Skip to main content

Open law books next to a computer

Professor Thom Brooks (Durham Law School) was invited by the House of Lords Justice and Home Affairs (JHA) Committee to propose an inquiry for the Committee to undertake, in competition with other leading figures in immigration law and policy. Brooks pitched an inquiry into the the uses and reform of the Life in the UK citizenship test, which he sat in 2009 before becoming a British citizen.

Over two million have sat the test over nearly two decades across three different test editions available in three different languages. Yet, there has never been any review or consultation into whether the test achieves its aims and purposes. Brooks published the first comprehensive report into the test in 2013 launched at Durham Castle and subsequently mentioned in over 300 media outlets worldwide and cited in Parliamentary debates, including as the subject for a Lords debate. Brooks has given evidence to the House of Lords Select Committee on Citizenship and Civic Participation and the most cited in their 2018 report which accepts seven of his recommendations. Earlier this year, the House of Lords Liaison Committee commissioned further evidence from Brooks in upholding the recommendations of the Select Committee and calling on the government to address them.


The JHA Committee accepted Brooks's proposal and launched an inquiry concluding over the past summer. The Committee relied on Brooks's latest book, Reforming the UK's Citizenship Test: Building Bridges, Not Barriers (Bristol University Press 2022) in accepting Brooks's recommendations that there must be a new review group established, that it should consult with the public and in particular with those who naturalised after passing the test and that a new fourth edition is published urgently correctly factual mistakes, addressing omissions and more fit for purpose. In response, the government agreed to carry out such a review and produce a new UK citizenship test.