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.

Best interests of child and Dublin II

In Regulation (EC) No 343/2003 of 18 February 2003 establishing the criteria and mechanisms for determining the Member State responsible for examining an asylum application lodged in one of the Member States by a third-country national, when an applicant for asylum who is an unaccompanied minor with no member of his or her family legally present in another Member State has lodged claims for asylum in more than one Member State, the Member State responsible for determining the application for asylum pursuant to the second paragraph of Article 6 of the Regulation must, in principle, having regard to the minor’s best interests, and unless those interests require otherwise, be the…

21st February 2013 By Free Movement

Migration map

IOM inward/outward migration map Interesting! Thanks to @deportedfromUK for the heads up.

18th February 2013 By Free Movement

May be wrong

Theresa May this weekend launched a blistering and unprecedented attack on ‘a minority of judges’, accused them of ignoring the will of Parliament by refusing to deport foreign criminals. Remarkably, she said that: A minority think it is their role to determine whether or not foreigners who commit serious crimes shall be deported. A lawyer’s answer is that this is exactly what judges have been appointed to do and indeed instructed to do by primary legislation passed by Parliament. It is not their role to do as May demands in every single case. This is not North Korea. Back in June 2012 I wrote that: May wants judges always to answer ‘yes’…

18th February 2013 By Free Movement

This instrument is drawn to the special attention of the House on the grounds it may inappropriately achieve its policy objective. House of Lords Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committee, 6th Report of Session 2012-13, Statement of Changes in Immigration Rules (HC 194) (source)

17th February 2013 By Free Movement

Urgent injunction training

Following the furore over immigration lawyers getting named and shamed in the High Court for their actual or alleged misdemeanours I thought it might be timely to arrange some training on urgent immigration injunction applications to prevent unlawful removals. Solicitor Jawaid Luqmani and barristers David Jones and Colin Yeo, all experienced in making this type of application, will be delivering a course on preparing and presenting injunction applications. The course is aimed at both solicitors and barristers and covers: the ethics of ex parte applications strategic considerations when dealing with the UK Border Agency in the run up to a removal UKBA policy on judicial review and deferring removal the particular problems around charter flights…

14th February 2013 By Free Movement

Country Guidance on Burma unlawful

The Court of Appeal has ruled that Country Guidance on Burma dating back to 2009 was legally flawed. Decisions based on the earlier TK case are therefore flawed. Full post and analysis to follow.

13th February 2013 By Free Movement

New Phelan freshly minted!

Hard copy left, Kindle right (buying via these links throws me a very small bungreferral fee) Amazon doesn’t yet have an image but for those wondering about this year’s colour, it is a bit like the 2003 model but a slightly mintier green. Early reviews: “It would have been a lot shorter if I’d had my way.” T. May “I’m honoured that my legacy lives on, at least in the colour choice.” D. Green “The svelte nature of Phelan just goes to show how simple immigration law has become and how unnecessary Legal Aid really is.” T. McNally “It’s very, er, weighty.” C. Yeo “I’ve been using the 2nd edition…

6th February 2013 By Free Movement

CM (EM country guidance; disclosure) Zimbabwe CG [2012] UKUT 00059 (IAC)

No general duty on Secretary of State to disclose evidence in asylum cases, only not to mislead by omission Overturned Country Guidance in case of EM and Others (Returnees) Zimbabwe CG [2011] UKUT 98 (IAC) reinstated with amendment to account for RT (Zimbabwe) [2012] UKSC 38 Elections due in 2013, though, and situation is fluid. New country information is always to be taken into account.  

1st February 2013 By Free Movement


The charity Bail for Immigration Detainees (BID) asked me to speak at their AGM last night and I was delighted to accept. It was held at Amnesty International’s Human Rights Action Centre in Shoreditch. I expected the auditorium seating to split open and launch Urgent Action One at any moment. It never happened, but was an interesting night nonetheless. The highlight was listening to Toomaj, a former detainee and now a recognised refugee. On arrival here in the United Kingdom he was given handcuffs rather than a handshake, as he put it. The detention centres in which he was incarcerated were full of broken men. Like him they had fled…

