Free Movement
The Free Movement blog was founded in 2007 by Colin Yeo, a barrister at Garden Court Chambers specialising in immigration law. The blog provides updates and commentary on immigration and asylum law by a variety of authors.
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Job ad: Freedom from Torture

The Medical Foundation Medico-Legal Report Service at Freedom from Torture is recruiting for the following new position: Legal Officer Contract: Permanent Location: London Part-Time: 14 hours per week Salary: £14,654 p.a. (full-time equivalent salary £36,637) plus generous holiday entitlement, pension scheme and group life assurance Job Ref: VA89 The purpose of the role is to assist our medico-legal report service to provide support and consultation for doctors nationally. To ensure that medico-legal reports for use or potential use in legal proceedings are of good evidential value and meet the requisite standards. The ideal candidate for the role will have the following skills: Ability to present information clearly both orally and in…

8th November 2017 By Free Movement

Job Ad: Westkin Associates

SENIOR IMMIGRATION LAWYER/CASEWORKER Organisation: WESTKIN Associates website: www.westkinassociates.com Location: Mayfair, central london deadline: ONGOING SALARY: Dependent on experience and ability (circa 80,000 plus plus inclusive of and subject to target based bonuses) HOURS: 40 hours a week Requirements & General Description of the role. Applicants must hold level 1 OISC / LSC accreditation or better and/or be actively working towards the same. An Immigration Caseworker occupies a vital place within our growing business, with support from other departments, we ensure that their time is spent servicing client needs and focusing on the satisfaction of their clients. Duties: Conducting client consultations and advising on immigration law Close management of client and…

4th September 2017 By Free Movement

Job ad: Crowley & Company

Crowley & Company is a well-established Cardiff firm specialising in asylum, human rights, immigration and nationality law.  We seek an experienced caseworker to join our small specialist team. We are looking for someone who is competent in conducting all tasks permitted under the Law Society IAAS Level 2 (accreditation to this level essential).  You should have a wide experience in lodging asylum and human rights claims and appeals as well as private immigration.  Additionally you should also have a good knowledge and understanding of the changes to immigration and asylum law and practice. We conduct both private and publicly funded work and have been awarded the Specialist Quality Mark (SQM)….

15th August 2017 By Free Movement

Home Office cracking down on entry of amateur cricketers

The Home Office appears to be cracking down on the entry of foreign amateur cricketers and sportspeople. Emails released by the Home Office under a Freedom of Information request suggest that unpaid amateur cricketers who might in future wish to earn a living from their sport or even any under 17 player who has played at state, province, territory or national team level, paid or unpaid, should be barred from entry to play as an amateur in the UK “so as to protect opportunities for resident sportspeople who are seeking to make a current or future liivng in that sport” and “prevent the displacement of settled workers.” The same approach…

26th July 2017 By Free Movement

New charity created to work on identifying and tracing missing and dead refugees: Last Rights

Many go missing and die across the world during refugee and migrant journeys. The names of most dead and missing are unknown; families untraced, bodies buried in unmarked graves. With those affected we will develop protocols on best practice and procedure, based on international human rights law, for those working with dead and missing migrants to make families and their rights visible and ensure that the rights and dignity of the missing and dead are respected as well as those of the bereaved. The Last Rights project is creating a new framework of respect for the rights of missing and dead refugees and bereaved family members. Catriona Jarvis, former UK judge…

22nd June 2017 By Free Movement

Athens Refugee Legal Support Project: what is happening on the ground and how to donate

Image (c) Sarah Booker The pilot of the Athens Refugee Legal Support Project has now run for 2 months now. We work out of a community centre in Athens with the support of ILPA and Garden Court Chambers. Weekly reports from UK legal volunteers (solicitors, barristers, case workers) tell a similar story. The Greek asylum service is overburdened. Greek lawyers on the frontline are overstretched and the majority of refugees do not receive any advice or representation prior to receiving the initial decision on their asylum claim. If refused they can expect an excruciatingly long appeal process. To make matters worse, many reside in squats, unable to access accommodation from…

