And I’m not making this up…

This entry is part 3 of 6 in the series Christmas

Following on from last year’s seasonal leak, Free Movement can exclusively reveal a new secret Government proposal designed to cut down on abuse of human rights laws and reduce family immigration into the United Kingdom. The new proposal is said to have originated at the highest level because it was felt the existing family migration proposals were too soft. A new scheme is to be introduced from April 2012 that will eliminate cases like that highlighted by Home Secretary Theresa May at the Conservative Party conference in September. Her keynote speech on immigration included the memorable condemnation of a human rights culture that permits foreign homosexual feline proprietors to remain…

22nd December 2011 By Free Movement

Blog problems

The blog has been experiencing a few problems over the last few days, for which I apologise. The hosting provider moved the blog to a new server accidentally or some such, and everything went offline for about a day. Somewhere along the way some content was lost. I’ve re-inserted the lost posts but have lost a few comments (sorry, Mr T!). The speed at which pages load seems slow anyway, so I’m going to look at changing hosting provider. I’ll wait until just before Christmas before I make any such change, though, to try and minimise any disruption if anything goes wrong – which it almost certainly will. The blog…

10th December 2011 By Free Movement

Change of website address

[UPDATE: now done, as you can see!] I have more or less finished building the new website and plan to switch over shortly. Before I do so I thought it might be helpful for readers to check it out and get back to me with any comments or suggestions and also to test out the new site. I am a little concerned that pages seem to load slowly, for example. The new address is All of the posts and I think all or most of the comments have been moved across already. In terms of presentation you will see that I have made fairly slight changes. I hope you…

27th November 2011 By Free Movement

Blog changes ahead

There will be some changes coming on Free Movement. This has been absorbing quite a lot of my rather limited time of late, and there are several significant recent cases that I haven’t managed to flag up yet, for which I apologise. Work has been extremely busy and I have a family I’m supposed to spend time with as well. Before I go further, the State of the Nation is that the blog topped 50,000 page views last month and has just short of 1,000 email subscribers. The Twitter account now has over 600 followers. The blog also has a Google Pagerank of 5/10, which is apparently quite good. We…

14th November 2011 By Free Movement

HJT Immigration Manual

I finished work on the 10th edition of the HJT Immigration Manual just before going on holiday. It is now printed and available for purchase for £69 (at that price for a limited period, I understand). The contents pages, introduction and first chapter, on immigration control, can be downloaded as a free sample here. I have deliberately attempted to lock down printing and copying and pasting from the sample document. I already provide a heck of a lot of information for free through the blog, if you want it all in a useful textbook style format, you’ll need to pay for it! The 10th edition continues the tradition of gradual improvement…

30th September 2011 By Free Movement

Immigration control

Passing through immigration control on my return to the UK yesterday, my wife had to restrain me from taking a photograph of one of the notices that appeared on the UK visual displays at Heathrow. She wanted to get home sooner rather than later and, on reflection, I wasn’t in the mood for trouble. The powers of Immigration Officers to stop, search and generally inconvenience are really quite extensive. However, I did make a careful note, that I think is accurate (I had plenty of time on my hands in the queue): It is against the law to provide support to asylum seekers who delay their claim without good reason….

26th September 2011 By Free Movement

Free Movement is away

I’m off on holiday and am delighted to say that I won’t be back for three weeks. I’d hoped to set a couple of posts to pop up automatically while I’m away but I’ve been too busy packing. See you in a few weeks.

5th September 2011 By Free Movement

One MILLION hits!