23rd January 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

More judicial warnings to immigration lawyers

A barrister … must promote and protect fearlessly and by all proper and lawful means the lay client’s best interests and do so without regard to his own interests or to any consequences to himself or to any other person (para 302, Code of Conduct of the Bar of England & Wales) Sir John Thomas has delivered two further full blooded warnings to immigration lawyers in the cases of R (on the application of B & Anor) v Secretary Of State For The Home Department & Anor [2012] EWHC 3770 (Admin) and Awuku (No 2) & Ors v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2012] EWHC 3690 (Admin). In the B case both…

11th 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

Christmas time

Just a reminder that time does not run over the Christmas period for lodging appeals in the First-tier Tribunal against its decisions. See the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal (Procedure) Rules 2005 (as heavily amended) rule 2 definition of ‘business day’, which excludes 25 to 31 December, read with rule 57, which defines any period of 10 days or less as being one that excludes business days. The same applies in the Upper Tribunal in immigration cases by virtue of the Tribunal Procedure (Upper Tribunal) Rules 2008 rule 12(3A) read with rule 21(3)(aa). The tribunal itself forgot one year not so long ago and refused a bunch of applications as out…

27th December 2012 By Free Movement

Santa arrested

This entry is part 2 of 6 in the series Christmas

This entry is part 2 of 6 in the series ChristmasThe UK Border Agency today announced that Santa has been arrested as part of the #fakexmas campaign. Apprehended importing a considerable number of toys seemingly made by reputable manufacturers, Santa is reported to have admitted that the toys are cheap knock offs made by “elves”. A UK Border Agency spokesman told Free Movement, “these toys looked as good as the real thing. The arrest was made because the suspect is heavily bearded and wears robes, which always makes us suspicious. We would never have realised ourselves that the toys were not real, but Mr Claus himself volunteered the information after…

20th December 2012 By Free Movement

Thought for the day

“I agree with my noble friend that no area is more complex than the whole business of the Immigration Rules and the procedures surrounding them.” Lord Taylor of Holbeach in response to Lord Lester of Herne Hill, Hansard, 12 December 2012: Column 1087 (with thanks to Alison from ILPA).

17th December 2012 By Free Movement

Judicial review consultation

The consultation on changes to the procedure for judicial review has opened and it closes on 24 January 2013. Regular readers will recall that these proposals were said by David Cameron to be part of the Government’s efforts to combat the recession, an effort comparable to Britain’s wartime effort against the Nazis. The main consultation can be found here and the consultation on fees is here. Both look like quite whizzy and easy to use online consultations. More traditional downloads can be found here and here. The proposed changes are as follows: For planning cases – reducing the time after the initial decision that an application for Judicial Review can…

14th December 2012 By Free Movement

ONS video explains census data

This is such a good explanation of the census data on the foreign-born component of the ‘usually resident’ population that I felt I had to share it. Really good work by the Office of National Statistics. It is a five minute look at the data with some very simple but effective visualisation to explain what has changed. For the other videos explaining other aspects of the census data, see here. Really good use of modern media. Better than, say, the UK Border Agency one where they crush the people smuggler or the Operation Mayapple one of black or brown people being collared in ethnic minority areas.

11th December 2012 By Free Movement

Open season on immigration lawyers

There has been a lot of media coverage of judicial review applications in the last few days, as most readers will no doubt have noticed. The Government has announced plans to (a) reduce the time limit for judicial review from three months, (b) increase the court fees for bringing a judicial review application and (c) curtail the number of ‘appeals’ in judicial review cases. Prime Minister David Cameron himself trailed the proposed reforms in a rather ill-judged and frankly rather tasteless comparison between George Osborne’s faltering response to a downturn in the economic cycle and total existential war against the Third Reich. If Churchill’s response to the invasion of Egypt had…

21st November 2012 By Free Movement

Last minute judicial reviews: warning

The President of the Queens Bench Division, Sir John Thomas, has issued a dire warning to solicitors applying for last minute judicial reviews and injunctions in immigration cases. The comments come in the case of R (on the application of Hamid) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2012] EWHC 3070 (Admin), which has still inexplicably not made its way to BAILII. Sir John refers to the revised Form N463 for urgent applications and also later flags up that a new form is shortly to be introduced for out of hours applications: The form was revised because the Administrative Court faces an ever increasing large volume of applications in…

