Mar 19, 2021 - Immigration judges asked to please read all the paperwork

The powers that be at the Upper Tribunal have given us five new reported decisions this week, at least one of which could really have been an email. The official headnote to SYR (PTA; electronic materials) Iraq [2021] UKUT 64 (IAC) reads:

As paper is increasingly replaced by electronic forms of communication, it is particularly important that judges engaged in the permission to appeal process, whether at First-tier or Upper Tribunal level, satisfy themselves that they have the requisite materials before them in order to make a proper decision on permission. Accordingly, a judge should not gran...

Mar 18, 2021 - UK government borrowing hits February record as virus impact continues.

Government borrowing levels continued to set new records last month, reflecting the cost of supporting the UK's economy during the pandemic.

The government borrowed £19.1bn in February, the highest figure for that month since records began in 1993.

Measures such as furlough payments have hit government finances hard.

However, February's borrowing figure - the difference between spending and tax income - was not as high as some economists had forecast.

Borrowing for the financial year to date - between April and February - has now reached £278.8bn, the Office for National Statistics said, a rec...

Mar 18, 2021 - Economic outlook 'unusually uncertain' despite 'rapid' vaccine rollout

The outlook for the UK economy remains "unusually uncertain" despite the rapid rollout of the vaccine programme, the Bank of England has said.

It said there were reasons to be optimistic, including a smaller-than-expected drop in growth in January and the extension of the furlough scheme, but the recovery still depended on the "evolution of the pandemic" and measures to protect public health.

It came as the Bank held interest rates at historic lows of 0.1%.

According to official figures, the UK economy shrank by 2.9% in January amid the third lockdown, as restaurants and non-essential shops we...

Mar 17, 2021 - Putting migrants in Covid-ridden barracks a human rights breach

In the case of Feilazoo v Malta (application no. 6865/19), the European Court of Human Rights has held that detaining migrants in a Covid-ridden former military barracks constitutes inhuman and degrading treatment contrary to Article 3 of the human rights convention.

The specifics of the situation are different from the Covid-ridden former military barracks here in Blighty. The court noted that “the applicant was held alone in a container for nearly seventy-five days… without any access to natural light or air, and that during the first forty days… he had had no opportunity to exercise”. Still...

Mar 15, 2021 - UK Economy set to hit pre-Covid levels this year, says Bank of England

The UK economy is on track to return to pre-pandemic levels by the end of the year, according to Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey.

Andrew Bailey said that a recent rise in interest rates in financial markets was consistent with an improvement in the economic outlook.

Growing signs that the vaccination programme is going to be a success and crucial slow the new variants of Covid-19 have led Britain’s top banker to speculate, that the economy could bounce back sooner rather than later.

Mr Bailey said he was "not out of firepower" in defending the economy as it recovers from the pandemic. H...

Mar 15, 2021 - Government plans to abolish judicial review

The report of the Independent Review of Administrative Law will be published this week and the Justice Secretary will on Thursday set out plans for reducing the use of judicial review in immigration cases, the Telegraph reports.

The paper says that those plans include an end to judicial reviews of the Upper Tribunal’s refusal to grant permission for an appeal to itself:

One plan would see lawyers prevented from launching judicial reviews of Upper Tribunal immigration decisions, bringing the system back in line with previous years.

A new law will be passed to overturn a 2012 Supreme Court rulin...

Mar 12, 2021 - UK exports to European Union drop 40% as economy shrinks in January

UK goods exports to the European Union fell 40.7% in January, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), while imports tumbled 28.8%.

The figures show the biggest drop since records began in 1997 and are the first since new trading rules between the UK and the EU came into force.

The ONS said temporary factors were likely to be behind much of the falls.

Meanwhile, new data showed the UK economy shrank by 2.9% in January amid the third lockdown. Retailers, restaurants and hairdressers were all affected by the latest Covid-19 lockdown. The economy is 9% smaller than it was before the...

Mar 11, 2021 - Brexit: UK delays border checks on EU goods into Great Britain

Post-Brexit checks on some EU goods coming into Great Britain have been delayed by six months in order to give businesses more time to prepare.

The government said the new timetable would help firms recovering in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The need for health certificates on imports such as meat and milk will be pushed back from next month to October 2021.

And in-person inspections on such animal products due from July will now begin in January 2022.

It is the second time that the timetable for these checks, originally due after the post-Brexit transition ended in January 2021, has bee...

Mar 08, 2021 - Policy on fee waivers for entry clearance is unlawful, Home Office concedes

In another blow for the Home Office on visa application fees, the department has been forced to concede that its policy on fee waivers for entry clearance applications is unlawful. 

Fee waiver policies

At time of writing, the relevant guidance states that applicants outside the UK can only be granted a fee waiver in “exceptional circumstances”, such as a natural disaster or civil war. Of course, there are many people who aren’t living through such circumstances, but who nevertheless need to be able to make a human rights application to enter the UK, for example to join their families here.


Mar 08, 2021 - Covid-19: Rapid testing available to all businesses in England

Workplace Covid testing is now available to all businesses in England, the government has announced, including those with fewer than 50 employees.

Businesses of all sizes can register from Saturday to order lateral flow tests for their workers, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said.

Rapid Covid-19 testing provides results in less than 30 minutes, helping people to "isolate immediately", DHSC said.

The tests are free until 30 June, and companies can register until 31 March.

The hope is that asymptomatic cases can be detected quickly, thereby preventing workplace outbreaks.

So far...