Pro Bono Project: Belonging

In partnership with PositiveNegatives, Kids in Need of Defense UK and The Project for the Registration of Children as British Citizens (PRCBC) , we have launched Belonging. Belonging is a pro bono initiative, in part focused on raising awareness of the citizenship law rights of the children of Swiss and EEA national parents living in the UK. Brexit has caused a spike in people making decisions around citizenship. Through a series of three communication tools, we hope to be able to better equip people with the right knowledge to make these decisions.

This area of law is complex. It is also surprising. People born in the UK will not always automatically be British citizens. If your sibling is a British citizen, you might not necessarily be. In order to safeguard the future of children under their care, parents and guardians need to understand their options and rights to live in the UK, and how we can best protect them.

Along with our partners, we have been working to highlight the complexities in this area and encourage people to seek specialist legal advice.

What we are doing

A Comic

We wanted to make sure that this vital knowledge reached the people who needed it most –where the impact could be devastating if they did not understand their rights to live in the UK, and how best to protect them. Our target audience was children and young people.

We collaborated with PositiveNegatives and PRCBC to create a comic to raise awareness of the right to British citizenship for children of Swiss and EEA nationals living in the UK. Taking the form of a comic, we are able to gain a level of readership among our target audience which we would not be able to generate using a standard legal document about nationality law.

Our story follows Ana, a 17 year old who wants to change the world. She was born in Spain, and her Mum brought her to live in the UK when she was a baby. Since then, she has studied hard, wants to work in politics, and the first step on her journey is to register to vote in the next general election. Her brother and sister were born in England and want to go on a school trip to France, but they need a passport first. They apply for British passports, but only one is accepted. Why? The comic follows the journey of the family and how British citizenship law affects them.

Here are some frames from the comic – see the comic in full below, as well as two short videos. The artist is Gabi Froden.

Click here to see the comic.

A leaflet

In order to get the message to children, we need to focus on parents, carers and legal guardians too. Alongside the comic, we have co-written a leaflet with PRCBC to give a legal insight into British citizenship law.

Click here to view the leaflet.



Our third resource is a detailed article, co-authored with Kids in Need of Defense UK. The article provides an overview of the different immigration law and separately, the citizenship options for children, their parents, and family members who are EU nationals, living in the UK.

The article was first published on 10 April 2019 and updated on 25 September 2019. It is not maintained for subsequent changes in law.

Click here to view the article.

The Belonging Breakfast Briefing

Hogan Lovells hosted the Belonging Breakfast Briefing to raise awareness of the citizenship rights of the children of EEA and Swiss nationals, living in the UK. Introduced by Susan Bright, the event included talks from PositiveNegatives about using comics and graphic novels to explore human rights issues, a presentation of the comic and a discussion with PRCBC and Kids in Need of Defense UK about why learning about citizenship rights is such a crucial access to justice issue. 

The event was well attended by charities, businesses and many of the 64 Hogan Lovells volunteers who have worked on Belonging so far, and who engaged in this important discussion. 

On the same day, we launched an initiative to help children of EEA and Swiss nationals to apply for British citizenship, in partnership with Kids in Need of Defense UK. Hogan Lovells volunteers are also giving presentations to school students to raise awareness of British nationality law, by using the Belonging communication tools.

The Team

  • The Hogan Lovells Pro Bono team has led Belonging as part of our commitment to Access to Justice and strengthening the Rule of Law. We work alongside our Citizenship team and our Social Enterprise team who focus on business as a force for good.

Find out more about our work here:

  • The Project for the Registration of British Citizens (PRCBC) is the first and only organisation to focus directly on children and young adults and their right to British citizenship.
  • Kids in Need of Defense UK help children and young people access pro bono legal representation so that they can enjoy their entitlement to citizenship or start their journey to permanent status. 
  • PositiveNegatives has been producing literary comics, animations, and podcasts about contemporary social and human rights issues, since 2012. They combine ethnographic research with illustration and photography, adapting personal testimonies into art, advocacy, and education materials. On this comic, Gabi Froden was the artist.

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