Written by Mahfuz Ahmed.



A person can apply for naturalisation and become a British Citizen if they satisfy all of the requirements. Some of those requirements include suitability requirements, eligibility requirements and passing the Life in the UK test.


Under the British Nationality Act 1981, it is mandatory that all applicant must satisfy the good character requirement.


Below is a recent case which considers this requirement.


R (on the application of AHN) v Secretary of State for the Home Department


In the case of  R (on the application of AHN) v Secretary of State for the Home Department, the Claimant bought judicial review proceedings against the decision of the SSHD, to refuse the Claimant’s naturalisation application on ‘good character’ grounds.


The claimant was an Afghan nation born in 1973. In 1989, he joined the Hizb-e-Islami (HEI) who were fighting the Russians at the time.


The HEI was responsible for the bombardment of Kabul between 1992 and 1995. The bombardment of Kabul was characterised by the defendant Secretary of State for the Home Department as a war crime or a crime against humanity.


The Claimant entered the UK in 2001 and obtained refugee status in 2004.


The Claimant sought a mandatory order requiring the SSHD to naturalise the Claimant.




The Court did not grant mandatory relief, however the Court granted declaratory relief in respect of the Secretary of State for the Home Department’s failure to have regard to the Claimant’s character over the period from 1996 and the failure to have regard to the 2003 adjudicator’s decision in coming to the conclusion that the claimant was ‘high-ranking.


The Secretary of State for the Home Department confirmed they would reconsider the Claimant’s case.


Our comments


The case shows that when SSHD is giving consideration as to whether an applicant meets the good character requirement, they should give sufficient consideration to a person’s length of time spent after the event, as well as any previous adjudicator decision.


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