Woman Fends Off Impostor Claim to Win British Citizenship

Immigration officers are rightly watchful to ensure that only those who are entitled to British citizenship succeed in obtaining it. However, in one case, the Home Office’s arguments that a woman

who claimed to have been born in Oxford 50 years ago was in fact an impostor were rejected by the High Court.

The woman faced claims that she was not the same person as a baby of the same name who was born at a hospital in the city in 1968. Her mother had taken her to Pakistan in 1972 and inquiries proved that a girl of the same name had attended school there and been issued with an identity card. The Home Office, however, refused to recognise the woman’s citizenship on the basis that gaps and inconsistencies in official records indicated that she and the baby were different people.

In upholding the woman’s challenge to that refusal, the Court accepted the reliable and compelling testimony of a man who had run a successful business in Oxford and had served as a magistrate in the city. He said that he recognised the woman as the half-sister with whom he had been brought up in Oxford. There was also DNA evidence that showed, amongst other things, that the woman was 11 times more likely to be the businessman’s half-sister than to be unrelated to him.

There was no evidence that the businessman had made an honest mistake in identifying the woman or that there was some family conspiracy to obtain citizenship for the wrong woman. In the circumstances, the Court was satisfied that the woman and the baby born in Oxford were one and the same. Home Office lawyers had earlier agreed that, if that was the case, the woman was entitled to citizenship.

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