Colin Yeo
Immigration and asylum barrister, blogger, writer and consultant at Garden Court Chambers in London and founder and editor of the Free Movement immigration law website.
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Study finds asylum judges fail to assist vulnerable appellants

Really interesting study, which should be carefully considered in the Immigration and Asylum Chambers. …There are clearly dangers to an overly rule-bound judicial approach, as conveyed by Conley and O’Barr’s (1988) description of ‘the proceduralist judge’ whose ‘high priority on maintaining procedural regularity’ (498) ‘may become condescending or sarcastic’ (500) and may present the law as ‘remote and inaccessible’ (502). Yet our findings raise concerns over the inequitable use of procedural discretion when it is afforded to judges. Substantive discretion – that is a judge’s freedom to reason and decide without encumbrance – is a different matter and a central requirement of judicial independence. We have demonstrated, however, that where…

15th August 2017 By Colin Yeo

Virtual hearings to be trialled in immigration tribunal from October 2017

To make sure we reduce inconvenience and cost to our users and provide greater flexibility and access to our services, we must deal with cases in the most efficient and proportionate way. One of the ways in which we are doing this is the expansion of video and telephony links to provide remote access either into a physical court room or into the new design of a ‘virtual court room’. The use of video links already allows victims and vulnerable people to take part in criminal proceedings without having to meet the defendant face-to-face. Telephone conference technology is also already used (to a limited degree) to progress and manage cases…

11th August 2017 By Colin Yeo

Syrians can now upgrade to full refugee status: new form issued

Particularly relevant to Syrians who were not granted formal refugee status and instead got the lesser status of Humanitarian Protection: This form is for people resettled under the Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme or the Vulnerable Children’s Resettlement Scheme who wish to request their status in the UK is changed from Humanitarian Protection to refugee status. Source: Request to change humanitarian protection status to refugee status – GOV.UK

10th August 2017 By Colin Yeo

UK’s Home Office issues $118m digitisation tender for immigration

Britain’s Home Office has issued a £91m ($118m) tender for immigration services using biometrics and the digitisation of supporting evidence. The tender covers how up to 780,000 people either extend their stay in the UK, settle or pursue British nationality. I’m sure this will be a resounding success, brought in on budget, on time and will be completely prepared for Brexit. Source: UK’s Home Office issues $118m digitisation tender for immigration | Planet Biometrics News

10th August 2017 By Colin Yeo

Full day EU immigration law conference: Glasgow, 8 September 2017

Following a great deal of interest on the Free Movement Forum about a members meet up, Bilaal Shabbir of MBS Solicitors in Scotland has taken the initiative to arrange this in the form of an event in Scotland. An EU themed immigration law conference has now been arranged and will be hosted in Glasgow in an attempt to unite Scottish and English practitioners in this field. RECENT DEVELOPMENTS AND NEW PERSPECTIVES FROM THE UK’S LEADING PRACTITIONERS AND ACADEMICS WHEN: Friday, 8th September 2017. Registration will open from 9am and the event will close around 4pm followed by an opportunity to network. There will be a lunch break between 12:45pm and…

9th August 2017 By Colin Yeo

New official Administrative Court judicial review guide for 2017

Detailed legal guidance on bringing a judicial review case in the Administrative Court.The July 2017 edition reflects legislative and practice changes relevant to the Administrative Court over the last year. Includes guidance on: starting a claim applying for permission for judicial review substantive hearings remedies case management specific practice points ending a claim costs appeals The guide also includes contact details for the court, information on forms and fees, and addresses for serving documents on government departments. Would be nice to see an equivalent for the Upper Tribunal, particularly as there are presumably far more litigants in person and the Upper Tribunal seems anxious about poor standards of legal representation….

9th August 2017 By Colin Yeo

How expensive are UK immigration applications and is this a problem?

