Improved blog search engine

Just a note to say that the search engine powering searches on Free Movement has been upgraded. Search results should be improved. Searches for multiple words are ‘AND’ by default but you can override by specifying ‘OR’ instead. There is an ever increasing amount of content, particularly with the new training and reference materials, so I hope this will prove useful.

15th June 2014 By Colin Yeo

Short presentation on legal aid and the Immigration Act 2014

I gave a talk today to the co-ordinators of AVID, the Association of Visitors to Immigration Detainees, and promised to post it up on the blog. Here it is. The group were lovely and I hope the talk was useful. I’ve also been working on notes for myself on parts of the new Act affecting the practice of immigration law and will probably post those up once done. I will certainly be creating a more comprehensive online CPD training course available for Free Movement Members. The 15% discount expires at the end of this week, so sign up now if you are interested!

3rd June 2014 By Colin Yeo

Colin Has Left The Country

I’m now away for a fortnight, returning on 2 June 2014. I hope to avoid all things work while away but have set up a few blog posts and Tweets to go out in my absence to continue to service your immigration updates and commentary needs.

16th May 2014 By Colin Yeo

CPD training available now on Free Movement

I’m pleased to announce that in conjunction with HJT Training, online CPD immigration law training is now available here on Free Movement. For an annual subscription of £199 plus VAT (or £50 per person for groups of 10 or more in the same firm or organisation) you can buy access to a growing vault of online courses, including monthly update courses based on Free Movement blog posts and the regular update podcast.

13th May 2014 By Colin Yeo

The power of connection

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: Bit sickened by image used by Home Office for news item on appeal against MM judgment: — Colin Yeo (@ColinYeo1) April 3, 2014 Astonishingly, I received this reply from one of my followers the…

7th April 2014 By Colin Yeo

Happy birthday Free Movement

The first blog post on Free Movement was on 7 March 2007. Yet again, I managed to miss the blog’s birthday! The spanking post was perhaps a suitable commemoration, though: a serious topic covered with a frivolous headline. Since 7 March 2007 there have been: 3,048,451 visits to Free Movement 921 Free Movement blog posts 4 Home Secretaries It is also a year since the Forum launched. There are something like 300 users (the automatic stats seem to double count some people and I’m not going to tot them up manually to check), 300 topics and just over 1000 replies. There have been some very good posts on Free Movement…

10th March 2014 By Colin Yeo

Slight tweak to blog

Slight update to the blog software today. The layout should respond better to different devices and screen or browser window sizes. Let me know if you spot any problems anywhere, including the forums.

22nd January 2014 By Colin Yeo

Annual report 2013

It has been a busy year for me, for immigration law and for the Free Movement blog. Me I’ve cooked three Christmas dinners this year (turkey, quails, turkey, plus two nut roasts). My children are now aged 3 years old and 18 months old and my wife is back at work. Finding a balance between earning a self employed living and spending time with my family is a constantly shifting search for balance. I’ve moved chambers, which I would never have predicted at the beginning of 2013. HJT Training has moved more seriously into online training provision, which involved website-building, hiring actors, scriptwriting and filming. It has been a busy…

1st January 2014 By Colin Yeo

New Immigration Rules laid: X-MAS.%6.&*.

This entry is part 1 of 6 in the series Christmas

In another leak exclusive to Free Movement it is possible to reveal further Immigration Rule changes to be introduced at short notice. It is understood the new Statement of Changes will be published on 25 December 2013, becoming the seventeenth Statement of that month and the 97th of this year. In the wake of new rules preventing Bulgarian and Romanians from claiming benefits and building pre-emptively on the provisions of the new Immigration Bill, a new section to Appendix FM will ban several other activities that were already banned.

23rd December 2013 By Colin Yeo

Law blog background stories

I contributed a piece for this and can also recommend the pieces by the excellent Giles Peaker and Dan Bunting on their legal blogs, Nearly Legal and UK Criminal Law Blog. Check out the rest of the ever interesting Internet Newsletter for Lawyers while you are there.