14th November 2012 By Free Movement

Blatant puff piece

Back to more serious blogging and the detention mini series ASAP, but I simply can’t resist a quick plug for Renaissance Chambers, the team behind this blog. On Thursday last week we were awarded the tasteful little logo to the right by Chambers and Partners, the well known guide to barrister chambers and solicitor partners. Renaissance was described as being of growing stature in the immigration and asylum field and we were referenced for our human rights expertise “especially when considering difficult cases.” Blog contributor Shivani Jegarajah gets a specific mention and is ranked at Band 3 and blog editor Colin Yeo also gets a mention and is ranked at…

5th November 2012 By Free Movement

The Outer Limit

The Court of Appeal recently gave judgment in the case of R (on the application of Muqtaar) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2012] EWCA Civ 1270, a challenge by a Somali national to his detention under administrative immigration powers for the extraordinary period of 41 months, or three and a half years. The first line of the judgment is striking: This is yet another case concerning the lawfulness of immigration detention. It is capable of being read as a lament that so much court time is being wasted with such trivial guff. As Nick Armstrong of Matrix Chambers commented, there would not be so many such cases…

30th October 2012 By Free Movement

News flash on Sri Lanka charter flight

It is Sri Lanka Charter Flight day again today. Just a quick one to say that the UK Border Agency has suddenly withdrawn parts of its new October 2012 Operational Guidance Note (link to old version) on Sri Lanka. Paragraphs 3.3.4 and 13.6 have been substantially amended (see TAG website for details). It would seem that several of the passages about the safety of return were simply not true. This is, shall we say, consistent with recent comments by the Foreign Affairs Committee in their report on human rights work in 2011: We find it unsatisfactory that the Government has not been more forthcoming to Parliament about its efforts—in general and in…

23rd October 2012 By Free Movement

More on pre-entry English language challenge

In his judgment in the case of R (On the Application Of Bhavyesh & Ors) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2012] EWHC 2789 (Admin) Blake J has dismissed the latest attempt to challenge the requirement that foreign spouses learn English before entering the UK. This challenge is described by the judge as a footnote to the original Chapti judgment by Beatson J and concerns a slightly late attempt to add EU law and gender discrimination challenges to the original case. The new judgment was given on 26 July 2012 but has only just made its way on to BAILII. Many thanks to the eagle-eyed and ever-watchful Adam Wagner of the…

18th October 2012 By Free Movement

Interesting fresh claim case

I’ve no time for a proper post at the moment but as a filler take a look at a few choice quotes from an interesting fresh claim judicial review concerning an Iranian convert to Christianity and her son, the case of R (on the application of SA (Iran)) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2012] EWHC 2575 (Admin). The fresh claim was certified as ‘clearly unfounded’ meaning there was no right of appeal. That certificate was successfully challenged by the excellent David Jones of Garden Court Chambers, resulting in quite a fun judgment. As ever for a fresh claim, the starting point was the first immigration judge’s findings…

17th October 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

UNHCR guidelines on survivors of male rape and sexual violence

UNHCR has published guidelines on Working with men and boy survivors of sexual and and gender based violence in forced displacement. The document is essential reading for anyone working with such men and boys and it is the first time I can recall seeing this taboo and much misunderstood subject addressed in such a useful and thoughtful way. The guidelines point out that sexual violence and rape can be used as a weapon of war against men as well as women, that it is inflicted on men as a means of disempowerment, dominance and undermining concepts of masculinity, discussed triggers for survival sex and then goes on to set out some indicators…

8th October 2012 By Free Movement


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

Operation Mayapple and Home Office use of social media

The UK Border Agency has taken to using social media to proclaim its propaganda on the ongoing purge of illegal immigrants from the United Kingdom. Conventional press releases are no longer sufficient. Free Movement has already covered the use of YouTube (see latest bizarre video here). Now Twitter, Storify and Flickr are being deployed to celebrate what has been called Operation Mayapple, the latest chistka. Is this language unreasonable? To talk of ‘purges’ and ‘propaganda’ evokes the totalitarian regimes of the 20th century and Orwell’s brilliant exposition of the thinking behind their methods in 1984. We are a long way from that, surely? The latest social media campaign shows that politicians…

23rd August 2012 By Free Movement

Daily Mail drafting grounds at UKBA?