21st June 2017 By Free Movement

Fundraising campaign for refugee family reunion charity Together Now

My brother and his girlfriend are fundraising for the fantastic, small, shoestring charity Together Now. Not a penny is wasted. They work on the practical end of refugee family reunion applications, funding travel costs and sometimes DNA tests and other costs. Parents are sometimes forced to make impossible decisions about how to keep their family safe. Some are forced to leave their children behind as they flee persecution and torture. Once they are granted the right to stay in the UK the first thought of many refugees is to reunite their family. We provide support to parents as they bring their family to join them and help to alleviate some of the practical problems faced…

13th June 2017 By Free Movement

Job ad: Head of Legal Protection & Medico-Legal Services, Helen Bamber Foundation

The Helen Bamber Foundation is renowned for its work with refugees and asylum seekers who have experienced torture, human trafficking and other forms of extreme human cruelty. We are looking for an experienced legal expert to provide direction to the Legal Protection and Medico-Legal Services of the Foundation, and to manage a multidisciplinary team that includes legal officers, clinicians, and housing and welfare coordinators. This role involves working closely with HBF’s clients and being responsible for advancing protection concerns within asylum, trafficking/slavery, housing & welfare law, legislation and policy. This is a unique opportunity to work with leading trauma experts in the field. For more information please go to http://www.helenbamber.org/work-with-us/ where you can…

23rd March 2017 By Free Movement

Article 8 assessed at date of decision in entry clearance cases

Article 8 is to be assessed as at the date of decision in entry clearance cases, the Court of Appeal has found: Accordingly, I would reject the date of decision argument. The decision under appeal was, as regards article 8 as much as the policy issue, the ECO’s decision of 12 March 2012; and the relevant circumstances were thus, in accordance with section 85A (2), those appertaining at the date of that decision. Source: Gurung v The Entry Clearance Officer, New Delhi [2016] EWCA Civ 358 (07 April 2016) This post has been corrected. It originally suggested that Article 8 was to be assessed at the date of appeal, which is…

13th July 2016 By Free Movement

Independent Monitoring Board slams Heathrow Immigration Removal Centres

What were Harmondsworth and Colnbrook Detention Centres have been brought under the same management, and are now called Heathrow Immigration Removal Centres. Nonetheless, as the Independent Monitoring Board’s report shows, detention centres by another name still have their same old problems. The Board’s recommendations focus on treatment of vulnerable people, both mentally and physically. The first point noted is that due to lack of facilities and care, the physically disabled are unable to live with respect and dignity in the detention centres. The Board note that matters have not improved since 2014. Given that the Board reported two years ago that access for physically disabled detainees needed to be improved,…

23rd May 2016 By Free Movement

Renegotiating free movement within the EU

I was asked by a Polish media outlet for comment in this Boris Johnson piece on renegotiation of EU free movement rules and the idea of quotas. Here’s what I said: A quota for free movement of workers around Europe is impossible under the fundamental treaties of the European Union and would not be “free” movement at all. Renegotiation of one of the four fundamental freedoms that were the founding principles of the Union — people, goods, services and capital — is highly unlikely, and all the more so given that the UK’s governing party, the Conservatives, opted out of alliance with other centre right parties in Europe. Boris Johnson…

14th October 2014 By Free Movement

Removals to Mogadishu are re-starting

The Home Office have started giving directions for the removal of failed asylum seekers to Mogadishu on Turkish Airline flights via Istanbul. Anyone given such removal directions might ask the Home Office to reconsider whether they risk violating their human rights in the light of the announcement by Al Shabaab on 29.12.2013 that Somalis who have returned to their homeland from abroad “have been taught garbage and sins, and have lost [their] religion and are being used [to spread evil] ” and so “will be killed and fought against in the same manner” that al-Shabaab fights against the Somali government.  “They are working for the infidels, and since they are…

21st February 2014 By Free Movement

Richmond Mags dedicated immigration hearing centre from April

There are three courts at Richmond Mags being used for immigration hearings now but all five will apparently be used for immigration hearings from April. Meanwhile, the family court at Richmond is apparently moving to Hatton Cross, which has been seriously underused for immigration cases in recent months despite the growing waiting times for immigration appeals. UPDATE: experience so far suggests that car users will be attempting to push their way to the front of the Richmond lists because parking here is not free. Be warned, anyone does that to me and I will make them *eat* their car keys.

