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Case details

Attorney General (Appellant) v Shannon Tyreck Rolle and 4 others (Respondents) (Bahamas)

Case ID: JCPC 2022/0015

Jurisdiction: Court of Appeal of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas

Case summary

Issue

Does the Constitution of The Bahamas confer citizenship at birth on a person born in The Bahamas who is the child of an unmarried woman who is not a citizen of The Bahamas and a man who is?

Facts

The Respondents were born in The Bahamas. They claim that their biological fathers are citizens of The Bahamas but their mothers are not. Their parents were not married at the dates of their births. They sought declarations from the Supreme Court of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas that they are entitled to citizenship of The Bahamas pursuant to Article 6 of the Constitution.

The Attorney General disputes certain facts underlying the Respondents’ claims for citizenship. However, the Supreme Court decided to determine first whether the Respondents would have citizenship as a matter of law, on the assumption that their claims are factually correct. Final determination of the claims, based on the evidence, was adjourned to allow for any appeal on the legal issue.

On the legal issue the Supreme Court held, departing from previous cases, that a person born in The Bahamas is entitled to citizenship at birth pursuant to Article 6 of the Constitution if either of their biological parents hold citizenship, irrespective of their parents’ marital status.

The Court of Appeal of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas dismissed the Attorney General’s appeal and upheld the Supreme Court’s decision by a majority of three to two. The Attorney General now appeals to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council.

Parties

Appellant(s)

Attorney General

Respondent(s)

Shannon Tyreck Rolle and 4 others

Appeal

Justices

Lord Lloyd-Jones, Lord Leggatt, Lord Burrows, Lord Stephens, Sir Mark Horner (NI)

Hearing start date

17 January 2023

Hearing finish date

17 January 2023

 
Watch hearing
17 January 2023 Morning session Afternoon session