On the 31st of December 2019 Lisa Smith was served with a notice by the British Home Secretary to exclude her from the United Kingdom on the grounds of national security.  Ms Smith appealed against this decision to the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (commonly referred to as SIAC) sitting in London. 

The case was heard on 21st April 2021.  It was an agreed fact between the parties that a national of an EEA state who is not also a British citizen can be excluded from the United Kingdom. Accordingly, Irish nationals or citizens can be excluded, but not those with dual nationality.

Ms Smith argued that she had close family connections to the North of Ireland and often travelled across the border for a variety of reasons.  Crucially, she argued that in any event, her father having been born in Belfast was entitled to be treated as a dual national and by virtue of his dual nationality, it would be unlawful to exclude her from the jurisdiction. 

The appeal raised important issues about the recognition of dual citizenship to those citizens from Northern Ireland and the reflection of same within the Good Friday Agreement.  In particular, the appeal heard that it is discriminatory under the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) to treat those children of unmarried parents any differently, to those of married couples. 

SIAC has today ruled in Lisa Smith’s favour and allowed her appeal.  The decision to exclude Lisa has been determined to be discriminatory and as such the appellant has succeeded in challenging the decision to issue her with an exclusion notice. 

Darragh Mackin, Solicitor for Ms Smith said:

“Today’s ruling is hugely significant for the upholding of basic human rights principles which include the right to be free from discrimination.  The decision to exclude our client was discriminatory and contrary to the basic principles underpinning the Good Friday Agreement. 

As an Irish citizen who resides in a border town, it was always asserted that to restrict her from travelling across the border was unlawful and could not be stood over.  We warmly welcome the Court’s determination today which will now reinstate our client’s basic rights to travel to the North of Ireland at her convenience.” 

ENDS

NOTES:

For all enquries, please contact our Mr Darragh Mackin on darragh@phoenix-law.org or +447704034143. 

Lisa Smith was represented before SIAC by Darragh Mackin and Sinead Marmion of Phoenix Law with Hugh Southey QC and Lara Smyth BL of Counsel. 

The full Judgment can be accessed online or on request.