15th November 2013 By Colin Yeo

Garden Court Chambers immigration team

Regular Free Movement readers will have noted the recent addition of the Garden Court Chambers logo to Free Movement at the top of the sidebar and some excellent recent posts by some of my new colleagues, Ronan Toal, Greg Ó Ceallaigh and Taimour Lay. There will be further future contributions from other members of the immigration team at Garden Court. The editorial team has expanded and now consists of me, Helen Foot, Taimour Lay, Abigail Smith and Bijan Hoshi. I hope that additional input from a range of editors and authors will make the tone and content of the blog more varied and interesting. It will also be a more sustainable…

21st October 2013 By Colin Yeo

New server

The blog last night moved to a new, hopefully faster and even more secure, server. Seems to be working fine, but if there are problems let me know.

8th October 2013 By Colin Yeo

Blog numbers and reader survey

I just noticed that I passed 3,000 Twitter followers. That feels like a lot, although nothing compared to legal Twitter titans @nearlylegal (5,435), @AdamWagner1 (13,277) and @JackofKent (46,106!). So I thought it was time for a periodic general stats and numbers check, particularly as I keep forgetting blog birthdays, the traditional time for self congratulationintrospection.

24th September 2013 By Colin Yeo

Blog technical tweaks

The software behind the blog has gotten a little out of hand and beyond my meagre self taught technical skills, so I have needed to buy in some help. Following a health check by the very nice people at The Small Axe, I myself made a few technical changes to the blog over the weekend and it should now be running a bit better. Pingdom tells me Free Movement has gone from being slower than 88% of tested websites to faster than 31% of tested websites. No, I can’t work that out either, but it sounds vaguely positive. Further changes to come when The Small Axe do some proper technical…

3rd September 2013 By Colin Yeo


As some blog readers will know from my Twitter account and others may have deduced from the sudden absence of branding on the blog, I have moved from Renaissance Chambers. I am now a tenant of Garden Court Chambers.

20th August 2013 By Colin Yeo

Disruption to blog this afternoon

Jut a quickie to say that the blog and the forum might well be offline for a while this afternoon while some new software is installed. The paywall is coming soon…

6th August 2013 By Colin Yeo

New Look

More observant visitors to the blog will notice that there have been a few changes, as trailed a couple of weeks ago. These are mainly visual so far, but the metered access will follow in the next couple of weeks as will some new forum software and changes to blog emails. Overall, the site should now load more quickly, the fonts are more modern, there is less white space and post types (I mainly use normal and link types) are more clearly differentiated.

21st July 2013 By Colin Yeo

Social media training for lawyers

As a bit of an experiment, I will be delivering a small seminar on the subject of social media for lawyers on 22 July 2013. Details on the HJT Training website. Numbers are deliberately restricted; I am only willing to humiliate myself in front of a limited number of people at a time. It is aimed at all sorts of lawyers: barristers, solicitors, sole and small practitioners and large firms. Luckily I’ll never be in charge of a large corporate Twitter account, but I have consumed a LOT of social media in the last five years, both good and bad, and can discuss some of the potential pitfalls for all sorts…

11th July 2013 By Colin Yeo

Blog changes ahead including possible paywall

There will be some changes coming to the blog in the near future. No-one seems to like change, so I thought I would run these past everyone first. Some ideas are pretty minor cosmetic tweaks, others much more fundamental. I’ll start with what is definitely going to happen and move on to some ideas I am very seriously considering, including a type of paywall. Definitely New payment software to allow purchase and management of multiple user ‘child’ accounts, useful for a medium or larger firm to pay for and manage multiple accounts for staff. I hope to get this installed this coming Friday afternoon, which might involve some down time…

9th July 2013 By Colin Yeo

No net working

I’m away until 20 June. This sign, down at the local harbour, says it all.

11th June 2013 By Free Movement

Back from holidays

Back from holidays but lots of catching up to do. Lots of immigration Stuff seems to have happened in the last two weeks!

21st May 2013 By Free Movement

Free Movement is away

Free Movement is now away on holiday for a couple of weeks. The blog has been a bit quiet the last week, for which I apologise – I’ve been poorly and anything more than Twitter has been a bit of a stretch. Better now, though. Dormant posts on private landlords being co-opted as immigration snoops, the consultation on new tribunal procedure rules (more exciting than it sounds), gender discrimination and the minimum income spouse rules and some of the more interesting recent cases all to be resurrected and published once I’m back.

