Lead Research Organisation: University of Bristol
Department Name: Law


In recent times, changes of law have adversely affected long term British residents and British citizens, preventing exercise of several citizenship rights. For example, from July last year, British citizens became unable to bring their dependent non- European Economic Area (EEA) elderly parents to join them in Britain, but for under highly restrictive and exceptional circumstances. Non-EEA spouses and children of British citizens are also unable to join them in Britain unless stringent base earnings requirements are met. Stripping people of citizenship through deprivation proceedings is also a new development.
Such change (and its contestation by '"quasi-citizens") takes place in the legal "juridical field" by virtue of the prominence of law and its practice. However, in the UK at present, there are no comprehensive empirical studies of the role of law and lawyers in citizenship-related issues. Migration studies tend to focus on refugees and asylum seekers.
This 3 year inter-disciplinary research project will address critical issues relating to immigration law and its practice by focusing on the practice of law for long term British residents who are deprived of full substantive citizenship rights and thereby remain "quasi-citizens". Through this study it will be possible to analyze how far British citizenship has changed in recent times, as well as the implications of these changes for long term residents and the legal field. The legal field, as the arena for both contesting and constituting changes to citizenship, will be explored using French social scientist Pierre Bourdieu's concept of the juridical field, while employing mapping and social network analysis.
The project will cross a number of disciplines and integrate social insights of multiple stakeholders through in-depth qualitative interviews with lawyers, case workers and focus groups, as well as ethnographic fieldwork at law centres. Through analysis of ties between, and contributions of, different immigration stake-holders (such as the government, lawyers, case workers, policy makers, regulators and civil society bodies), the project is directed both towards generating socio-legal academic scholarship and towards increasing the capacity of the legal profession so that it can work more effectively for the full inclusion of long term British residents into British society in compliance with the rule of law. Ultimately this will help foster a fairer, more just and inclusive society, and thus it directly addresses ESRC's strategic priority of a Vibrant and Fair Society.
Additionally, the project will enable the PI's participation in inter-disciplinary research networks on citizenship theory and immigration law practice, both in the UK and elsewhere, thereby consolidating her position as an emerging expert in this field and building upon her earlier work on lawyers and the rule of law in the UK and the USA (Prabhat 2008, 2011).
The various dimensions of the project are:
1. Research visits to Centre on Migration, Policy, and Society, (COMPAS) Oxford University, Center for Comparative Immigration Studies, San Diego, USA, and to the Migration and Diversity Centre, VU University, Amsterdam.
2. Interviews and fieldwork with lawyers and case workers
3. Mapping and social networks analysis, alongside the creation of an interactive website for on-going research, reflection and co-production of knowledge with multiple stakeholders.
4. Impact activity, including collaborations on practical legal education guided by an Impacts Advisory Board, which will include experts on practical legal education from Law Schools at the University of Kent, University of Liverpool and New York University.

Planned Impact


(a) Group 1 - The government (via the Ministry of Justice, the Home Office and the Joint Committee on Human Rights), the regulators of the legal profession in England & Wales (the SRA and the Legal Services Board) and the membership organization the Immigration Law Practitioners Association (ILPA) need to be able to understand: i. the implications of legal changes in nationality laws; ii. the role and conduct of lawyers in the field of immigration law iii. the resources available for representation and iv. human rights implications of legal changes and representation in this area.
The policy briefings, website entries and articles will benefit Group 1 by offering a study, based on rigorous empirical research, of how lawyers perceive their role and function. This group will also benefit from the two day symposium in Year 3 of the project, which will offer them a space in which to interact with other stakeholders (in particular, academics and legal professionals). Promoting a shared and better understanding of the nature of the complex issues linked to nationality laws in immigration legal practice will enhance the likelihood that the various stakeholders involved will be able to work together to achieve better regulation in the future.

(b) Group 2 - Legal professionals in various sites of practice (such as law centres, legal aid firms and NGOs), will benefit from analysis of what constitutes and aids effective lawyering in this area. Research generated by this project will lead to practice advice for legal professionals who seek to be reflective and critical of their own work practices. The PI will produce a briefing paper on best practice in "quasi-citizenship" cases. This group will also benefit from the development of a training workshop for lawyers and from the project website which will connect lawyers to each other and to civil society actors and legal academics. This group will also benefit from the reflective space generated by the interviews and focus groups, in which they can take the time to think about their work.

(c) Group 3 - Civil society bodies working in the area of migration will benefit from opportunities to reflect on more effective collaboration with lawyers and how to frame legal issues; an area for which legal aid has been cut. This group will also benefit from the project website which will connect them to legal practitioners and academics thereby facilitating pro bono (free legal services). The public lecture in Year 3 of the project and the media articles written during the lifetime of the project will benefit this group by assisting them in framing legal issues.

