Legal Research on Good Character requirement

Remedial Order: Persons born out of wedlock and the “Good Character” requirement including persons born to British women outside the UK before 1 January 1983

The Joint Committee on Human Rights will examine Government proposal on the British Nationality Act 1981 (Remedial) Order 2018 before both Houses of Parliament. The last day by which to send submissions is 16 April 2018. For more information, please see:

For basic understanding on children born out of wedlock and the ‘good character’ requirement, see LegalVoice article:

For copy of PRCBC’s letter to the Minister, 8 January 2018:

illegitimacy_good character letter

For copy of Minister’s reply  received in February 2018:

Reply to illegitimacy good character letter

For joint letter of PRCBC and Amnesty UK sent to the Minister in connection with remedial order and temporary arrangements:

Illegitimacy-remedial order letter- April 2018

Solange Valdez-Symonds

Solicitor and PRCBC Director

April 2018


Good Character Research funded by SLF

The Project for the Registration of Children as British Citizens (PRCBC), which is hosted by Migrant Resource Centre (MRC), is pleased to announce it is undertaking legal research into the impact on children and young people who apply to register as British citizens of the requirement that they be of “good character”.  

PRCBC’s experience has shown this requirement presents a significant and growing obstacle to some of the most vulnerable young people and prevents them obtaining a safe and settled future for themselves.  The research is funded by the Strategic Legal Fund (SLF).

Registration of children as British citizens is vital to enable children who have a strong connection to the UK, who are born in the UK without British citizenship or who come to the UK at an early age and grow up here, to become British citizens and to feel they fully belong to the society in which they live. The good character requirement applies to all registration applications by children age 10 and over except those who are recognized as stateless.  The ‘good character’ requirement for children is applied in exactly the same way as it is to adults seeking naturalisation under the discretion provisions or registration by entitlement.  Since the introduction of the good character requirement, it is estimated that over 400 children have been refused citizenship for this reason. The research team consists of

Dr. Carol Bohmer, Visiting Scholar at Dartmouth College, USA and Teaching Fellow at King’s College, London;

Solange Valdez-Symonds, solicitor at MRC and director of PRCBC; and

Amanda Weston and Team at Garden Court Chambers.

Our research will use interviews to draw directly on the experience of young people who have been affected by the requirement. We will also draw on data from our own case files as well as information obtained from experts working in criminal justice, in children’s services and other relevant legal areas. The research will examine the good character requirement in the light of legal duties owed to children in domestic and international law and the overall immigration law context. It is anticipated that the results of the research will be made publicly available and will support strategic litigation.

We are interested in hearing from any young person who has been affected by the good character requirement or anyone working with such persons.  To get in touch or for more information, please contact Solange Valdez-Symonds, e-mail:

In the alternative, you may wish to complete our questionnaire_lawyers_2016

Thank you.


See also June article  on the Good character requirement in the Legal Voice here


Systemic obstacles in the registration of children as British Citizens

This legal research was funded by the Strategic Legal Fund for Vulnerable Young Migrants (SLF). The research looked at the following three key issues:

First Issue: the mandatory registration application fee, and absence of fee waivers for those children who are unable to afford this

Second Issue: the current Secretary of State’s policy guidance on registration of children under the discretionary powers given to her under s3(1) of the British Nationality Act 1981 i.e. Chapter 9 of the Nationality Instructions

Third Issue: the lack of adequate reasons given by the Secretary of State in relation to refusal of applications under her discretionary powers.


PRCBC note on presentation at workshop  on “Children and Citizenship” organised by Bristol University, 4 December 2015,  Paul Hamlyn Foundation