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).

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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…

Final week.001

Last chance before the end of the solicitor CPD year to sign up for Free Movement Membership! New sign ups will not be possible between Monday 27 October 2014 and Friday 31 October 2014. If you plan to sign up, please do so as soon as possible before it is too late.

With just over one month to go to the end of the solicitor CPD year and 25 CPD hours available to choose from, here are five reasons to sign up as a Free Movement Member and gain access to Free Movement’s full content and forums.

1. Support the blog

A great deal of work goes into Free Movement. If you find it useful, please consider signing up as a Member to support that work. Continue Reading…

By Szlivka Róbert

Want to know more about the Act? Buy the full ebook.

Even aside from the issue of an unpublished law purporting to have any effect, the Immigration Act 2014 (Commencement No. 3, Transitional and Saving Provisions) Order 2014 (SI 2014/2711) is a dog’s breakfast. At first blush it appears to bring into effect the new unified removal power at section 1 of the Immigration Act 2014 and the new refugee and human rights only appeal regime. These would be very major changes to immigration law and practice. There are saving provisions, though, and then there is a further layer of “un-saving” provisions and yet a further layer of “re-saving” provisions. Topped by a final “other than” provision. I kid you not.

Continue Reading…

Leopard

“But the plans were on display…”

“On display? I eventually had to go down to the cellar to find them.”

“That’s the display department.”

“With a flashlight.”

“Ah, well, the lights had probably gone.”

“So had the stairs.”

“But look, you found the notice, didn’t you?”

“Yes,” said Arthur, “yes I did. It was on display in the bottom of a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying ‘Beware of the Leopard.”

One of the most complex commencement orders I’ve seen since… well, the last Immigration Act 2014 commencement order has allegedly come into force today, Monday 20 October 2014. At the time of writing it is not publicly available on the internet and it appears not to have been been published by The Stationary Office. Perhaps, like the bypass plans Arthur Dent belatedly learns of in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy when the bulldozers arrive unexpectedly at his house, they have been published by being printed on goat hide in a dark, stairless cellar in the bottom of a locked filing cabinet in a disused lavatory with a sign warning “Beware of the Leopard”.

I have seen a draft version (ILPA members can do likewise here) but who knows what the final version looks like. Once it is in the public domain I’ll do a proper write up.

In the meantime. constitutional lawyers and anyone affected by the purported new powers may want to take a look at ZL & Anor v Secretary of State for the Home Department and Lord Chancellor’s Department [2003] EWCA Civ 25 on the issue of unpublished statutes. I’m grateful to my colleague Louise Hooper for bringing it to my attention.

Pound Coins by William Warby

For the first time, it will now be possible for the immigration tribunal to make awards of costs in statutory appeals. The power is conferred by the Tribunal Procedure (First-tier Tribunal) (Immigration and Asylum Chamber) Rules 2014 (SI 2014/2604), specifically by rule 9. The new rules come into effect on 20 October 2014 and apply immediately to any outstanding or future immigration appeal.

One important consequence to note of the change to the procedure rules to the First-tier Tribunal Immigration and Asylum Chamber is that the Upper Tribunal also inherits the same power to award costs, presumably also as of 20 October 2014 given the commencement of the FTT rules. See rule 10(1)(b) of the Tribunal Procedure (upper Tribunal) Rules 2008 as amended.

I have already signposted the key raw materials but the detail of my analysis and research is available to logged in Free Movement Members only. The current text is unfinished but I hope still useful – I will improve it and then expand the material into a training course to help with CPD requirements in the next few days (and to cover costs cases in immigration judicial review) but wanted to get the material out there as soon as possible given that costs can be awarded from next Monday.

Continue Reading…

house-of-commons-logo

Sweeping changes to appeal rights, a new non independent “administrative review” procedure and further changes to deportation appeal rights are taking effect on 20 October 2014, at least in some cases. This post will be updated as and when more concrete information becomes available because all we have at the time of writing is an announcement on gov.uk that seems to be very specific about the changes being mainly to student cases. We have no statutory instrument with commencement provisions and no statement of changes to the Immigration Rules. Even though the changes take effect in 2 working days.

UPDATE:

Statement of Changes HC 693 now published. Includes whole raft of changes. Introduces new admin review process, major changes to visitors, Tier 1 (including increasing minimum investment level to £2 million), Tier 2, Tier 4 and to the armed forces provisions. Finally allows invalid applications to be corrected, interestingly, and tweaks human rights rules to align better with Part 5A of the 2002 Act.

Extract from the explanatory notes