9th January 2014 By Free Movement

‘Proving’ sexual orientation in asylum claims

According to the recent Missing the Mark report by the excellent UK Lesbian and Gay Immigration Group, a worryingly high proportion of LGBTI asylum claims are refused because the Home Office does not believe that the claimant has ‘proved’ his or her sexual orientation.

30th October 2013 By Free Movement

Unreported immigration tribunal decisions

Unreported immigration tribunal decisions BAILII now seems to host 37,453 unreported determinations of the immigration tribunal, dating back to 2003. May mean we can finally track down the decisions The Telegraph uses in its ongoing campaign to stop humans having rights. I’ll add these into the case law feed box on the right. There seems to be no hugely easy way to search only these cases at the moment but I’ve made enquiries of BAILII.

8th July 2013 By Free Movement

Freedom From Torture referrals by email

Freedom From Torture referrals by email Freedom From Torture are spreading the word that referrals to them for medico-legal reports can now be made by email, a new facility that makes life just a little easier.

27th June 2013 By Free Movement

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

“How am I supposed to be Home Secretary after this?”

I’m not a big fan of this meme but I know a lot of people do find them funny… Personally, I’m also a lot more defeatist than the maker of this parody. To my mind, the more liberals and lawyers make a fuss the more this enhances Grayling’s career prospects. Whether or not every aspect of the changes becomes reality, even trying strengthens his strongman position within his party. Ironically, perhaps the best hope for a reprieve for the justice system is that he gets promoted as soon as possible.

29th May 2013 By Free Movement

Further judicial warnings on urgent injunction applications

Sir John Thomas has given a further warning to solicitors and barristers acting in urgent injunction applications. The case is R (on the application of Rehman) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2013] EWHC 1351 (Admin). No names are named this time, at least not so far: In the present case the explanation given for everything being done at the last moment is one where those concerned, following counsel’s clear and cogent advice, did try to satisfy the obligations of disclosure. It is deeply regrettable that because of the way in which that firm was organised and the commitments of counsel that the application was made late. We take this…

23rd May 2013 By Free Movement

Private landlords as immigration informants

UPDATE: NOW IN FORCE. A few weeks ago David Cameron suggested that private landlords should be required to check the immigration status of tenants. Now, lo and behold, the measure is to be included in a new Immigration Bill announced in the Queen’s Speech. This such a Bad Idea it is difficult to know where to start to explain why. Perhaps the clearest way to put it is to say that it is Good News for we immigration lawyers, and therefore Very Bad News for everyone else. Employers who employ immigrants who do not possess permission to work are already given criminal or civil penalties if they fail to check their…

22nd May 2013 By Free Movement

Round up

There are some detailed blog posts to come on some of the more important things that happened in the last fortnight, but for those who missed their beloved Free Movement updates here is a brief round up of developments I’ve spotted looking through my emails on my return from holiday. In no particular order… The Home Office’s self inflicted wounds caused by bad legislative drafting and rushed legislation continued with a rare example of the Court of Appeal upholding a major legal ruling by the Upper Tribunal, that of Ahmadi on section 47. As previously discussed this potentially causes huge problems down the line for the Home Office as setting later…

21st May 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

ACCA not a degree

ACCA not a degree says High Court Zane has suggested on Twitter he is appealing but this looks pretty authoritative, at least in cases that were decided before the Supreme Court decision in Alvi. Note that the claimant in this case, Syed, had to argue that non binding ‘policy guidance’ changed the meaning of the quasi-statutory immigration rules. For cases after July 2012, if there are any, the legal arguments are a little different.

29th April 2013 By Free Movement

Legal aid and access to justice

Legal aid work has, paradoxically, always felt like both a duty and a privilege. A duty because the rates of pay are much lower than for private work and, arguably, even artificially depress private rates. The still recent across the board 10% cut in legal aid rates merely exacerbated that differential. A privilege, though, because like every single legal aid lawyer I came into this area of work to represent and work with people who really need help, the involuntary litigants with no other recourse than to the law to safeguard their rights. It is precisely those clients, the most vulnerable and unpopular ones, who were targeted by the Government…

22nd April 2013 By Free Movement

Chen children and employment

Chen children and employment Interesting new case on Chen children and whether income from the lawful employment of their parents can create self sufficiency for the purposes of EU law: Seye (Chen children; employment) [2013] UKUT 178 (IAC). Tribunal suggests that it can, but unlawful employment or s.3C leave employment cannot.