The cost of making an immigration or nationality application has risen extremely steeply in recent years. Annual increases of 20% or 25% per year are now standard, bringing the current cost of an application for Indefinite Leave to Remain in 2017 to £2,297. The actual cost of processing such an application is £252, so the Home Office is generating considerable income from each application. The cost of settlement is only one of the last steps in a long journey of applications, though. The total costs of applying to enter the UK as a spouse, for example, are much higher once all the different applications and fees are taken into account:…

3rd August 2017 By Colin Yeo

How complex are the UK immigration rules and is this a problem?

One of the fundamental principles of the rule of law is that the law “must be accessible and so far as possible intelligible, clear and predictable” (Tom Bingham, The Rule of Law, 2010). The reasons for this should be self evident. Just as it is impossible to play a sport fairly without knowing the rules, so it is impossible to live life fairly without knowing the law, or at least being able to find out what it is. Immigration law is anything but accessible, intelligible, clear and predictable. Accessibility: what does immigration law say? The first issue with immigration law is finding out what it says. Lord Neuberger, outgoing President of…

1st August 2017 By Colin Yeo

May 2017 immigration update podcast

Welcome to the May 2017 edition of the Free Movement immigration update podcast. This month I’m starting with the current waiting times for immigration appeals, moving on to give some quick mentions to some big blog posts we put out in May and then covering a load of cases from Strasbourg, the CJEU, several from the Court of Appeal and then quite a few at tribunal level as well. The material is all drawn from the May 2017 blog posts on Free Movement. If you would like to claim CPD points for reading the material and listening to this podcast, sign up here as a Free Movement Member. There are now over 40 CPD…

31st July 2017 By Colin Yeo

April 2017 immigration update podcast

Welcome to the April 2017 edition of the Free Movement immigration update podcast. This month we cover the increase in immigration fees, several nationality law issues, run though the most important cases we saw in April and end with some mentions for some new or amended Home Office policy documents, including on permanent residence applications, and for a mega-post on the general grounds for refusal in the immigration rules. The material is all drawn from the April 2017 blog posts on Free Movement. If you would like to claim CPD points for reading the material and listening to this podcast, sign up here as a Free Movement Member. There are now over 40 CPD…

24th July 2017 By Colin Yeo

Half price summer sale on all Free Movement group memberships

We’re running a summer sale until 11 August 2017 on all new group memberships of up to 50 members: half price for the first year. The codes to use are when making your purchase to apply the discount are: Small groups of 10 or less use code SUMMERSALES Medium groups of up to 20 use code SUMMERSALEM Large groups of up to 50 use SUMMERSALEL The codes expire on 11 August 2017 so make sure you sign up before then. This is the cheapest Free Movement has ever been available: for a group of 50 members it works out at just £20 each for a whole year. Members receive: Full…

21st July 2017 By Colin Yeo

When might an appeal continue even though Home Office withdraws the decision?

In the case of ZEI & Ors (Decision withdrawn – FtT Rule 17 – considerations : Palestine) [2017] UKUT 292 (IAC)  the Upper Tribunal, chaired by Mr Ockelton, has considered the application of rule 17 of the procedure rules. This rule provides that where the Home Office withdraws a decision which is under appeal, the appeal will normaly be treated as withdrawn: 17.—(1)    A party may give notice of the withdrawal of their appeal— (a)     by providing to the Tribunal a written notice of withdrawal of the appeal; or (b)     orally at a hearing, and in either case must specify the reasons for that withdrawal. (2)     The Tribunal must…

20th July 2017 By Colin Yeo

Tribunal decides wasted costs orders cannot be made against Home Office representatives

In the case of Awuah and Others (Wasted Costs Orders – HOPOs – Tribunal Powers) [2017] UKFTT 555 (IAC) the tribunal has decided that a wasted costs order — an order that a representative personally pay the costs incurred by the other side because of poor personal conduct — cannot be made against a Home Office Presenting Officer. They can however still be made against representatives for appellants. This is not what one would describe as a level playing field on which the same rules and obligations apply to all players equally. The official headnote reads: (i)            The First-tier Tribunal (“FtT”) is not empowered to make a Wasted Costs…

