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Shamima Begum – who joined the Islamic State group aged 15 – is set to be granted legal aid to fight the decision to revoke her UK citizenship.

The 19-year-old, who left east London in 2015, was stripped of her citizenship in February, after she was found in a Syrian refugee camp.

Her family has previously said it planned to challenge the decision.

Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said the idea of the provision of legal aid to Ms Begum made him “very uncomfortable”.

Mr Hunt added, however, that the UK was “a country that believes that people with limited means should have access to the resources of the state if they want to challenge the decisions the state has made about them”.

Legal aid is financial assistance provided by the taxpayer to those unable to afford legal representation themselves, whether they are accused of a crime or a victim who seeks the help of a lawyer through the court process.

It is means-tested and availability has been cut back significantly in recent years in England and Wales.

Civil servants at the Legal Aid Agency, which is part of the Ministry of Justice, are responsible for making decisions about who receives legal aid.

Earlier, the BBC reported Ms Begum’s case had been approved – but sources now say it will be formally signed off in the coming days.

The legal aid that is expected to be granted covers a case before the semi-secret Special Immigration Appeals Commission, which adjudicates on cases where the home secretary has stripped someone of their nationality on grounds of national security.

Cases before the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (Siac) are among the most complicated legal challenges that the government can face.

This is because they typically involve a complex combination of MI5 intelligence reports, which cannot be disclosed to the complainant, and long-standing law on achieving a fair hearing. Read more

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