4th May 2013 By Free Movement

Access to the internet at immigration detention centres

It looked for a while like banning this blog was all the rage. First there was some discussion on Twitter on which websites are banned within immigration detention centres, then the immigration tribunal presidents had a go as well. What are "prohibited categories" of websites in IRCs if they include @BIDdetention Medical Justice @freemvmntblog ?? — BID (@BIDdetention) March 8, 2013 Well, a Freedom of Information request has shown that there is no official policy on restricted access to websites within the immigration detention estate and that access to the list of specific websites I enquired about are all in fact permitted: There is no policy or other documents…

11th April 2013 By Free Movement

Free Movement Forum Banned!

It was with a mixture of pride and regret that I heard that last week immigration judges were explicitly and specifically instructed not to join the Free Movement forum by the two Presidents of the Immigration and Asylum Chambers. It is nice to know the blog is on the senior judicial radar, less nice to be blacklisted. This places immigration judges in the same position as immigration detainees, the only other group of which I am aware that are banned by their custodians from access to the Free Movement forum. The Internet and social media present challenges to us all, from transforming standard legal business models to offering new ways…

20th March 2013 By Colin Yeo

Forum and other blog news

The Free Movement Forum will, I hope, be an essential resource and outlet for immigration lawyers. Joining is also, of course, a good way to support the blog and the work that has goes into it if you value that and find it useful. The launch seems to have gone well. The sign up process is working smoothly, I think, and there are 70 members already. My thanks go to those who have shown their support by joining so early. There are so far 27 different topics under discussion, including ideas on Chen and permanent residence, a challenge to foreign national prisoners being retained in prisons at their end of…

11th March 2013 By Free Movement

Forum opens today

The Free Movement forum launches today. It is intended to be a private, progressive space in which immigration lawyers, campaigners, academics, students and select others can help one another and discuss any or all immigration, asylum, nationality and human rights law questions and policy. To help create that space, the forum is restricted to members only, cannot be viewed by the public and is not open to those who work for or with the Home Office. The intention is that the forum be a friendly and co-operative environment for genuine and open discussion. The Chatham House Rule will apply. Joining details and house rules can be found on the welcome…

4th March 2013 By Free Movement

Free Movement forum coming soon

Continuing in the spirit of innovation, the Free Movement legal forum will, all being well, launch next week. I’m seeking comments or feedback on the idea now before it goes live. A Join the forum introductory page has been added to the menu bar for a preview of what is in store. This includes the rules and terms and conditions. There is no access to the forum itself yet as it will be for subscribers only. A subscription will cost £25 (or £50 for a shared log in email) and I haven’t enabled the online payment gateway, which will be by credit card, Paypal or Google Wallet. The forum is…

27th February 2013 By Free Movement

Halsbury Legal Awards 2013

With an unhealthy mixture of surprise, embarrassment and pride (emphasis on surprise, I think) we can announce that the Renaissance Chambers Immigration Team has been shortlisted for the Award for Innovation – The Bar at the Halsbury Legal Awards 2013. Congratulations for the slightly more respectable UK Human Rights Blog for being shortlisted in the Legal Journalism category. The winners are announced on 8 May 2013. There’s a ceremony and everything. Friends of Renaissance will know that we are a cutting edge, shiny, modern… OK, I don’t think I can keep that up. But we have been trying new means of reaching out to existing and potential future clients and…

25th February 2013 By Free Movement

Blog changes ahead

I am planning some changes to the blog in the next week or so. This may lead to some down time and/or a very funny looking blog for a while. Hopefully a short while. Firstly, I need to mess around with and change the theme as it seems to be doing a few odd things. This will result in some slight cosmetic changes. It should also open the door to doing different post formats in future, which may lead to my posting links and Twitter style very short posts from time to time. I still use the blog as a sort of online legal notebook, and if I post a…

20th January 2013 By Free Movement

Free Movement 2012 ebook

I have collected together all the blog posts for 2012 into an ebook, which is now available on the Kindle store. By a surprising automated process, the blog posts were automatically sucked up by some sort of scary blog muncher website and then spat out in pdf form, then converted to Kindle friendly format. If this were happen to me, I’d be a bit messed up. It has come out fairly well, in fact, and looks perfectly readable to me, but some of the images seem to have been stripped out, some spaces between words seem to have vanished and the formatting of the contents page at the start of the…

