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Report No. 65

III. Nationality-English Law

15.6. English law upto 1834.-

Under the English common law, at least upto 1834, marriage did not affect a woman's nationality. In the Countess Conway's case, (1834) 2 Napp 364 (368) cited in Bai Asha, AIR 1929 Born 81 (84) reported in that year, Baron Parke said:-

"A French woman becomes in no way a British subject by marrying an English man; she continues an alien, and is not entitled to dower."

He referred to Coke on Littletonn1 in this connection, the position in this regard has, however, been altered by statute in England. The Naturalisation Act, 1870, in section 18, first laid down that a woman who is a British subject and marries an alien, should be deemed an alien. Section 10(1) of the British Nationality and Status of Aliens Act, 1914, expressed the same principle more elaborately, and enacted that "wife of a British subject shall be deemed to be a British subject, and the wife of an alien shall be deemed to be an alien."2

The position was again changed as a result of international conventions on the subject, and an amendment which was made in 1933 reversed the rule. The later Act of 1948, which contains the present British law on the subject, provides in effect, that marriage does not, in itself, change the nationality of a woman.

1. Coke on Littleton, p. 326.

2. Creig International Law, (1970), p. 292.

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