(d) Group 4- Quasi-citizens and the general public. This project will contribute to public information and debate in this area through media (traditional and social) participation, as well as direct dissemination of findings (public lecture). Media coverage of immigration issues and of lawyers is often negative. Media outreach aspects of this project will bring into the public domain other images of both lawyers and long term residents, thereby facilitating public debates.
Description Through this grant I was able to gather data on the legal profession's role in nationality and immigration advice and investigate the specialist nature of nationality legal practice. I found out that nationality practitioners were specialised by geography (large, urban neighbourhoods), kind of clientele (professional or unskilled) and also knowledge of niche areas of law (such as registration processes). Using this data my RA and I wrote a peer reviewed paper 'The practice of nationality law: a specialization at the margins?' which is now published with Oñati Socio-Legal Series. I have been able to trace the links between nationality and national security in my prize winning (2017; Peter Birks award) monograph Unleashing the Force of Law: Legal Mobilization, National Security, and Basic Freedoms (Palgrave 2016) and also in an article in the peer reviewed journal Law Culture and the Humanities titled: Political Context and Meaning of British Citizenship: Cancellation as a National Security Measure. These publications report on how loss of citizenship has increasingly become a mechanism of ongoing immigration control of certain sections of migrant-citizen populations. In terms of gaining citizenship, I identified children's citizenship acquisition as a critical missing piece of the research puzzle on British citizenship and worked closely with practitioners and NGOs to work on campaigns, write policy briefs, work on education and write research publications (e,g, Bettering the Best Interests of the Child Determination: Of Checklists and Balancing Exercises
Prabhat, D. & Hambly, J. C. Nov 2017 In : International Journal of Children's Rights. 25, 3-4, p. 754-778 and policy briefs : Registering children as British citizens: current laws require overhaul and Prabhat, D., Hambly, J. C. & Valdez , S. 2 Nov 2015 Policy Bristol , 17 2 p. Children's British Citizenship: exposing the barriers to registration: Policy Report 4/2016
Prabhat, D., Hambly, J. & Valdez , S. 2016 Policy Bristol Policy Report). Another article on children's citizenship is forthcoming 2018 (co-authored with Hambly): A brave new British citizenry? Reconceptualising the acquisition of British citizenship by children: Studies in Law, Politics and Society. Through these publications and the activities set out in the narrative impact statement: there is significant scope of impact in this area and the setting of a future research agenda on child welfare and citizenship. In terms of the third objective of looking at the holding of citizenship rights, I am the editor of a book (Elgar. forthcoming 2018) which is on various citizenship rights which are under peril in current times. The contributors are academic and practitioners who met in a workshop organised through this project funding and who work on various aspects of citizenship holding: for instance my piece is on immigration control through medical professionals, housing agents and employers. The book will present a new way of looking at citizenship as a core agenda in migration studies. I have also written a book (accepted, in press, publication date March 28, 2018) on people's experiences of nationality processes and the links with belonging. This goes beyond the original research objectives of viewing the study through the lens of lawyers and was part funded by my university. The book is Britishness, Belonging, and Citizenship: Experiencing Nationality Law Prabhat, D. 2017 Bristol, UK : Policy Press: Bristol. 128 p and its e version will be available open source for all. I have also, through this project, engaged with wider networks on migration and cultural studies, leading to an article in Journal of Law & Society named 'BorrowMyDoggy.com': Rethinking peer to peer exchange for genuine sharing
Prabhat, D. 2018(Accepted/In press) which looks at how cultural citizenship may be enhanced through peer to peer engagement.
Exploitation Route My book Britishness, Belonging, and Citizenship: Experiencing Nationality Law Prabhat, D. 2017 Bristol, UK : Policy Press: Bristol. 128 p (accepted, in press, publication date March 28, 2018) on people's experiences of nationality processes and the links with belonging even goes beyond the original research objectives of viewing the study through the lens of lawyers and was part funded by my university. Its e version will be available open source for all and will be useful for policy makers (Home office, educators, campaign groups). My findings are feeding into a proposed H2020 study on Migrant children and education. Amnesty International and other organisations have already utilised some of my findings (see impact narrative).
Sectors Communities and Social Services/Policy,Education,Government, Democracy and Justice

