Long-awaited guidance on returns to Mogadishu poses significant, but not insurmountable, challenges to Appellants

It may be 286 pages long but the apparent effect of the new Somalia Country Guidance — MOJ & Ors (Return to Mogadishu) (CG) [2014] UKUT 442 (IAC) — can, from the Home Office’s perspective, be summed up in one phrase: a green light for returns to Mogadishu.

Continue Reading…

Band 1 | Garden Court Chambers


This impressively sized set leads the way at the London Immigration Bar, and offers an unrivalled range of capabilities across all types of work. Specialist areas of expertise include national security, family and child immigration and asylum matters. Sources say: “Their approachability and depth of knowledge are impressive, and they provide high-quality work often at short notice.”

Client service: “The clerking has always been excellent – you can always get hold of the right person. They do a weekly immigration bulletin and Colin Yeo writes a blog called Free Movement which is wonderful. Their conference facilities are in a really nice location, and they are spacious and professional – you are treated really well.”


Chambers and Partners 2015

Now in pdf, iBooks and Kindle formats for download

Click to download contents pages and sample

Want to know who might qualify as a refugee? What the legal requirements are? What reasons the Home Office relies on to refuse cases and what counter arguments are available? Who might be excluded from refugee status?

I have just finished a new ebook, this time on refugee law in the UK. It distils what I’ve learned in a decade and a half of fighting asylum cases. I hope it will be useful to lawyers and students. The contents page and first few pages can be downloaded by clicking the cover image and the whole lot can be purchased for £9.99 in the shop or with the button below.

It is intended to be an accessible guide to refugee law and practice. It focusses on the refugee definition at Article 1A of the Refugee Convention, addresses the Qualification Directive, includes references and links to important cases and Home Office policies and even includes some tastefully chosen pictures… I have included common arguments, scenarios and examples and it addresses the practical side of refugee status determination as much as the legal side.

The last part of the ebook looks at the cessation, exclusion and refoulement clauses of the convention.

How it works: 

Purchase the ebook using Paypal or credit/debit card and you will be sent an automatic email immediately after purchase with download links to the pdf, iBooks and Kindle file formats. Check your spam folder if it does not arrive after a few minutes. The download links in the email expire after 48 hours so make sure you download straightaway.

Creating a free account when you make your purchase is optional. If you do, you can log in later to download the files again, including any updated versions that have been added.

£9.99 – Purchase Includes 20% tax

Free Movement Members can purchase this and other ebooks for £1 in the Members’ Shop.


When reviewing the Home Office’s new Appeals Guidance policy document I was reminded of a new feature of the appeals regime that is an important one but which was tucked away in the schedules to the Immigration Act 2014. A new expanded section 120 of the 2002 Act is introduced by paragraph 55 of Schedule 9 and came into effect with sections 1, 15 and 17(2) as of 20 October 2014 for the groups already described previously (foreign criminals and students): Continue Reading…

New Home Office immigration bail guidance

I hadn’t seen this before, I confess, and it has now been updated. Flicking through it I notice there is a detailed section on licenses and Home Office duties regarding release addresses which is useful (some judges and HOPOs seem to think it is the detainees job to sort this out), theft is described as a “minor offence” on p22 (some judges and HOPOs seem to think it is serious, thus causing us to run out of English language words for offences that are genuinely serious ones), there is interesting material on surety checks, much of which is redacted, between £2,000 and £5,000 is regarded by the Home Office to be normally acceptable as a sum of recognisance (which needless to say is a lot of money, and far more than many detainees or sureties possess), the guidance is notably silent on the need to provide evidence to back up assertions made in bail summaries and there is a new section on the exercise of the decision to grant Home Office consent to bail if an immigration judge grants bail within 14 days of a date set for removal (a new provision under the Immigration Act 2014):

The power [to withhold consent] should only be exercised in exceptional circumstances, where for example, it is considered that the judge has not correctly weighed the high risk of absconding in coming to the decision to grant bail, or given enough weight to the public protection risk (if appropriate).


This from Channel 4 News about the collapse of a huge “sham marriage” criminal trial:

But, when immigration officers were questioned in the witness box, it emerged that evidence had been tampered with or concealed, possibly destroyed, video footage had gone missing, and an investigation log had been doctored.

His Honour Judge Nic Madge brought the trial to halt a yesterday, saying “I am satisfied that officers at the heart of this prosecution have deliberately concealed important evidence and lied on oath.

This is the second major case revealing a course of dishonest conduct by immigration officials. The last one was that of Radha Patel, an innocent visitor to the United Kingdom who was awarded £125,000 damages for her treatment. Continue Reading…

Rainbow flag

Today the Home Office has belatedly allowed publication of an investigation by the Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration, John Vine, into the assessment of asylum claims based on sexual identity. The report was handed to Theresa May on 31 July 2014 and it is today published alongside a document from the Home Office responding to and in large part accepting the recommendations in the report.

The immediate trigger of the investigation and report was an article by Mark Townsend and Diane Taylor in The Observer on 9 February 2014 which included details of some sexually explicit questions asked of a bisexual asylum seeker. The unacknowledged source for The Observer article was this blog. Continue Reading…

Plane taking off

The National Audit Office has published a damning report on the UK’s deportation process today. The numbers of foreign criminals deported have actually declined since 2008-09 despite a tenfold increase in the number of staff dealing with these cases at the Home Office, from below 100 in 2006 to over 900 in 2013-14. What are they doing, one has to ask oneself? It was apparently only in 2012 that the Government started to take preventative measures to prevent foreign criminals entering the UK. Even today the UK remains outside critical European government intelligence networks.

The report follows a similar damning indictment in March 2014 of management of detention and deportation at the Home Office by the Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration, John Vine (“Removals process revealed to be a shambles“). All the indications are there is some very serious mismanagement going on at the Home Office. That certainly matches with my own experiences: months at a time go by before anyone at the Home Office takes any action on a case and immigration bail is eventually granted to foreign criminals who cannot lawfully be detained any longer. Continue Reading…