I’ve been to a couple of AGMs in the last couple of weeks — Hammersmith and Fulham Community Law Centre and the Immigration Law Practitioners Association — and have learned all sorts of interesting things. Only some of which I will share!
The most prominent speakers at the first of these, HLCLC, were Sir Alec Jeffreys and Henry Porter, who posted to his own blog about the debate. Sir Alec was engaged by the indomitable Sheona York at the law centre (she is now at IAS) to prove paternity in an immigration case in 1985, the first time that DNA fingerprinting was used to establish identity. The case is an excellent example of the value of a law centre, a dedicated and imaginative lawyer and good legal aid funding.
At the ILPA AGM I learned that UK nationals are the third largest users of free movement rights in Europe (I assume meaning outside one’s home country). You’d have thought that UK nationals didn’t like free movement – but they certainly do like it one way. British complaints about EEA free movement take on a peculiarly national hypocritical dimension when seen in this context.
I also learned that under the new Lisbon rules, now in force, any judge can make a reference to the ECJ, not just the Supreme Court, and that there is some apparently Curate’s Egg like guidance from the European Commission on how member states should deal with alleged abuse of free movement rights. This document is almost impossible to find on the interweb, for some reason. I have not had a chance to go over it properly yet but it sounds like essential reading from its description by the brilliant Elspeth Guild.
Lastly, I learned that I should check the weather forecast carefully before cycling anywhere and that north London is a lot hillier than south London. I am now suffering the consequences, unfortunately.