19th July 2017 By Colin Yeo

Expert witness wins apology and payment from Legal Aid Agency | Law Society Gazette

The Legal Aid Agency has been told to directly apologise and pay £10,000 to an expert witness in immigration cases for causing him distress, inconvenience and financial loss by excessively auditing his bills. In a report seen by the Gazette, the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman says it has decided to ‘partly uphold’ Dr Alan George’s complaint. Middle East expert George had alleged that the agency unfairly denigrated his character, unfairly reduced, capped and refused his fees; and unfairly subjected his work and fees to excessive assessment, review and audit from spring 2011 until autumn 2013. The ombudsman says: ‘We found that LAA did not act transparently when investigating their concerns…

18th July 2017 By Colin Yeo

Home Office inspectors release series of reports: highlights for lawyers

For some reason the Home Office has just released a swathe of inspection reports into a wide range of Home Office operations. In practical terms, this makes it impossible for the press to pick out more than one or two stories from the reports and it therefore very effectively reduces scrutiny. Usually I have nothing better to do than sit and read these reports when they are hot off the press (!) but 10 in two days seems excessive even to me I cannot stir myself to read all of them. It is almost as if there is something to hide somewhere in there. Nevertheless, I am going to confine…

14th July 2017 By Colin Yeo

What are the terms of the immigration “amnesty” for survivors of the Grenfell Tower disaster?

The Home Office this week published a new policy setting out the terms of a 12 month immigration “amnesty” for survivors of the Grenfell Tower fire. In short, the Government is offering a grant (or extension) of 12 months leave to enter or remain with access public funds included as well as the right to work. Applications must be made before 31 August 2017. There is no formal application form that must be used and no fee is payable, nor is the Immigration Health Surcharge. This policy is additional to the Government’s previous assurance that immigration checks will not be carried out on Grenfell Tower survivors, an assurance reiterated in…

7th July 2017 By Colin Yeo

New guidance for the public and for professionals on immigration and asylum related legal issues – Bar Standards Board

The Bar Standards Board (BSB) has today published two new guidance documents on immigration and asylum issues. The guidance was developed in collaboration with the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) and the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC), and was developed following extensive consultation with consumer organisations and consumers themselves. Its publication follows the immigration roundtable that the BSB held in April. The first guidance document is aimed directly at people seeking legal help. The second is for professionals working with people with immigration and asylum issues, to help them better assist their clients to navigate the legal system. The guidance for the public explains: The different types of people…

5th July 2017 By Colin Yeo

Job advert: Deputy Editor for Free Movement website

Closing date: 31 July 2017 5pm The Free Movement website has gone from strength to strength over the last 12 months. Readership has increased massively, to an average of over 300,000 page views per month. Ebook sales are going well and membership has gone up by 20% to 1,200 active members. Innovative fixed cost online legal services are now provided to members of the public via a partner, Seraphus Solicitors. The day to day management demands of Free Movement have also increased. There is now a small team of writers and an administrative assistant to co-ordinate. In order to focus more on writing and my other work, I am seeking…

3rd July 2017 By Colin Yeo

An immigration lawyer reviews Paddington

In tribute to beloved author Michael Bond (1926-2017), who died yesterday, I am republishing this blog post reviewing the film Paddington, based on the character created by Bond. The blog post was originally published on 1 December 2014 and versions of it appeared in the New Statesman and Financial Times. Law is pretty abstract. Unlike the role of a doctor or a builder, that of a lawyer is difficult to explain to a young mind. When my children eventually ask me about what I do when I “work” (confusingly simultaneously a place I seem to go to and a thing I do at home; either takes me away from them) my plan is to…

29th June 2017 By Colin Yeo

Analysis: what is the UK proposing for EU citizens in the UK and EU citizens in the EU?

On 26 June 2017, over a year after the Brexit referendum result, the government finally published its proposals to “safeguard the position of EU citizens living in the UK and UK nationals living in the EU”. Here we take a look at the details of the proposals. It is important to remember that at the moment these are just proposals by the UK. They have been tabled as part of a negotiation process. The UK proposals may change, either becoming more generous as part of the negotiation or being withdrawn partially or in full if the negotiations fail. The EU has already made public its own comprehensive proposals, which are…

27th June 2017 By Colin Yeo

What does the Queen’s Speech say (and not say) about immigration and EU citizens?

