EFFECT ON A PERSON’S STATUS AS A BRITISH SUBJECT UNDER AUSTRALIAN LAW OF BEING GRANTED A CERTIFICATE OF NATURALISATION IN GERMANY IN 1940
Author: BAILEY Kenneth Hamilton
I refer to your letter herein of the 10th. March, last in which you request advice as to the nationality of X. I assume that X. was of British nationality by virtue of his birth in Australia. It appears that he was granted a certificate of naturalization in Germany in 1940.
(2) It is stated in McNair’s ‘Legal Effects of War’ at page 22 that ‘a British subject, who, when in any foreign state and not under disability, by obtaining a certificate of naturalization or by any other voluntary and formal act, becomes naturalized therein, shall therefore be deemed to have ceased to be a British subject’. He goes on to say (at page 23) that ‘the existence of a state of war places upon this right a limitation which is not very clearly defined.’
(3) From the case of Rex v. Lynch (1903) 1.KB. 444, it appears that a British subject who with traitorous intentions attempts to become naturalized in an enemy State does not lose his British nationality, whether or not he succeeds in obtaining enemy nationality according to the law of the enemy country; his attempt to become naturalized is ineffective. The Court declined to admit ‘that an act of treason can give any rights to any person whatever.’
(4) Whatever X.’s intentions were in seeking naturalization, I incline to the view that he is to be regarded as a British subject under Australian law, notwithstanding the grant to him of a certificate of naturalization in Germany in 1940.
[Vol. 37, p. 552]