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I am pleased to be able to report that there are now over 270 signed up Free Movement Members with access to the training and reference materials, including a mix of some administrators and blog contributors, group members and individual members. 424 courses have been completed and 600 CPD hours undertaken. 464 ebooks had been sold when I last checked. Each podcast gets over a thousand unique downloads. I’ve picked up over 5,000 Twitter followers and 1,000 Facebook Likes along the way and the blog is getting over 120,000 page views a month from around 65,000 visits and around 38,000 visitors. Continue Reading…


Many practitioners are concerned about the increasing use of draconian powers to deprive people of their citizenship and the related ‘evil of statelessness’ (which is the subject of the UNCHR’s latest campaign.) Last week, a 7-member Supreme Court panel heard the latest round of arguments on these issues in the case of Secretary of State for the Home Department v B2. The appeal comes in the wake of government proposals to limit the right of British Citizens to return to the UK following suspected terrorist activity abroad. It could have profound implications for the government’s approach to ‘British jihadis’. Continue Reading…

By Rock Cohen

New Social Security Advisory Committee Report voices concerns

On 20 November 2014, the Social Security Advisory Committee (SSAC) published its Report on the regulations which remove entitlement to Housing Benefit for certain categories of European Economic Area (EEA) jobseekers. The Committee expresses a number of concerns about the impact of these measures, including what will happen to existing EEA migrants for whom returning to their ‘home’ country is not a realistic or viable option. The Government’s response is stark and uncompromising. But what is the position in EU law?

The best option for those EEA migrants who are unable to find work, who lack savings or support networks and who are at real risk of ending up destitute is to return home.Department for Work and Pensions

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immigration enforcement

It has been announced today by Minister for Security and Immigration James Broken-shire that Part 4 of the Immigration Act 2014 is to be brought into full effect on 2 March 2015. This amends the procedure for marriage and civil partnership for everyone (not just foreign nationals) and creates new powers for duties to report sham marriages and the investigation and preventing of sham marriages.

The Home Office estimates that under the new provisions, 35,000 marriages per year will need to be referred to the Home Office for potential investigation and that 6,000 marriages will be investigated. Continue Reading…

Giving evidence in court: Home Office guidance

The guidance is directed to the Home Office’s own staff — a pertinent issue following these recent reported cases: Immigration officials caught lying on oath — but it is sound guidance for any witness attending court. I particularly liked this bit:

Some may even accuse you of lying. This can be extremely upsetting. It is important to remember this is a standard operating technique, not a personal attack. Even though you may feel such allegations are unworthy and unethical, you must appreciate the lawyer probably cannot find any other grounds for attacking you or your colleagues.

Do not take defence attacks on your integrity personally, you can only deal with these assertions effectively by remaining calm. Respond firmly and courteously, do not:

  • become emotional
  • get angry, or
  • lose your temper.

As a general rule, the more rude and outrageous the questioner, the more cool, calm and collected you must be, the person who remains reasonable and composed will gain more respect and credibility.

LexisPSL analysis of most recent Immigration Rule changes

Free, excellent and detailed analysis, highly recommended reading. The change to the definition of overstaying and the new invalid application provisions are particularly important in general casework, the administrative review process is explained and there is detailed analysis of changes to a significant number of immigration categories, including visitors, business visitors, Tier 1, Tier 2, Tier 4, Tier 5 long residence, family applications and more.

Free Movement podcast

Welcome to the October 2014 edition of the Free Movement immigration update podcast. As normal, the material for the podcast is drawn from blog posts on Free Movement for the month of October.

I start this month by going through some asylum updates, move on to some other important cases and then finish with important changes to immigration appeals and a few policy updates from the Home Office and some thoughts on the significance of the 7 year residence period for children set out in the rules. Continue Reading…

cabbage field

The case of R (on the application of Muwonge) v Secretary of State for the Home Department (consent orders: costs: guidance) (IJR) [2014] UKUT 514 (IAC) makes for interesting law and interesting reading. It is, apart from anything, the first case I can immediately recall featuring a Prologue, a section entitled The Plot and and an Epilogue and which opens and closes with quotation from Hamlet. More importantly for litigants in person and claimant lawyers, though, it should put an end to dodgy dealing by Treasury Solicitors when it comes to costs. Continue Reading…


The First-tier Tribunal now has a new set of procedure rules: the Tribunal Procedure (First-tier Tribunal) (Immigration and Asylum Chamber) Rules 2014, which came into force on 20 October 2014.

The Rules are streamlined in some parts and the overriding objective is modified to emphasise fairness and justice more than speed. Case management powers are stated more generally, in line with the objective of flexibility.

Appellants and their representatives should pay careful attention to the changes, especially as non-compliance can now result in a trip to the Upper Tribunal or an order for costs. Time limits have also changed.

Some of the changes will in most cases be of benefit to Appellants: the rule on adjournments is now less restrictive, Appellants have longer to appeal both to the First-tier and Upper Tribunals, and the Secretary of State is no longer necessarily able to thwart an appeal by withdrawing the decision appealed against.

A comparison table between the old and new rules is available at the end of this blog post.

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East of England Ambulance Service Nhs Trust v Sanders (Practice and Procedure) [2014] UKEAT 0217/14/1710 is an interesting employment case involving a litigant in person via Neil Rose. I do not think it is at all unusual for immigration tribunal judges to conduct their own research and I’ve been presented by, for example, a Daily Mail article about a client’s relative by a judge on the morning of a hearing. There are obviously important differences between the employment and immigration jurisdictions and the role of the tribunal in each but nevertheless the issues around inquisitorial vs adversarial, descending into the arena and raising new issues of the tribunal’s own motion are all thought provoking.

The headnote reads:

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