autumn leaves by billy liar

When the Immigration Rules for families were changed in July 2012, it was the minimum income threshold that rightly attracted the most attention. It has caused huge misery and has divided many loving families, sometimes separating children from parents. It is particularly harsh because the income threshold is set so far in excess of the national minimum wage that many working families simply cannot afford to live together in the UK: no matter how many hours they work, they will never, ever qualify. It is heartbreaking.

Less attention has been paid to an equally severe change to the rules on ‘adult dependent relatives’: normally, the foreign national elderly parents of a settled person or naturalised British citizen. Continue Reading…

refugee action

The present Government has declared its intention to create a ‘hostile environment’ for migrants. True to its word, the Go Home vans, the ‘papers please’ raids on public transport hubs, the targeting of foreign students, the increasingly demented bureaucracy of the immigration rules and the harsh family migration rules are all delivering on that pledge. Perhaps as part of that campaign, Theresa May decided in June 2013 to maintain a freeze on the level of support for destitute asylum seekers in the UK.

The High Court has now held in the case of R (On the Application Of Refugee Action) v The Secretary of State for the Home Department [2014] EWHC 1033 (Admin) that was an irrational decision that abysmally failed to take into account the real needs of that destitute group of vulnerable individuals. Continue Reading…

The Eve of the Battle of Edge Hill, 1642 (Charles Landseer, 1799 - 1879)

The Court of Appeal has in the case of Edgehill & Anor v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2014] EWCA Civ 402 settled the question of whether the new human rights rules introduced on 9 July 2012 apply to applications made before that date: they do not. Specifically, it is unlawful to apply rule 276ADE on long residence to applications that were already outstanding at the date the new rule came into force. Continue Reading…

Court of Appeal grants permission on Article 3 and 8 health cases

Important grant of permission from the Court of Appeal in six linked cases addressing issues arising from D and N cases at Strasbourg and subsequent treatment by the UK courts. For some legal background see this earlier blog post. In granting permission Maurice Kay LJ says:

I have indicated that I propose to grant permission to appeal in this case. I do so for a number of reasons. The first is that I accept the submissions on behalf of the applicants that there are arguable issues as to the precise scope of D and N, given the factual circumstances in which those decisions were made. They concern effectively illegal entrants who can properly be described as “health tourists”. None of these six applicants falls into that category, although BA has never enjoyed lawful status in this country.

The second point is that not only are there features in the cases such as lawful residence prior to diagnosis and treatment, or long and mainly lawful residence, there is room for clarification of the criterion of exceptionality which derives from D and N. For example, virtually certain death within two weeks on return following a period of lawful and sometimes lengthy residence in this country may be susceptible to accommodation within exceptionality. It may be that Lady Hale’s judgment in N permits such an approach. In any event it seems to me that there is room for a decision providing clarification.

My colleague Rebecca Chapman is acting for one of the appellants and Duran Seddon for another.


Update: The Daily Record has carried a story about the whole affair.

Update 2: And it’s on Buzzfeed now as well.

Busy creating some of the new online courses for the new training project, I was looking for something on the unnavigable website and came across the Home Office announcement of their appeal against the High Court judgment in MM. Unimpressed by the tasteless choice of accompanying image, I fired off a Tweet:

Astonishingly, I received this reply from one of my followers the next day: Continue Reading…


The Home Office has managed to use a photo of a child that it wanted to remove from the UK as the face of its campaign to overturn a High Court judgment allowing divided families to be reunited. The news item concerns the controversial minimum income rule that is dividing many families where one of the partners is a foreign national. By the end of December 2013 it was known that over 3,000 families had been put on hold while the Home Office fights the case through the courts. The Home Office stance is causing huge misery and suffering. Continue Reading…


According to the Independent newspaper, scientists have located “the conscience.” It’s in the front part of the brain and is the size of a Brussels’ sprout. For those who object to military service on grounds of conscience, this is where the action happens. The UNHCR’s “Guidelines on Military Service“, published on 13 December 2013, examines what the conscience means for those seeking protection from service in State and non-State armed forces. Whilst there can be no substitute to reading the guidelines in full, I’ve attempted to distil the most important parts into seven points, followed by an outline of UK law, and a bit of commentary about how things in this area might develop. Continue Reading…

Detention centre

Alois Dvorzac died in handcuffs in immigration detention in 2013. He was 84 years old, suffered from Alzheimers and he had been handcuffed for five hours by the time he died. It was a miserable, ignominious end to what Channel 4 has shown us was a rich and varied life. Yesterday tragic news emerged of another death in detention, this time at Yarl’s Wood. Nothing is yet known other than the deceased was a 40 year old woman and thought to be from Jamaica.

The Dvorzac incident shocked and horrified. The fact that he was white and of European origin added additional shock value for some: if these Home Office officials and security contractors are so out of control that they do this to him, what might they do to ‘us’ or our own elderly relatives? The case highlights the terrifying powers awarded to itself by the State. It shows also that the State cannot be trusted with those powers. Continue Reading…

28-3-2014. Fight for Yashika demonstration outside Enfield Civic centre.

The story of Yashika Bageerathi has touched many. A bright student brought to the UK by her mother with her siblings to escape domestic violence at home in Mauritius, she has a promising future here if allowed to remain. Because she has turned 18 and is no longer a child, though, the Home Office has apparently separated her case from that of her mother and siblings and is trying to enforce her return independently.

I’m seeing some pretty odd reports on Twitter, though, so thought a bit of legal background might be useful. Basically, I can’t see how an airline can refuse to take someone who would be leaving voluntarily, albeit under huge pressure from the immigration authorities. Continue Reading…