United Kingdom - Passport & Nationality - NEW - British Citizenship by Double Descent (Nyasaland by Discretion Pre 1949)
Prior to 1949, British Citizenship could be passed two generations by Descent from a UK-born paternal grandfather. It was only from 1982 onwards was this extended to include descent from a UK-born maternal grandfather (but not in all cases). This meant that claims to British nationality could still not arise from a grandmother (or maternal grandfather) where the applicant was born in a British Protectorate in the years before 1949. Nyasaland (now Malawi) was such a territory before 28.02.1958 and again after the Federal period between 01.01.1964 and 05.07.1964.
So, gender disrimination still persists into the modern day (and a claim to British nationality would not arise) where:
- the applicant was born before 1 January 1949 in Nyasaland, AND
- a grandparent OTHER THAN the paternal grandfather was born in the UK.
The UK Government entered into a treaty with the United Nations some years ago to enshrine equal rights for women. Included in the Treaty is the right for their children (and potentially, their grandchildren) to acquire her citizenship by descent on the same terms as if such a right had come down the paternal side of the family. While the UK has passed legislation to allow such claims, the Home Office has still interpreted this legislation in relation to making claims to British Nationality by descent to be effective only for those born in the first generation. The existing stance of the UK Government therefore did not fully address gender discrimination in relation to citizenship applications.
Philip Gamble, founder and our Senior Partner and widely regarded as the world's leading British nationality expert on the subject, made representations to the Parliamentary sub-committee that looked into this issue. The new legislation appears to properly address the unfairness of the older law. Accordingly, it should be possible to lodge an application if one can demonstrate that - had it not been for gender discrimination in the old law - an applicant would (or could) have British nationality in the modern day.