May 04, 2021 - Record mortgage borrowing as owners move or improve

UK homeowners borrowed a record £11.8bn more on mortgages than they repaid in March, according to figures from the Bank of England.

This net borrowing level was the highest of any month since comparable data began in 1993.

The market was stoked up by stamp duty holidays and by low mortgage rates.

These factors encouraged some homeowners to move in time to beat the tax relief deadline or to borrow more to improve their current property.

Mortgage borrowing signals future demand to buy homes, and analysts have said that the UK housing market has been "on the boil" during the spring.

On Friday, th...

May 03, 2021 - Fresh blow to “no recourse to public funds” scheme

Rules restricting migrants’ access to benefits are back in the spotlight following a new High Court decision, which found that aspects of the “no recourse to public funds” (NRPF) scheme fail to protect the rights of children.

The case of ST (a child, by his Litigation Friend VW) & VW v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2021] EWHC 1085 (Admin) focused specifically on the approach to NRPF in Appendix FM. This is the section of the Immigration Rules applicable to the family members of British citizens and those with long-term residence rights. 

The latest challenge

The claimants in this...

May 03, 2021 - People in problem debt get 60-day break scheme

A new "breathing space" scheme has begun in England and Wales to shield people in problem debt from further interest and charges.

People receiving debt advice can apply for the break, which lasts for up to 60 days, to prevent them falling into a spiral of debt.

The Treasury has estimated that up to 700,000 people could be helped by the scheme in its first year.

People receiving treatment for mental health issues can get more help.

The separate system for those receiving mental health crisis treatment lasts for the length of that treatment, plus another 30 days.

Debt charities have campaigned f...

Apr 30, 2021 - UK housing market 'on the boil' as prices rise

UK house prices rose by 7.1% compared with a year ago, the Nationwide has said, prompting one analyst to suggest the market is "on the boil".

The building society said the average property price had risen by £15,916 in the last year, to reach £238,831.

The Nationwide said increased savings during lockdown meant some first-time buyers would be better placed to afford a home.

But prices could continue to rise as homes available did not match demand.

Lucy Pendleton, from independent estate agents James Pendleton, said: "This market is on the boil.

"Silly season might be just around the corner. Th...

Apr 30, 2021 - Interjacent overstaying may favourably count in 10 year-long residence application

In Asif (Paragraph 276B, disregard, previous overstaying) Pakistan [2021] UKUT 96 (IAC) the Upper Tribunal confirms that previously disregarded overstaying between periods of leave should be treated as lawful residence for individuals making 10 year long residence applications.


Individuals who have spent 10 years in the UK with continuous lawful residence can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain on the basis of long residence via paragraph 276B of the Immigration Rules.

According to the relevant Home Office guidance, individuals who had overstayed for short periods of time within th...

Apr 29, 2021 - NatWest says fewer customers defaulting on loans despite Covid

Fewer people are defaulting on loans due to the pandemic than expected, two major banks have said.

NatWest Group, which owns RBS, was able to release £102m it had set aside for bad loans in the first quarter after "better than expected" repayments.

Standard Chartered meanwhile took a $20m hit from bad loans in the same period - down by $354m from the previous quarter. Earlier this week HSBC and Lloyds both reported a similar trend.

Last year, many big banks warned that business and personal banking customers risked being unable to repay debts as coronavirus battered the UK economy.

NatWest its...

Apr 29, 2021 - New Plan for Immigration: the proposed changes to nationality law

The New Plan for Immigration Policy Statement of March 2021 (the New Plan) contains proposals to make significant changes to immigration and nationality law and policy. This article addresses the proposals set out in Chapter 3, which concern changes to British nationality law, in the hope of enabling affected people and organisations to respond constructively to the consultation. The consultation closes on 6 May 2021.

Many of the proposals in this area are welcome, particularly those affecting British Overseas Territories Citizens and the Windrush Generation. Some others are far more troubling...

Apr 27, 2021 - Good character requirement unlawfully applied in Windrush cases

From ‘Citizens of the UK and Colonies’, to ‘Commonwealth Citizens’, to ‘subject to immigration control’: the legislative erosion of the Windrush generation’s British citizenship rights is laid bare at paragraphs 1-5 of Howard, R (On the Application Of) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2021] EWHC 1023 (Admin). Anyone with an interest in mid-late 20th century British nationality and immigration law should read it in full.

This particular case was a successful challenge to a 2018 decision of former Home Secretary Sajid Javid to continue to rigidly apply the “good character policy” to...

Apr 27, 2021 - Lawyers must lodge out of country appeals through MyHMCTS

Presidential Practice Statement (PPS) No1 of 2021 came into force on Monday 26 April 2021.

This expands upon, and replaces, Presidential Practice Statement No2 of 2020 by making it mandatory to lodge represented appeals from appellants outside of the UK via MyHMCTS unless it is not practicable to do so.  The statement also includes linked appeals where the appellant is represented.

If you haven’t already you can register for the service online.

The onus lies on the appellant to show why it is not reasonably practicable.

Additionally to the catch-all  exception, the following situations are aut...

Apr 26, 2021 - Brexit: UK and Australia agree vast majority of trade deal

The UK and Australia say they have agreed "the vast majority" of a free trade deal. After talks on Friday in London the two said they aim to seal a deal by June.

"Both countries are confident the remaining issues will be resolved, and will now enter a sprint to agree the outstanding details with the aim of reaching agreement in principle," a joint statement said.

It is estimated a deal could add £500m ($694m) to UK GDP over the long-term.

The final day of talks between UK International Trade Secretary Liz Truss and Australian Trade Minister Dan Tehan ended in London without a deal but both sid...