16th January 2013 By Free Movement

Year in review

First of all, some stats from the blog for 2012: 722,000 page views 2,000 page views per day on average 356,000 visitors 2 min 46 sec average visit duration 2 pages viewed per visit on average 149 new blog posts in 2012 (three per week) 21,500 unique visitors per month 33,608 clicks to BAILII in 2012 alone 1,560 email subscribers by year end 1,770 Twitter followers by year end Most popular posts of 2012: New statement of intent on family migration Zambrano case New rules on long residence European Commission warns UK Amendment to EEA regulations Elsewhere, there have been nine Statements of Changes to the Immigration Rules this year,…

28th December 2012 By Free Movement

Blog developments

From its conception in 2007, the Free Movement blog has been about sharing information and ideas. When the blog first went live with an anonymous author and zero readership the ‘About’ page had this to say: All you need to know about me is that I’m a UK-based immigration lawyer. This blog is aimed at both lawyers and those with a more personal interest in immigration and asylum. I am aware at the outset that these are two quite different audiences, and it may be that I have to be more focussed in the future. My intention is that this blog will include a mix of news, immigration law gossip…

12th October 2012 By Free Movement

Freedom from Torture: A risk category in itself?

Human Rights Watch and a proxy terror front group -Freedom from Torture, clamored that the flights should be suspended because some ‘ethnic’ Tamils were subjected to cruel treatment in the island nation. This is what the Sri Lankan government’s own Ministry of Defence has to say about the charity Freedom for Torture (FfT). The link to the relevant Ministry of Defence website page can be found here. In addition to the many resources referred to in recent posts relating to the charter flight to Sri Lanka this week, it may be useful for those drafting JR grounds to note that those who have been assessed and/or examined by FfT may fall within a further risk…

17th September 2012 By Kezia Tobin


Colin is now off on holiday for a fortnight so updates will be even slower than the last fortnight. There are a couple of posts in the pipeline, though, and there is likely to be a flurry of catching up activity on his return. They keys to the blog Twitter account are being handed over to a colleague temporarily. Hopefully no joyriding will ensue…

31st August 2012 By Free Movement

Must be doing something right

We at Renaissance are appalled at the witch hunt of Upper Tribunal Judges who have had the audacity to allow a criminal deportation appeal. As those on the coal face know, winning a criminal deportation appeal is no walk in the park and at first instance demands a great deal of care in preparation and vigour in presentation. The law already requires deportation of foreign nationals who have committed serious offences. For British offenders, following release, there is a public interest in rehabilitation. In contrast for foreign national offenders, the public interest lies in their deportation. The only way of succeeding is by presenting sufficient evidence to demonstrate a really,…

17th July 2012 By Shivani Jegarajah

Interruption to normal service…

Free Movement will be on light to non-existent blogging and Tweeting duties for the next fortnight or so owing to the birth on Monday of baby Annabel, sister to Alec. All is well but blogging is not top of FM’s to-do list at the moment.

13th June 2012 By Free Movement

Happy Fifth Birthday!

Yet again I missed the blog’s birthday, which was 7 March. Unbelievably (for so, so many reasons) the blog has now been going for over five years. In that time it has clocked up roughly 1,346,037 hits, 521 posts and 2,608 comments between the old site and the newer self hosted site. When I think about the long, boring hours I have whiled away on writing long, boring posts on immigration law, fiddling around with cursed Yahoo Pipes, trying to work out why the blinking email subscription or blasted site feed was broken and so forth my eyes water with… er… nostalgia. Long time readers may also go a…

25th April 2012 By Free Movement


Got a Kindle for Christmas? Wondering what to do with it now you’ve read the first couple of chapters of Great Expectations and then swiftly moved on to some Sherlock Holmes? You can now subscribe to Free Movement on your Kindle: while away your commute and keep yourself bang up to date with the latest immigration and asylum law developments! Super. More seriously, I’ve decided to do a little fundraising for the blog, with any excess being donated to BAILII, who make the blog possible. Two Kindle ebooks have been created which include all the legal material posted on Free Movement in 2010 and 2011 respectively. These can be downloaded here: They…

24th January 2012 By Free Movement

Blog changes

Regular visitors to the website will have noticed some changes over the Christmas period. A second column has been introduced on the right with Renaissance Chambers and HJT Training information, with both of which the editor is personally associated. The About the blog page has been slightly rewritten to make clear who the main contributors are and contributor guidelines have also been posted up for those interested in submitting occasional articles. A lawyers’ links page and a resources page have been added and it is hoped that further useful bits of information for lawyers will follow. The full text of posts is now not visible from the main page, only…

8th January 2012 By Free Movement