring together academics, journalists and practitioners to examine the political and legal context of the power of deprivation in the UK, consider the availability of remedies in international and European law, and explore the consequences of making citizenship conditional on a certain standard of behaviour.

Attendance is free but places are limited. Please register to attend via Eventbrite.


9.30 – 10am

Registration and Coffee on 1st Floor Mezzanine, College Building
10 – 10.30am

Welcome and Introduction

Professor Kurt Barling (Journalist, Professor of Journalism Practice, Middlesex University)
Dr Helena Wray (Reader in Law, Middlesex University)
10.30am – 12pm History and Context
Dr Matthew Gibney (Associate Professor in Politics and Forced Migration, Oxford University)
Dr James Hampshire (Senior Lecturer, Sussex University)
12 – 1pm


1 – 2.30pm Current Practice



Alice Ross (Journalist, Bureau of Investigative Journalism)
Amanda Weston (Barrister, Garden Court Chambers)

2.30 – 2.45pm Break
2.45 – 4.15pm Legal Remedies: Statelessness, Human Rights and European Law
Professor Guy Goodwin-Gill (All Souls, Oxford)
Adrian Berry (Barrister, Garden Court Chambers)
Eric Fripp (Barrister, Lamb Building)
4.15 – 5pm The Ethics of Deprivation (Tea and open discussion)
Led by Helena Wray and Matthew Gibney
5pm – close Summary and Conclusion
Professor Brad Blitz (Professor of International Politics, Middlesex University Law School)

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Saturday, 20 July 2024, 2pm to 3pm @ The Crypt Cafe, St Peters Church, Northchurch Terrace, London N1 4DA