The Queen’s Speech was today. This sets out the legislative agenda for the new Government and lists expected new Acts of Parliament the Government hopes to pass in the coming year. There are reports that this Queen’s Speech may be intended to cover a two year period, but with the likelihood of an early election it may end up being very short indeed. Either way, the agenda is dominated by Brexit to the exclusion of almost everything else. This will be the story of our country for the next decade or so: trying to sort out Brexit to the exclusion of all else. A new Immigration Bill is proposed. However,…

21st June 2017 By Colin Yeo

What will happen to immigration policy and law following the 2017 General Election?

It is the Queen’s Speech today. This sets out the legislative agenda for the coming Parliament in 2017 and 2018. But no party managed to win an overall majority in the General Election. We have what the political pundits and historians call a Hung Parliament in which there is a party which has more MPs than any other, but not enough MPs to outvote all of the other parties if they all voted together. This is going to make it very difficult for the new Government to pass primary legislation, by which I mean new Acts of Parliament. But any Government needs to look like it is doing something and…

21st June 2017 By Colin Yeo

What is the legal meaning of “refugee”?

This week is Refugee Week. The Free Movement blog is about communicating complex legal issues in immigration and asylum law in a clear way so I have amended and republishing this blog post explaining what a refugee actually is in legal terms. I have also collected together some of our previous blog posts about asylum issues. I hope you find it useful and interesting! I am also making my refugee law ebook freely available for this week. The ebook is a detailed examination of refugee law as it is understood and practiced in the UK. Use code “refugeeweek” as you are making a purchase and a 100% discount will be…

19th June 2017 By Colin Yeo

Supreme Court rules “deport first, appeal later” is unfair and unlawful

In R (Kiarie and Byndloss) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2017] UKSC 42 the Supreme Court has struck down “deport first, appeal later” certificates for two foreign criminals. The Home Office had made use of new rules in the Immigration Act 2014 which force some appellants to leave the UK before their appeal takes place, meaning that they are not present to give evidence. Of 1,175 cases in which these powers have so far been used, only 72 individuals attempted to pursue an appeal from abroad. None succeeded. The “deport first, appeal later” rules were originally applied only to foreign criminals facing deportation. However, the Immigration Act…

14th June 2017 By Colin Yeo

What does the Democratic Unionist Party think about immigration?

Picking through varous manifestos and public statements of the Democratic Unionist Party and its leading members reveals a few clues about the stance of the party on immigration issues. This may prove critical in the lifetime of the coming Government — whether that be days, weeks or months — because it is only with the support of the DUP that any new immigration legislation can be passed and the support of the DUP may be crucial if challenges are brought to immigration rules and regulations laid before Parliament. Before going further, though, bear in mind that immigration law is not a devolved issue so it is not something that parties…

13th June 2017 By Colin Yeo

Fundraising appeal for Refugee Advocacy Programme in Uganda

Team Gaenor needs your support to ensure refugees fleeing persecution, conflict and oppression can access Pan African Development Education And Advocacy Programme services, which supports and empowers them to rebuild their lives in Uganda. More refugees entered Uganda last year than crossed the Mediterranean: it is one of the world’s fastest growing refugee crises. 4,500 are arriving every day from Southern Sudan, joining those from neighbouring Somalia, Congo, Burundi, Eritrea and Ethiopia.  Against this backdrop, and with continuing cuts to funding for refugee services in Uganda, PADEAP Uganda is more important than ever. We continue to offer training, legal advice, psycho social support. We pioneered and run the only ‘refugee…

