Solange Valdez-Symonds

CEO/Solicitor (Employee)

Solange is PRCBC’s supervising solicitor and CEO.  She is 17 years PQE and has over 20 years experience in nationality and immigration law. Solange is a Law Society Level 3 Advanced Accredited Immigration Supervisor. She delivers training for PRCBC and other umbrella and community organisations. Solange specialises in and is heavily committed to nationality law. In additional to casework and litigation for young people to confirm or register their rights to British citizenship, she utilises her technical and practical expertise and experience in wider policy work and information dissemination.

In 2014, Solange was shortlisted for Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year in the immigration category. Solange is the 2017 Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year in the Children’s Rights category.

Solange contributed to “Citizenship in Times of Turmoil?” (Theory, practice and policy).

Higher Court cases where Solange has acted as instructing solicitor include:

AR v SSHD [2023] EWHC 31 (Admin)
Concerning the meaning of “settled” for the purposes of the British Nationality Act 1981, particularly in the context of children born in the UK to EU citizen parents exercising Treaty rights of free movement. An application for permission to appeal to the Court of Appeal remains pending.

See PRCBC’s practitioners’ note HERE

PRCBC & O v SSHD [2022] UKSC 3; [2021] EWCA Civ 193; [2019] EWHC 3536 (Admin)
Concerning the lawfulness of Home Office’s fees for children to be registered as British citizens. The Supreme Court judgment concerns the lawfulness of a fee that renders nugatory a statutory right by reason of that fee being widely unaffordable. The High Court and Court of Appeal considered that same issue; and also the best interests of children, and related statutory duty, in connection with the setting of a fee for the registration of a child’s right to British citizenship. This litigation has led to the introduction of an exemption from the registration fee for all looked after children and of a waiver of that fee available to children who cannot afford it.

See PRCBC’s practitioners’ note on Children’s Citizenship Fees and judgments (June 2022) HERE

Ojeh v SSHD (CO/4869/2020)
Concerning the lawfulness of Home Office practice on registration of children as British citizens by discretion under section 3(1) of the British Nationality Act 1981; and related Home Office guidance. This and four other claims were settled leading to the Secretary of State amending Home Office guidance on registering children as British citizens under that provision.

See PRCBC’s practitioners’ note HERE

OGA v SSHD (CO/1734/2017)
A challenge to the exclusion from the domestic violence rules in Appendix FM of partners of persons settled in the UK under rules relating to Tier 1 Migrants.

Carlos Cyrus v SSHD [2016] EWHC 918 (Admin)
Concerning the reinstatement of ILR pending a human rights appeal against a decision to deport.

BE (litigation friend) v SSHD [2015] EWHC 905 (Admin)
Concerning an unlawful refusal to register a child as a British citizen on good character grounds.

T v SSHD [2014] EWHC 2453 (Admin)
Concerning the Destitute Domestic Violence Concession and ILR under the Domestic Violence provisions in relation to post-flight spouses of refugees.

Agyeikum v SSHD [2013] EWHC 1828 (Admin)
Concerning fresh claims, mental health and unlawful detention.

JB (Jamaica) v SSHD [2013] EWCA Civ 666
Concerning unlawful detention under the Detained Fast Track (DFT), including the lawfulness of treating Jamaica as a safe country under section 94 of the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002 given the risk of persecution of LGBT+ people in Jamaica. The latter issue was decided by the Supreme Court.

BN v SSHD [2011] EWHC 2367 (Admin)
Securing the return to the UK of a mother separated from her children by her unlawful removal while her fresh claim remained pending.

Ali v SSHD [2007] EWHC 1983 (Admin)
Concerning the Secretary of State’s discretion to register children as British citizens under section 3(1) of the British Nationality Act 1981.