Updates, commentary, training and advice on immigration and asylum law

Litigation, the law and UKBA


Older content is locked

A great deal of time and effort goes into producing the information on Free Movement, become a member of Free Movement to get unlimited access to all articles, and much, much more


By becoming a member of Free Movement, you not only support the hard-work that goes into maintaining the website, but get access to premium features;

  • Single login for personal use
  • FREE downloads of Free Movement ebooks
  • Access to all Free Movement blog content
  • Access to all our online training materials
  • Access to our busy forums
  • Downloadable CPD certificates

I gave a short presentation this morning to John Vine, the Chief Inspector of UKBA. I thought I’d share it with you. It lacks a certain something without my narration, I feel, but it at least gives you the gist. The presentation was based on ILPA submissions to the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights and on materials I’ve highlighted at various times on this blog, including adjournment figures, official appeal outcome statistics and the outcomes of various prominent cases.

I assume he gets plenty of presentations from UKBA on how great their change management programme is, etc, so this may provide a little balance.

The message of the presentation is that UKBA demonstrably make bad laws, make bad decisions, litigate badly, lose badly and never learn any lessons from their experiences. I ended by speculating on the reasons. Incompetence does not seem to offer sufficient explanation for the whole abysmal mess.

[slideshare id=6616173&doc=litigationthelawandukba-110118110020-phpapp01]

I also picked up some hard copies of a number of OCIUKBA reports while I was over at their offices. I’ve gotten behind on my reading so this is very helpful. The Abu Dhabi one is shocking, even for a seasoned immigration lawyer like me. More to follow on that in due course.

Relevant articles chosen for you
Picture of Free Movement

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.


21 Responses

  1. I enjoyed the slide show of what has been going wrong over the last decade, helped by your sites coverage on these leading cases.

    It leaves the unanswered question of WHY as though its up to JV to solve. But in 2 years he’s been to 2% of overseas posts, where the majority of bad case decisions are initially made.

    Personally I agree that it is due to incompetance, as with far too many public bodies. However can I also suggest the HO has a bad attitude, maybe an arrogance, that permeates its staff.
    “Absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

  2. Oh dear FM: ‘UKBA demonstrably …lose badly’?

    Pot. Kettle. Black.

    Cast your mind back about 2 years ago to a Turkish asylum client of yours whose case came before a very respected IJ at Taylor House. I was the HOPO and I am unashamedly going to say I destroyed your client’s credibility.

    This was followed by you throwing a complete and utter strop despite the IJ saying I had fairly dismantled your client’s credibility!

    1. Hilarious, in so many ways. I think I know the case. Firstly, the judge may well be well respected by the Home Office. Secondly, I don’t recall a strop, nor a devastating cross examination. You should head to Hatton Cross to see Colombo or Ellis in action if you want to see one of the VERY few HOPOs who seem to understand proper cross examination in action. I sometimes shudder to think what a proper, skilled lawyer would do with some of my clients, but as in your case they are seldom subjected to it.

      I think you may also have rather missed the point of the post, which is about ingrained opposition to the rule of law at the Home Office.

  3. FM you have let yourself, decent Immigration Practitioners and ILPA down badly. At lest present a true picture when you get the opportunity.

    1. Sorry, anon, this and your other comments were originally spammed. Care to be more specific? It is a true picture as far as I’m concerned.

    2. Happy to be more specific if you wish. What details would you like? I can dig up the date or the client’s name at a stretch, though I may have to do it at taxpayers expense…

      Incidentally, I didn’t challenge your belief that it was a ‘true picture’. That’s not to say I agree with it but my point was more that a lot of POs recognise you as being a little ungracious in defeat.

      You obviously write from a particular angle which is fair enough but some balance wouldn’t go amiss.

    3. Zimbabwe decisions pre and post RN.

      Q3 2008
      930 decisions, 140 grants

      Q1 2009
      1,115 decisions, 810 grants

    4. Interesting, thanks, and I think I stand corrected. I’m assuming ‘grants’ in the quarterly stats doesn’t include grants following a successful appeal, although I suppose it might.