Free Movement has just hit one MILLION, er, hits. As with Dr Evil, that isn’t actually a lot of hits in today’s world, but for a small, specialist legal blog it isn’t bad going. Time for some reminiscing… The first post was on 7 March 2007, when Dr Reid was still Home Secretary. The blog his half a million views on 30 April 2010 and has, with a John O induced blip, been gaining page views rapidly since then, with over 40,000 page views per month now. There are around 900 email subscribers as well, and just short of 500 Twitter followers. The most popular posts in the last 12…

23rd August 2011 By Free Movement

BAILII fundraising

BAILII, the invaluable resource which provides much of the material for this blog, is under threat of closure. It seems that the Ministry of Justice has withdrawn funding, and BAILII are seeking replacement commitments from solicitors firms and barristers chambers. Some professional associations have also committed funds. I have sought to persuade my own chambers, Renaissance Chambers, to contribute, and would suggest that anyone who finds this blog and/or BAILII to be useful gets their firm or chambers to chip in. Information about donating can be found here. A list of major donors can be found here. There are few solicitors firms on the list and the contributions from some…

17th June 2011 By Free Movement

Happy Birthday!

It had escaped my attention that Free Movement was four years old on 7 March 2011. The first ever post was published on that day, entitled Overstayers and illegal entrants. The Home Secretary was Dr Reid. How long ago that all feels! Since then 365 posts have been published, the site has had nearly 820,000 hits, the average number of views each weekday is around 1,500, there are coming up to 700 email subscribers and Free Movement has acquired 285 Twitter followers. Astonishingly, there have been 2,593 comments left on the blog. Other than the home page, the most popular post of the last four years was on the Cambridge…

7th April 2011 By Free Movement

Immigration tribunal websites vanish

Only this morning I was making extensive use of the websites of both the First Tier and Upper Tribunal Immigration and Asylum Chambers. I’ve returned to chambers only to find that they have now seemingly vanished into thin air, with nothing but a redirect to a new looking Ministry of Justice website. I HOPE that this is because the IAC sites are temporarily down but suspect not. The new MOJ site has a very limited amount of the information of the old sites. Just enough to make one suspect that it serves as a replacement… Anyone with any news? Can anyone find the practice directions or the case law sections?…

4th April 2011 By Free Movement

New look

After a grand total of 50 votes, 74% of which were in favour of the new look, the new look is duly adopted. The four of you who hate the new look so much you plan to set up yet further ‘free movement’ immigration blog and update sites, good riddance. May you rest in the boring little corner of hell reserved for plagarists and John O. More seriously, I hope you like the changes and thank you for reading. You are not alone, it turns out: there are over 600 email subscribers to the blog, 236 Twitter followers and rarely less than 1000 unique readers per week day. You will…

13th February 2011 By Free Movement

Blog news

As some may have noticed, I’ve made a few minor changes to the blog in the last few days. I’ve added new pages about instructing the barristers here at Renaissance Chambers, both for solicitors and members of the public, and about contributing guest posts to the blog. I’ve removed some of the old pages. Do check out the relevant pages and let me know what you think (perhaps using the private feedback box below). Of more interest to most readers, I’m also planning to change the look of the blog a bit. To that end I have set up a test site, with which I am now reasonably happy. Check…

8th February 2011 By Free Movement

2010 in review

Happy New Year to you all. May 2011 usher in a new era of sanity in UK immigration law and practice… WordPress, through whom this blog is hosted, have been kind enough to send me an automated email to report on 2010 – see below. I’m a little disappointed that the busiest day yielded 1 view, allegedly, but it is possible that this is a typo by the stats helper monkey. Other non statistical highlights from 2010 include someone plagarising the blog name, my giving up the blog and then starting it again and my attempt to introduce some new blood to ease the pressure on me and broaden the…

4th January 2011 By Free Movement

Future of Free Movement

I have decided that I will revive Free Movement in some shape or form in the near future, although not quite yet. There is just too much going on at the moment in immigration law to abandon the blog and I’ve been really touched and amazed by the many, many comments and direct personal emails I’ve received. I simply had no idea how many people whose opinion I myself value were actively reading the blog. Statistics are not an accurate indicator of influence, I guess. I am still pained and very frustrated by John O’s hijacking of the Free Movement name, I assume in an attempt to associate himself with…