The UK Border Agency just got permission to appeal from the First-tier Tribunal on these grounds, reproduced word for word in their entirety: The Judge of the First-tier Tribunal has made a material error of law in the determination in the following way. The judge has erred by failing to take into account a particular public interest factor. (1) The panel has failed to refer anywhere in the determination to the expression of revulsion that the public are entitled to have taken into account with attendant weight ascribed in the proportionality assessment under Article 8. Even when taking into account as a primary consideration the best interests of the child,…

1st August 2012 By Free Movement

UK Border Agency recruiting barristers for tribunal work

It will not have escaped the attention of immigration barristers in London that there are some very fresh faces in court acting for the Home Office. ‘Operation Present’ is back, sort of, with the Home Office having recruited a bunch of junior barristers to ensure no case goes uncovered. Free Movement was sad to see that the application date is passed. Alas, alack, ahem. However, at the time of writing the advert can still be seen on the Bar Council website, as can the job description. Both are preserved here for posterity. Only very junior barristers were sought. The rates were £125 per day for pupils or £225 for junior…

27th July 2012 By Free Movement

Judge hung out to dry

As we have previously argued on this blog here and here, attacks by newspapers on judges for following and applying the law are unwarranted and dangerous in a healthy democracy. In one recent such attack article, the Daily Mail named a particular immigration judge and published a paparazzi-style photograph of him in a personal capacity. The newspaper, which clearly had a copy of the decision in question, stated of a man fighting removal from the UK that ‘a judge ruled it would breach his human rights to deport him’ and went on to assert that the judge ‘allowed the 28-year-old to remain in Britain’. Free Movement has obtained a copy of…

19th July 2012 By Free Movement

Zimbabwe Country Guidance case overturned

In a follow up to my last post on Country Guidance cases generally and the Court of Appeal judgment in SG (Iraq) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2012] EWCA Civ 940, the existing Country Guidance case on Zimbawe, that of EM and Others (Returnees) Zimbabwe CG [2011] UKUT 98 (IAC), has been overturned by the Court of Appeal. There is no judgment as such because the appeal was allowed by consent: the Secretary of State agreed that the determination was too legally flawed to stand. The grounds of appeal were particularly strong: that the tribunal had wrongly relied on completely anonymous evidence where the identity of the source…

16th July 2012 By Free Movement

Country Guidance cases reviewed

In the jurisprudential equivalent of Easyjet and Ryanair flights simultaneously arriving at Stansted from Alicante, Malaga AND Lanzarote, a number of important cases have just been deposited in the luggage carousel that is BAILII. School is now out and the legal bigwigs will shortly be decamping to Tuscany, or wherever it is they go these days. The first of these cases to mention on the blog is SG (Iraq) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2012] EWCA Civ 940, in which the Court of Appeal has reviewed and again endorsed the system of Country Guidance cases in the Immigration and Asylum Chambers of the tribunal system. The two appellants were Iraqi…

16th July 2012 By Free Movement

Immigration judicial reviews to be transferred

The Government is amending the Crime and Courts Bill to allow transfer of any or all immigration, asylum and nationality judicial review cases from the High Court to the Upper Tribunal. This seems to have pretty much universal support from Government, Opposition, the High Court and the Upper Tribunal. It is therefore very likely now to become law. Many thanks to ILPA for the heads up on this. The relevant part of the debate can be found here. Immigration judicial reviews form a very large part of the workload of the High Court so this reform will have a significant impact on listings and the general workload of High Court…

4th July 2012 By Free Movement

Upcoming training courses

Legal readers might be interested in two upcoming courses from HJT Training. The first is on the new changes to the Immigration Rules commencing 9 July 2012, delivered by the excellent Julian Bild (a valued occasional contributor to the comments here on Free Movement). The Statement of Intent was covered here on the blog but none of us can yet face doing a detailed post on the full changes, partly because it is a huge undertaking and partly because it is so depressing. The new rules are a massive departure from the existing rules, though, and it is essential that immigration lawyers get themselves up to speed. This course takes…

29th June 2012 By Free Movement

The Telegraph’s witch hunt for lenient judges

The Sunday Telegraph yesterday published an article singling out three Senior Immigration Judges as being excessively lenient. I am going to more or less ignore the issue of the correctness or otherwise of the principle of singling out judges based on outcomes of their cases. It is a very difficult question. I am also, usually, going to exercise restraint and express no opinion on whether the label of leniency has been correctly applied to the judges concerned. Instead, this post looks at the evidential basis for the assertions in the article. It would not be at all surprising if the judges in question were to receive hate mail and experience…

18th June 2012 By Free Movement