6th June 2017 By Colin Yeo

Court of Appeal dismisses challenge to rules on Adult Dependent Relatives

The Court of Appeal has dismissed the challenge brought by campaign group Britcits to the restrictive Immigration Rules on the admission to the UK of parents, grandparents and other adult dependent relatives. The case is BRITCITS v The Secretary of State for the Home Department [2017] EWCA Civ 368. On 9 July 2012, the Immigration Rules on parents, grandparents and other dependent relatives were fundamentally changed, making it virtually impossible for them to be admitted to the UK to join a carer. The main stumbling blocks are these paragraphs from Appendix FM: E-ECDR.2.4. The applicant or, if the applicant and their partner are the sponsor’s parents or grandparents, the applicant’s partner, must…

30th May 2017 By Colin Yeo

The hostile environment: what is it and who does it affect?

What is the hostile environment? The “hostile environment” for migrants is a package of measures designed to make life so difficult for individuals without permission to remain that they will not seek to enter the UK to begin with or if already present will leave voluntarily. It is inextricably linked to the net migration target; the hostile environment is intended to reduce inward migration and increase outward emigration. The hostile environment includes measures to limit access to work, housing, health care, bank accounts and to reduce and restrict rights of appeal against Home Office decisions. The majority of these proposals became law via the Immigration Act 2014, and have since been…

29th May 2017 By Colin Yeo

Crowdfunding campaign for JCWI challenge to “right to rent” scheme

Can untrained landlords and agents tell if you have a legal right to be in the UK? Should unpaid landlords and agents have to do the Government’s job of immigration enforcement for them? If you look or sound ‘foreign’ why would a landlord take the risk of prison or a fine to let to you? JCWI has begun pre-action correspondence to ensure that the Right to Rent scheme is not rolled out further without a full evaluation of discrimination under the scheme and whether or not the scheme is working. Your pledge will help us: Fund our work, and possibly pay for experts, to prepare the evidence we and others have gathered for…

26th May 2017 By Colin Yeo

Is the triggering of Article 50 a good argument for making a reference to The Court Of Justice now? – Monckton Chambers

Also well worth a read: As all readers of this post will know, the United Kingdom gave notice of its decision to withdraw from the EU on 29 March 2017. Under Article 50 TEU, that means that (subject to a different date being provided for in a withdrawal agreement or an extension by unanimity) the UK will cease to be subject to the Treaties on 30 March 2019.Unless any different provision is made in a withdrawal agreement, the Court of Justice of the EU will cease, on that date, to have jurisdiction to rule on questions of EU law referred to it by UK courts under Article 267 TFEU.Since the…

24th May 2017 By Colin Yeo

EU can point to clear precedents in Brexit court showdown | MLex market insight

Worth a read: The Brexit negotiations are heading for an early battle. The remaining EU states on Monday agreed that the rights of EU citizens living in the UK after its withdrawal should fall under the jurisdiction of the EU Court of Justice, or CJEU. The UK wants to guarantee individuals’ rights, but rejects the oversight of the bloc’s top-tier court in Luxembourg. “The simple truth is: we are leaving,” Brexit secretary David Davis has said. “We are going to be outside the reach of the European court.” European Commission negotiators will be able to cite previous rulings that have set precedents and conditions for granting the CJEU jurisdiction over…

24th May 2017 By Colin Yeo

The case of Stoly Jankovic: what are the 10 and 20 year rules on long residence?

The case of Stoly Jankovic recently attracted a lot of press attention and a great deal of sympathy. He had apparently been living and working in the UK since 1991, for a period of 26 years. How can it be right that he be detained for removal after all that time? Well, the rules on acquiring lawful status after long residence are very tightly drawn and it sounds as if he has fallen foul of them. I have been meaning to write a post on the long residence rules for as long as I can remember, and this seems like a good opportunity. How did Mr Jankovic find himself in this predicament?…

24th May 2017 By Colin Yeo

Recruitment ends tomorrow for 65 new salaried judges of the First-tier Tribunal

An exercise to identify candidates to recommend for the post of salaried judge of the First-tier Tribunal opens today. There are 45 immediate vacancies and 20 that are expected to arise in the near future. Unlike previous exercises for the First-tier Tribunal, which identified candidates for a specific chamber, this exercise will identify candidates who can be deployed to any of the First-tier Tribunal Chambers. This is an excellent opportunity for solicitors, barristers and chartered legal executives from all areas of the professions, as candidates do not need to have previous judicial experience to apply. Most initial assignments are expected to be to the Immigration and Asylum Chamber and the…