20th November 2010 By Free Movement

Winding down

I have taken the surprisingly easy decision to wind down Free Movement. For reasons that continue to escape me and which have never been explained by John O, formerly of NCADC, he left that organisation in April 2010 and set up a website called, imaginatively enough, Free Movement. It can be found at should you want to check it out. I posted about it at the time. One too many people have now confused the two websites and I want to avoid any confusion. I’ll leave the website up as a resource rather than taking the whole thing down. I’ll have to find another way to keep myself up…

4th October 2010 By Free Movement

Adverts on Free Movement

It has come to my attention that Google Ads sometimes (or possibly always) show on Free Movement to those not already logged in as WordPress users – i.e. everyone except me sometimes sees Google Ads on my blog, basically. This blog is hosted mainly for free on In truth nothing in life is free. place adds on their hosted blogs in order to fund their operation. Free Movement certainly makes no money from such adverts. The long and short of it is that because some unscrupulous immigration ‘advisers’ use Google Ads to promote their ‘services’, sometimes this blog seems to have been inadvertently advertising some people Free Movement…

7th September 2010 By Free Movement

HJT Training blog

HJT Training have set up a blog for updates and developments on immigration law and practice. Contributors will include Mark Symes and David Jones of Garden Court Chambers. I will also be contributing. Free Movement will continue to exist but I plan to use the HJT Training blog for more serious update pieces on law and practice. Both blogs will no doubt continue to evolve and change. Head over there now to see the latest post on an important Court of Appeal case on deportation and human rights, including some useful comment by the Court on the nature of Article 8 family life between parents and an adult child.

1st June 2010 By Free Movement


I’m up late this evening with plenty more work still do to, and like many bloggers (er, all of us, I suspect) will check my blog stats in idle moments. It’s all part of the narcissistic nature of the beast. An old colleague once teased me about reaching the half million mark, and I see that today is the day. I just checked and it is just over three years since I started this whole thing. John Reid was Home Secretary then, I see from the first post. We’ve been through I think three in three years, with another to come very shortly I imagine. Meanwhile there are now 349 email…

30th April 2010 By Free Movement

Free Movement Too

In the really very small world of UK immigration websites, someone has seen fit to set up another one called Free Movement. I’ve tried politely getting in touch but have received no response. It seems that there has been some sort of bust up at NCADC and the legendary John O is no longer based there. Instead, he has set up a website at So, is nothing to do with me or with this Free Movement. Why on earth another name could not have been chosen I really don’t know, but there we go. As this post is already a tad introverted, I’ll use it as a chance…

7th April 2010 By Free Movement

Vacuous and banal

That’s Twitter for you. Or so I thought… Long term and very observant readers may have noticed a brief and unsuccessful experiment with Twitter some months ago, where I thought creating an intelligent (i.e. authored rather than automatic) case law feed would be helpful. There aren’t enough cases coming out to make it worthwhile, and the automatic feeds actually seem to work very well indeed. I started to revisit this when I recently discovered that I can automatically create Twitter feed from posts that I write. I am also very aware that I am not always able to maintain a steady stream of posts as (a) there isn’t always comment-worthy…

3rd March 2010 By Free Movement

Museum of immigration

I’ve just visited the Immigration Museum in Melbourne, Australia. It is based in one of the city’s grand buildings, and one which is tied to the subject matter: the old Customs House. There is an enormous amount of space and the exhibits, text and interactive bits are all very well thought through. It starts with a video looking at the drivers behind migration, war and conflict, disaster, a better life, family and freedom. None is over or under emphasised, or made out to be more or less valid than the others. I learned about the infamous Dictation Test, a proxy for discrimination on the grounds of colour that lasted until 1958,…

20th January 2010 By Free Movement

Temporary migration

Free Movement is leaving for warmer climes and will return embarrassingly late in January. I hope you all have a good Christmas break, and I hope UKBA doesn’t illegally remove too many detainees while their lawyers are off work. I was going to do a parody of the hideous UKBA Christmas card but it is beyond parody. And too depressing. And, anyway, someone else beat me to it. Finally, I’ve been considering partnering up with someone to do a hard-copy summary of what has happened in the last year in immigration law. Would anyone buy it?

