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Henry Porter speaking

I’ve been to a couple of AGMs in the last couple of weeks — Hammersmith and Fulham Community Law Centre and the Immigration Law Practitioners Association — and have learned all sorts of interesting things. Only some of which I will share!

The most prominent speakers at the first of these, HLCLC, were Sir Alec Jeffreys and Henry Porter, who posted to his own blog about the debate. Sir Alec was engaged by the indomitable Sheona York at the law centre (she is now at IAS) to prove paternity in an immigration case in 1985, the first time that DNA fingerprinting was used to establish identity. The case is an excellent example of the value of a law centre, a dedicated and imaginative lawyer and good legal aid funding.

At the ILPA AGM I learned that UK nationals are the third largest users of free movement rights in Europe (I assume meaning outside one’s home country). You’d have thought that UK nationals didn’t like free movement – but they certainly do like it one way. British complaints about EEA free movement take on a peculiarly national hypocritical dimension when seen in this context.

I also learned that under the new Lisbon rules, now in force, any judge can make a reference to the ECJ, not just the Supreme Court, and that there is some apparently Curate’s Egg like guidance from the European Commission on how member states should deal with alleged abuse of free movement rights. This document is almost impossible to find on the interweb, for some reason. I have not had a chance to go over it properly yet but it sounds like essential reading from its description by the brilliant Elspeth Guild.

Lastly, I learned that I should check the weather forecast carefully before cycling anywhere and that north London is a lot hillier than south London. I am now suffering the consequences, unfortunately.

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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.


6 Responses

  1. FM

    “At the ILPA AGM I learned that UK nationals are the third largest users of free movement rights in Europe. You’d have thought that UK nationals didn’t like free movement.”

    You may be right, but it could be veiwed another way:-
    It may be that many of the people concerned were “forced” to use EU freemovement rules rather than remain in the UK with say an undocumented spouse, as the UK’s immigration laws have become sone of the strictest in Europe.

    1. Sorry, I should have made it clear and will amend the post – I meant users outside their home country of free movement rights

    2. Not that I’m aware of, I’m afraid. This is the sort of thing I’d expect the Commission to know about, but my source was Elspeth Guild

  2. Given that the UK has the third largest population in the EU, this is pretty much what one would expect.

    A more interesting question would be: how many EU nationals exercise their free movement rights in the UK?

    I suspect we would come well above 3rd place for that particular measure.

    1. Frankly, it isn’t what one would expect given the rabidly anti-European press and the blinkered UKIP style belief that the UK is an island paradise that (a) everyone wants to live in and (b) no-one in their right mind would want to leave. It illustrates that UK nationals do enjoy using their free movement rights, even as they resent nationals of other countries using theirs.