23rd May 2017 By Colin Yeo

March 2017 immigration update podcast

Welcome to the March 2017 edition of the Free Movement immigration update podcast. This episode I start with the some general news and updates, I then run through a whole load of cases, most of which I think are Court of Appeal authorities, and then end with a look at Statement of Changes HC1078 and then a few of the new style of more detailed blog posts on the Immigration Rules, this time covering several more of the general grounds for refusal. These have now been collected together into a training course for those who are interested. The material is all drawn from the March 2017 blog posts on Free Movement. If you would…

22nd May 2017 By Colin Yeo

The interregnum: 11 years without free movement from 1962 to 1973

There was a short period of just 11 years between 1962 and 1973 when free movement of people did not apply in the UK. Other than during that time, businesses and public services have had easy access to workers from other countries. Following Brexit, the UK will be embarking on a similar period. If the full force of UK immigration law is brought to bear on all foreign nationals, this will require major adjustments in economy and society. One wonders how long the interregnum might last this time. This blog post is based on notes for a talk I was due to give last week but had to pull out of…

19th May 2017 By Colin Yeo

Book review: Bureaucracy, Law and Dystopia in the United Kingdom’s Asylum System by John Campbell

The first thing to say about this book is that it has a really excellent and entirely appropriate title. The contents do not fail to deliver. Campbell seeks to place immigration and asylum decision making by officials and judges within a wider context, taking into account not just the internalised processes and self perception of individuals operating (or being operated by) the system but also the institutional and cultural influences at work. Campbell is particularly interested in the role, direct and indirect, of the Home Office at all stages in the process, which he finds to be all pervading. Very little academic research or writing has been done on the…

19th May 2017 By Colin Yeo

Immigration law and policy after the election: unfortunately, the Conservative manifesto tells us what is coming

Some people are posting up comparisons of different immigration policies of different parties. I cannot see the point. The result of the next General Election is a foregone conclusion and has been since Jeremy Corbyn was re-elected leader of the Labour Party. Surprisingly, some on the left even now do not understand this, but the opinion polls are very, very clear. Labour has edged up a little in the latest polls but the gap remains oceanic in scale. And opinion polls historically overestimate Labour support, not underestimate it. So, if we want to know what is going to happen in immigration law and policy after the election, all we have…

18th May 2017 By Colin Yeo

Capparrelli (EEA Nationals – British Nationality) [2017] UKUT 162 (IAC) -Comment by Ian Macdonald QC

Ian Macdonald QC has sent in an interesting note on the controversial Capparrelli determination. For background, see original Free Movement write up here: Tribunal finds Home Office has wrongly issued British passports to EU citizens and their children. Section 1 of the British Nationality Act 1981 (the “1981 Act”), the subject matter whereof is “Acquisition by birth or adoption”, provides: “(1) A person born in the United Kingdom after commencement, or in a qualifying territory on or after the appointed day, shall be a British citizen if at the time of the birth his father or mother is— … (b) settled in the United Kingdom or that territory.” Section 1 came…

18th May 2017 By Colin Yeo

Tribunal rules a Big Issue seller has no right of residence in EU law

Seems like a dubious decision to me on the facts, but it cannot be faulted for rehearsing the relevant law quite thoroughly. The lady in question was earning a steady £50 per week working a 40 hour week and the First-tier dismissed the appeal on the basis that the work was not “genuine and effective”: 19. I considered the totality of the appellant’s family financial circumstances. The appellant’s rent was met by Housing Benefit and she claims Tax Credits of about £150 per week. The appellant’s earnings from selling the Big Issue make up the remainder of the family income and I hold on the balance of probabilities that the appellant’s…

18th May 2017 By Colin Yeo
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