18th April 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 ?? http://t.co/zyrDF5OcG4 — 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

Sikhs in Afghanistan

DSG &  Others (Afghan Sikhs: departure from CG) Afghanistan [2013] UKUT 148 (IAC) Having done quite a few Afghan Sikh cases myself I can say this looks like a very sensible and pragmatic decision essentially disavowing the rather antiquated existing Country Guidance case on this group. A new CG case may be in the pipeline with Charlotte Bayati of Renaissance Chambers and Danny Bazini of No 5 Chambers as Counsel, I under stand. Official headnote as follows: 1. A judge may depart from existing country guidance in the circumstances described in Practice Direction 12.2 and 12.4 and the UT (IAC) Guidance Note 2011, no. 2, paragraphs 11 and 12. 2. The evidence before…

8th April 2013 By Free Movement

Important guidance on medical evidence in asylum cases

JL (medical reports-credibility) China [2013] UKUT 145 (IAC) Important read for anyone commissioning, writing or relying on medical reports in asylum cases. Official headnote: (1) Those writing medical reports for use in immigration and asylum appeals should ensure where possible that, before forming their opinions, they study any assessments that have already been made of the appellant’s credibility by the immigration authorities and/or a tribunal judge (SS (Sri Lanka) [2012] EWCA Civ 155 [30]; BN (psychiatric evidence discrepancies) Albania [2010] UKUT 279 (IAC) at [49], [53])). When the materials to which they should have regard include previous determinations by a judge, they should not conduct a running commentary on the reasoning of the judge who…

8th April 2013 By Free Movement

OO (gay men: risk) Algeria [2013] UKUT 63 (IAC)

OO (gay men: risk) Algeria [2013] UKUT 63 (IAC) Official headnote: a) “Sodomy” and “acts against nature with a member of the same sex” are illegal under Penal Code Article 388 and 333 in Algeria and on conviction carry a criminal sentence of up to 3 years imprisonment and/or a fine. b) Criminal prosecutions of gay men under Articles 388 and 333 are, however, extremely rare. c) The evidence does not suggest that, as a general matter, societal and familial disapproval of male gay identity in Algeria reaches levels that are persecutory, within the meaning of Article 9 of the Qualification Directive or which otherwise reach the threshold required for…

8th April 2013 By Free Movement

Plus ça change

So, the ill-starred UK Border Agency is to be abolished. Few if any will be sorry to see it go. But the sordid business of immigration control will go on and, as the Permanent Secretary, Mark Sedwell, wrote to staff: “Most of us will still be doing the same job in the same place with the same colleagues for the same boss and with the same mission…” Is abolition a case of ‘here comes the new boss, same as the old boss’ (for non Who fans, try plus ça change or le roi est mort, vive le roi!), will it make things better, or is it a further example of…

8th April 2013 By Free Movement

Jo Renshaw on the effect of LASPO

Excellent but awfully depressing article by Jo Renshaw of Legal Aid Lawyers of the Year 2012 firm Turpin & Miller in the New Law Journal on the effect of LASPO: …The list of casualties among those who are often the least able to fight their own corner is long and depressing. There are going to be the tough moments ahead—not just financially but emotionally—and the toughest moments are going to come when we have to turn away clients for whom we have taken great pride and satisfaction in assisting for most of our professional lives and for whom there is often nowhere else to turn for help.

2nd April 2013 By Free Movement

Case of Wray successfully appealed

Email in from David Jones at Garden Court Chambers: Just wanted to drop you a line as it has been flagged up to me that Mark Wray v SSHD [2010] EWHC 3301, a case with which I have been involved, has been relied on in judgments to support interference with Article 8 rights on proportionality grounds in family life cases on the basis of the need to maintain an effective immigration control without more. The case has also been referred to on par with Ekinci v SSHD [2003] EWCA 765 as a case where “an individual is a clear threat and commits heinous crimes such that there is an obvious…

13th March 2013 By Free Movement

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

Channel 4 News report on suspension of Tamil removals

Renaissance Chambers doesn’t get a mention by The Snow but does in the accompanying website article, which is nice. Great work by Charlotte and Nishan. For clarification, S. Satha & Co were the solicitors acting.

27th February 2013 By Free Movement
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