News

Jun 02, 2021 - Home Office accidentally discriminates against trafficking victims with kids

The High Court has declared that an anomaly in the benefits system which disadvantages victims of trafficking who receive asylum support is discriminatory and in breach of Article 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights. Unusually, the Secretary of State confessed to the court that she was not sure how the difference in treatment had happened and her only defence was that she wanted more time to think about how to fix it. Having granted her five extensions to prepare her case, in R (MD) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2021] EWHC 1370 (Admin) the High Court decided enough wa...

Jun 01, 2021 - Illegal working checks must adapt to the work-from-home age

All being well, the government’s advice to work from home looks likely to be lifted from 21 June 2021. With offices filling up, and city streets bustling, normal working life is starting to resume. But remote working patterns are clearly popular with workers and employers, and are likely to be around for some time to come. 

The growth in remote working has implications for the obligations of employers under immigration law, particularly in relation to checking their employees’ right to work in the UK. This system has traditionally required the physical presence of the employee or their immigra...

Jun 01, 2021 - Trafficking authorities not experts on trafficking says criminal Court of Appeal

The Court of Appeal’s Criminal Division has concluded that Home Office trafficking decisions are not admissible in criminal proceedings. Brecani v R [2021] EWCA Crim 731 concerned a 17-year-old convicted of taking part in a conspiracy to supply cocaine. During the trial, the Single Competent Authority — the arm of the Home Office that deals with trafficking cases — issued a conclusive grounds decision that he is a victim of trafficking, but the judge refused to admit it as evidence. The Court of Appeal confirmed that this decision was correct.

As a general rule, opinion evidence is excluded in...

Jun 01, 2021 - House prices jump 10.9% as 'race for space' intensifies

UK house prices soared 10.9% in the year to May, the highest level in seven years, according to the Nationwide.

The average house price has risen to £242,832, up £23,930 over the past twelve months.

Buyers are in a "race for space" as they seek larger homes and properties with gardens, Nationwide said.

"The market has seen a complete turnaround over the past twelve months," said Robert Gardner, Nationwide's chief economist.

A year ago, activity collapsed in the wake of the first lockdown with housing transactions falling to a record low of 42,000 in April 2020, he said.

"But activity surged to...

May 27, 2021 - Government to waive settlement fees for Commonwealth soldiers with 12 years’ service

The government is proposing to waive settlement fees for certain non-British members of the armed forces. A consultation on the draft proposal, launched yesterday, follows years of Commonwealth soldiers being denied the right to remain in the UK after discharge because of fees and lack of advice on the paperwork required.

Citizens of certain foreign countries, mostly those in the Commonwealth, are eligible to serve in Her Majesty’s Armed Forces. Around 9,000 foreign nationals currently do so. They are eligible for indefinite leave to remain afterwards, provided that they have served for four y...

May 27, 2021 - Covid: Banks call for overhaul of mortgage support

Banks and building societies want ministers to extend help for those struggling to pay their mortgage owing to the financial effects of Covid.

Support for Mortgage Interest (SMI) is a loan available to some people in the UK on benefits, which is usually repaid when their property is sold.

Applicants have to wait for 39 weeks after losing their job before they are able to make a claim.

Banks want the wait to cut to 13 weeks, as happened after the financial crisis.

The government said that anyone struggling to pay their mortgage should first go to their lender, who has a duty to support them.

Wh...

May 27, 2021 - Migrants win improved access to personal data held by the Home Office

Giving migrants in the UK reduced data protection rights without proper safeguards is unlawful, the Court of Appeal held yesterday. The judgment overturns a 2019 High Court ruling and is a significant victory for the campaign groups involved, who have long campaigned against the so-called “immigration exemption”. The case is R (Open Rights Group & the3million) v Secretary of State for the Home Department & Anor [2021] EWCA Civ 800.

The immigration exemption

Data protection laws give people various rights over their personal information, including to request a copy of what an organisation has o...

May 25, 2021 - Lawyers warned not to include brand new arguments in Cart judicial reviews

Always a stickler for procedure, President Lane has again warned lawyers to not judicially review decisions of the Upper Tribunal refusing permission to appeal on grounds that were not before the Upper Tribunal in the first place. The case is Osefiso and another (PTA decision: effect; ‘Cart’ JR) [2021] UKUT 116 (IAC).

Ms Osefiso, from Nigeria, was relying on human rights considerations for permission to remain in the UK. She had previously been granted permission on the private life route and was now applying for further permission to remain for herself and her son, born in 2015, on continuing...

May 25, 2021 - Face-to-face learning required for international students from 27 Sept 2021

The Home Office updated its Covid-19 guidance for overseas students and education providers yesterday. By far the most significant change relates to the distance learning concession introduced last year. Providers can still commence the sponsorship of new students who will initially study via distance or blended learning but only if “they intend to transition to face-to-face learning from 27 September 2021”.

Later it is stated more bluntly: ‘This distance learning concession will be in place for the duration of the 2020-21 academic year, ending on 27 September 2021’.

This has the potential to ...

May 25, 2021 - Government borrowing fell in April as UK reopened

Government borrowing fell in April compared with the same month last year, as parts of the economy reopened after lockdown measures eased.

Borrowing - the difference between spending and tax income - was £31.7bn, official figures show, which was £15.6bn lower than April last year.

However, the figure was the second highest for April since records began.

Borrowing has been hitting record levels with billions being spent on measures such as furlough payments.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) now estimates that the government borrowed a total of £300.3bn in the financial year to March. Wh...