    5. Can you actually challenge any of the points made in those slides? I’d be interested to hear the UKBA’s defence, especially to issues such as the continued ignoring of RN etc.

  4. Keep up the fight FM, well done for presenting the figures and facts to the Home Office prehaps next time you could present the info from the Unsustainable Report thats just been published in relation to women seeking asylum and let them know just how misogynistic their staff really are!

  5. What did Chief Inspector John Vine have to say about all the stuff in your most telling presentation above?

    Was he touched by it all?

    1. Well, he just listened. He must hear all sorts of things from all sorts of people, and his job is to take it all on board, investigate, gather his own evidence and then do reports – and he seems to be doing a very good job at it, there have been some very interesting, useful reports that hopefully will start to bring about improvements in the service provided by civil servants at UKBA.

    2. “Chief Inspector John Vine – he seems to be doing a very good job..”

      I’ll second that. His reports seem thorough, and more importantly accurate.

      They accurately reflect my experiences of
      1. Nationality Directorate – Very good
      2. African BHC’s – Apalling.
      3. Complaints Handling – Apalling.

      If only IJ’s & ECO’s had a similar level of competance and accuracy …..

  6. Knowing the man behind the Free Movement mask, I don’t recognise the characteristics attributed by Mr OnlyMe (is that with a silent “L”?).

    And from: “At lest (sic) present a true picture when you get (sic) the opportunity”

    To: “Incidentally, I didn’t challenge your belief that it was a ‘true picture’”

    Seems a little clunky in terms of narrative flow. But then I am a simple man…

    1. It wasn’t my intention to attack FM’s characteristics and my apologies to him if it came across that way. My substantive point was that, whilst I appreciate FM will write from a certain perspective, a little more balance wouldn’t go amiss.

      I appreciate he does sometimes give HOPOs some credit but for every one of those posts I could point to ten others where he is unfairly criticising HOPOs and the HO more generally.

      Yes the HO is an imperfect organisation and yes many mistakes are made BUT the same applies to many Counsel, IJs, and appellants.

      Regarding the particular case I refer to, myself, the IJ and the interpreter (who I understand sees FM on a regular basis!) all felt FM had thrown a tantrum. That said I think we all have at some point given the nature of the job.
      Out of interest, why do you assume I’m male Richard R?

    2. This is most definitely the place to find balance. It’s a blog! It is opinion. It isn’t necessarily ‘right’ as such, as that is the wrong yardstick by which to measure this sort of beast. Anyway, an apology is entirely unnecessary. If this is the case I’m thinking of (there are so many at the end of which I have a strop, I can’t be certain) then I haven’t seen you for a while, and I did hear from one of your colleagues that you were a bit taken aback. Coffee on me next time our paths cross.

    3. FM, you haven’t seen me for a while as I no longer work as a HOPO- partly because I could tolerate the job no longer and partly because I didn’t think I was a particularly good HOPO- contrary to one of your previous posts which suggested that I thought I had delivered a ‘devastating cross examination’. I certainly did not think that- I think he was just a poor witness!

  7. No problem re the SPAM FM. Just to note, I am not Onlyme and nor do I agree with everything said, although I do agree that a little bit of balance woudln’t go amiss. The Caseowners and POs within UKBA have a very hard job to do and for the most part do it professionally and well ensuring the most important thing: That those who are entitled to International Protection recieve it, and obviously those that do not, don’t. The system has radically improved over the past 5 or so years and continues to do so, recently for example by the approach taken in light of HJ Iran. We currently have one of the best asylum system in Europe (according to UNHCR), so I find it a littel disappointing when some practioners take any and every opportunity to engage with the Agency as a chance to ‘bash’ the good work done. It hardly encourages ‘joined up working’ or further engagement, which is a shame as we are all working for the same purpose and to the same aims…