23rd December 2009 By Free Movement

Work in progress…

As you can see, I’ve made some presentational changes to the blog over the weekend. Votes were overwhelmingly in favour of de-orangification! I’m looking for a cleaner and more professional presentation, but to retain the functionality of the old version. I’ve decided to use the Grid Focus theme by Derek Punsalan, with some light adjustments to the header (but not much else) in order to include an image. The migrating geese (or possibly ducks) seem like an appropriate image for the blog. The columns have moved, obviously, and I quite like the new arrangement. You will see if you click on a post that the column closest to the main…

28th November 2009 By Free Movement

Slight tweaks

I’ve made a few slight changes to the blog I thought I ought to explain. The UKBA press department has gone mad in recent months and produces so much garbage it drowns out the other items in the news feed. I’ve therefore separated it out into its own box. I might also filter out the various UKBA enforcement announcements bollocks (it’s all very Two Minutes) but not tonight. I’ve promoted the much-clicked-upon BAILII case law feed to the top of the left hand panel but limited it to five items, which is usually enough to see anything new. On the right hand side, the HJT Training advert is back with news…

25th November 2009 By Free Movement

Silly season

I’m going to be away for a while and will begin posting again at the beginning of September. In the meantime, I hope you all have a good summer!

8th August 2009 By Free Movement

Blog news

Following a comment on the comments system, I thought I better do a quick update. Firstly, I’ve been very busy recently and as a result have not been posting as frequently or extensively as normal. This is inevitable, I’m afraid, and given that there are so many email subscribers (115 at last count, after I purged a few dormant ones) I would rather try to avoid ‘fillers’. There is still a lot going on out there (or sometimes not, which is itself worthy of comment) and I’m planning a proper post for later today if I can make time. As to the new comments system, WordPress have introduced a new…

3rd March 2009 By Free Movement

Free Movement is back

But lacks the energy to write anything intelligent. Par for the course, some might claim. I have however been deleting the many comments I now unfortunately receive asking for legal advice. Inevitable, I suppose. Instead of informed, witty, incisive commentary I shall content myself with some random alerts: Metock guidance is finally available. The Entry Clearance Guidance has been amended at chapter 21 and the European Casework Instructions have been amended at chapters 1, 2, 3 and 5. I haven’t managed to scan in Operational Policy Instruction 103, which came with the January ILPA mailing and as far as I know doesn’t yet exist on the internet. Analysis to follow, maybe. Still…

19th January 2009 By Free Movement

Free Movement is away

After a long day in court fighting a losing battle and with plenty of work still to do before Christmas, Free Movement is signing off until well into the New Year. I’m knackered and need a break. A number of fellow immigration lawyers have commented that it is always busy around Christmas. The Immigration Service does seem to have a tendency to schedule removals for public holidays, when pesky lawyers will be less able to intervene to safeguard people’s rights.

22nd December 2008 By Free Movement

A few changes to the blog

I’ve decided to make a few changes to the blog, which I hope are improvements. Comments from regular readers most welcome. Incidentally, I checked Feedburner recently and was surprised to see there are 62 of you out there who subscribe by email. A bit of a ‘hello Mum!’ moment for me, but I hope you find this useful. I’ve changed the ‘theme’, which is the pre-set format for the site. I’m not clever enough to design my own, and I do still have a life outside blogging. Free Movement now has three columns instead of two, and on the left hand column I have inserted two new update tools for…

22nd September 2008 By Free Movement

EU case law

Via a comment left on this site, I’ve been made aware of an excellent blog called EU Case Law, which I’ve added to my ‘blogroll’. It’s a really good way of keeping up to date with the latest legal developments in Europe and certainly covers free movement issues, as today’s update makes abundantly clear. It isn’t a specific immigration site, but it nevertheless looks invaluable to immigration lawyers.

12th June 2007 By Free Movement