Description Research in Prabhat's ESRC funded project on British Citizenship identified children are a special category for purposes of immigration and citizenship. Their special situation is recognised in the legal framework with special citizenship pathways in law (e.g. S.3 of the British Nationality Act) and the requirement in law of their best interests to be considered in all immigration, nationality and asylum matters (section 55 of the Borders Citizenship and Immigration Act). Work with NGO partners Project for the Registration of Children as British Citizens, and Just for Kids Law, establishes that long term resident children require secure legal status in order to flourish. A secure legal status affirms their social identity as British and offers them access to higher education. Work with other partners such as Citizens UK demonstrates that, similarly, unaccompanied migrant children who are coping with uncertainty of life situations require stable legal statuses such as secure refugee status leading to indefinite leave or discretionary citizenship in order to become grounded in the UK. Impact being claimed Prabhat, collaborating with Bristol City Council, Citizens UK, the Project for the Registration of Children as British Citizens, Unicef, Just for Kids Law, and other solicitors, barristers, local authorities, UN Bodies, and Amnesty International, has critiqued the current framework on pathways to citizenship for children who have lived in their formative years in the UK or arrived here unaccompanied by adults and suggested legal reforms in line with the best interests of the child (UN Convention on Rights of the Child) and the Children Act 2004. Prabhat's ESRC Project on Citizenship identified the gap between legal policy and practice in a number of policy briefs and in academic articles published in leading journals. She led a widening participation programme in local school on children's citizenship in 2017. In 2017 she also submitted evidence to this Home Office consultation on children's best interests. She designed an online training website on citizenship for young people and children which is being widely used by NGOs and Children's Rights activists: http://www.childrenbritishcitizenship.co.uk/ Research in Practice has promoted the website to their partners (over 100 councils / voluntary sector orgs across England) Basis of Impact case study work: 1. Produced training website, book on policy, and two policy briefs with Project for Registration of Children as British Citizens at Policy Bristol with our policy suggestions based on our research (participant observation at law centre where the PRCBC operates and interview data). Briefs published early November 2015 and February 2016. 2. Organized workshops with key stakeholders in London and in Bristol to discuss the policy suggestions and generate a plan of action including a campaign plan with Amnesty, Unicef, the Children's Commissioner and Paul Hamlyn Foundation (4 December 2015 London). 3. Published a follow-up evidence document with Policy Bristol after the workshop with stakeholders (2016). 4. Article for International Journal of Children's Rights (published 2017). 5. Thinking Futures Event on British Citizenship (Nov 11 2016) to engage various stakeholders. 6. Follow up standard bid submitted to ESRC. Evidence in Support Evidence of Impact is in terms of emails from various stakeholders and from inclusion in recommendations made to the Committee on United Nations Convention on Rights of the Child and Evidence given to Home office. Her work has changed NGO practice (such as shaping campaign issues: evidenced by emails and letters) and is being picked up regularly in academic and practitioner blogs and social media. Training use of website is being tracked to evidence research impact.
First Year Of Impact 2015
Sector Education,Government, Democracy and Justice
Impact Types Cultural,Societal,Policy & public services

Description ESRC Impact Acceleration Funding
Amount £20,100 (GBP)
Organisation Economic and Social Research Council 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 10/2016 
End 07/2017
Description Panel Event on Children's Rights 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact A Panel Presentation on Children's Right to Nationality and Secure Legal Status by
Dragan Nastic, Public Affairs, Unicef.
Ann Singleton, Senior Research Fellow in School for Policy Studies, University of Bristol
Devyani Prabhat, Lecturer, University of Bristol Law School, PI ESRC Citizenship Project.
The three speakers will present their work on children's rights in three different contexts (statelessness, child asylum seekers and children applying for nationality) and then open up the session for Q&A.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/childrens-rights-and-nationality-tickets-31442481308?utm_term=eventur...
Description Stories of Migration and Citizenship 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Third sector organisations
Results and Impact http://policybristol.blogs.bris.ac.uk/2016/12/19/sharing-stories-of-migration-and-belonging/ describes the event
The event is now leading to a policy related book on citizenship and also plans for further collaboration
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://policybristol.blogs.bris.ac.uk/2016/12/19/sharing-stories-of-migration-and-belonging/
Description Widening Participation on Children's Nationality at a number of Bristol and Bath state schools 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Bristol University Law School students in the Citizenship Unit taught by me taught a session on children's citizenship in numerous schools in Bristol and Bath as widening participation on law and awareness of children's citizenship rights. The event is leading to an online training module being developed for use by schools and local councils all over the country.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
Description Workshop in London on Registration of Children as British Citizens 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The workshop has generated practice evidence in the area and connected academic research to research impact. It has led to collaborations with 3rd sector partners.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL http://www.bristol.ac.uk/law/events/2015/policy-workshop-citizenship.html