Shamima Begum: What comes next for east London schoolgirl stripped of British citizenship? | UK News

Shamima Begum’s lawyer Daniel Furner has vowed to “keep fighting” after the 24-year-old lost the latest round of her five-year legal battle following the removal of her British citizenship in 2019. But the specifics are less clear. 

In the unanimous decision to dismiss her attempt to overturn the decision of the lower court – the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC) – three Court of Appeal judges rejected all of her five arguments.

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Moment judge denies Begum appeal

Her lawyers are considering the full 42-page judgment, which they saw for the first time on Friday, and any arguments over its consequences – which could include a bid to appeal against the decision at the Supreme Court – have been adjourned for seven days.

Speaking after the ruling, one of Ms Begum‘s lawyers said it was too soon to say whether they would lodge an appeal at the UK’s highest court but appealed directly to the government to follow in the footsteps of other countries which have repatriated their citizens.

“Every other country has taken their nationals back – France, Germany, Belgium, America, Canada, Australia,” said Gareth Peirce.

“Every country in a comparable position has seen that there is no alternative but to take their nationals back. The UK stands now virtually alone.”

Ms Begum's Daniel Furner and Gareth Peirce (right)

Ms Begum’s legal team Daniel Furner and Gareth Peirce (R)

But Downing Street welcomed the Court of Appeal’s decision and it is impossible to see the government allowing Ms Begum – who remains in a refugee camp in northern Syria following her travel to the country aged 15 – to return to the UK without being forced by the courts.

Ms Begum has no automatic right to bring an appeal in the Supreme Court.

Her lawyers can apply to the Court of Appeal for permission or, if that’s refused, directly to the higher court – which only hears appeals on arguable points of law of “the greatest public importance”.

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Speaking before the judgment, Dr S Chelvan, the head of immigration and public law at 33 Bedford Row chambers, said he would be “very surprised” if there was not “an important point of principle or procedure” that would be argued in the Supreme Court.

Dr Chelvan, who is also an adjunct professor at the University of Southampton, said if Ms Begum loses any Supreme Court appeal, she could make an application to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in Strasbourg.

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