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Winding down


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I have taken the surprisingly easy decision to wind down Free Movement. For reasons that continue to escape me and which have never been explained by John O, formerly of NCADC, he left that organisation in April 2010 and set up a website called, imaginatively enough, Free Movement. It can be found at www.freemovement.org.uk should you want to check it out. I posted about it at the time.

One too many people have now confused the two websites and I want to avoid any confusion.

I’ll leave the website up as a resource rather than taking the whole thing down. I’ll have to find another way to keep myself up to date, though.

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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.


79 Responses

  1. Arrgh. You won’t disappear though, will you? Been following this blog since not long after you set it up. Inspired me to set up the migrantinfosource blog (now, er, left standing as an archive/resource of sorts).

  2. Nooooo. FM, this blog has become absolutely invaluable to me as a (relatively) newly qualified immigration caseworker. There is nothing else quite comparable as a resource (certainly not that other blog you refer to). The legal profession in general needs more people like you.

    If you do take the decision to stop updating this, then I would like to say thank you for what you’ve done and good luck, but for incredibly selfish reasons I hope you change your mind!

  3. Why don’t you just change your moniker, then?

    This website has been an invaluable window to the inside of the immigration law and business. It would be a great loss if you winded it down, especially if the reason is so feeble.

  4. I don’t think it is late for you to reconsider. This blog has become so invaluable that it is for me the last word on immigration issues. What can we do to keep you going?

  5. Oh no! Confusion about website names isn’t enough of a reason to stop writing, is it? Like the two others above, I really value this website and would be sorry to see it dry up.

  6. Its really sad to note that you have taken such a drastic decision. All the same wish you well and thank you for your useful updates. Keep us updated in whatever way you can then !

  7. There have always been a hundred reasons to stop the blog, not least the time and effort that go into it. Long term readers will have noticed that it has ebbed and flowed with my enthusiasm in the past. All I can say is that this has been enough to tip me over and I’ve had enough. I don’t want to be associated with John O’s website and perhaps more to the point I don’t want him to be associated with my website.

    As for the reference to ‘feeble’ reasons, screw you, as I believe our friends across The Pond might say.

    1. > As for the reference to ‘feeble’ reasons, screw you,
      > as I believe our friends across The Pond might say.

      My apologies, I did not intend to be offensive. I was only trying to point out that to wind down this fantastic website just because somebody else stole the name seems disproportionate a reaction.

      I have but the utmost respect for you and your right to do whatever you damn please with this website without giving any reasons. It’s just that in the initial post you gave one and only one: John O stealing your site’s name.

      Screw him, I say.

  8. There’s nothing quite like this place y’know. Will miss it: moreover, i’ll have to fork out the 200.00 quid to buy that big red book now for the two-to-three months it’ll be up-to-date for! Darn tootin’!

    1. Hi there Dinu. This site has never been a substitute for a Macdonalds, I have to say!

  9. Really disappointed to hear that you are winding down, this blog has been such an invaluable source of infor me and prob millions more.

  10. Thanks so much for all the time and energy that went into the blog, it has been an enormous help to me.

  11. FM – Thanks for all your work on this website.
    Where did all these bloggers suddenly come from?

    If you are after ideas for a new site name, how about something like “new-colony.org.uk” ?

  12. Woops posted on wrong item.

    Noooooo. You are the font of all knowledge. I even had your site linked into my Facebook cos I think your site is so great (sorry – probably should have asked permission first).

    Please don’t stop posting. What are we going to do without all the stuff you tell us? I will have to start trawling through BAILII on a daily basis now!

    I hope you don’t let someone who is a mouse in the immigration world chase you off when you are such a lion.

    I did always wonder how you found the time though and maybe you could just post everything on the HJT one.

    I want to make one request though, that you don’t stop posting altogether (wherever that may be) and get a Facebook link button so we can all spread the love!


    1. Thanks, Amanda. I’ll leave the BAILII feed going on Free Movement and you can always go to the feed source and put it into a feed reader.

  13. Had set up your site as my homepage! Will u post on the HJT site? Don’t stop. You have been a great help.

    1. Thanks Immi, and thanks for your comments as well. Being made a homepage really is the ultimate accolade!

  14. I concur with the others. please doooont go!! what will i do without u!!! i mean in the immigration world

  15. I’m really sad to see this go. It’s been a great site full of reason and humour – rare virtues. Please keep posting on HJT if you have the time.

  16. So sorry to see you go. Like many others I have appreciated your insight and will miss your clear explanations. Please set up again.

  17. I’ve found your blog really interesting and well written. I am a supporter of a couple seeking asylum , one of them was a student of mine. Your blog has helped me to get a better understanding of what is going on. It strikes me that any legal proffesional working on immigration these days will be working under massive pressures , so I am not surprised you want a rest. I am tremendously grateful for the work of high quality barristers in immigration. I wish you success in your cases.

  18. I speak on behalf of many immigration detainees in UK when I say I am deeply disappointed in hearing you are leaving this to rest now. Since finding out about this I have spread it to many immigration detainees I support who spend alot of their time accessing/discussing your emails with me. They have told me how useful it has been for them, whilst they are in detention, to feel empowered, and the comfort your stream of up to date knowledge has brought. I appreciate that you cannot do this forever, and hope that you will still stay engaged and use your knowledge and consideration in other ways. I just hope that more informed moral humans come to the foreground now to keep the good work going.

    Thank you for dedicating so much time to empowering those that most need it within humanity.

  19. Shame, this was a great website. Not always objective (I think even you, FM, would admit to that if you were completely honest) but still a good read.

    1. I would never have pretended for a moment that it was objective! The great advantages and disadvantages of blogging and what El Reg aptly describes as Web2.0rhea is that it consists mainly or largely of opinion.

  20. Dear FM

    Just wanted to add to the general expression of gratitude for this fantastic site over the last few years.

    Needless to say I should think most of us have never been remotely fussed about your occasional polemics – instead we all desperately need encouragement in this long war.

    Shame you can’t do rounds of applause (or standing ovations) on line

  21. Sad news this wind down! any chance of a review/rethink? I have been kept up to date with case law, comments etc.

    Good Luck and probably not Good night

  22. I am truly sorry that you have decided to throw in the towel, although not surprised that you have come to that decision. I was always amazed that you took time out in what is undoubtedly a very busy life to keep us all updated. It takes real dedication. And I can imagine it was a bit of a slap in the chops when JohnO decided to filch your “brand”, as it were. I know there is history between him and NCADC and him, but I really don’t know what might have possesed him to decide to create a website using the same name as yours – unless, of course, he felt he might boost his own credibility in doing so.

    Still – no point in speculating.

    I really do want to thank you for having kept FM going for so long. It has always been a valuable, incisive and often very funny blog, and you will be sorely missed.

    Hat tip to you, Sir!

  23. We are a huge fan of your website and it would be a complete loss not just to us but to thousands of people who have benefitted from your website. Your website has always provided us with a clear understanding of the changes within immigration and has kept us all up to date with changing policy and we eventually found someone who is as compassionate within the immigration field as we are.

    You are one of the very few who genuinely want to help those in need. Would you be able to confirm what Chambers you are from as we would like to keep in contact for future reference and possible instructions for appeal representations.

    We sincerely hope that you dont give up and acknowledge the appreciation that so many people have shown on your blog and this will encourage you to come back BIGGER and STRONGER. Best wishes from the whole team!

  24. Thank you for this fantastic blog and all your hard work. I do wish you would reconsider, you can see how many people really value this resource! All the best.

  25. As someone on the otherside of the fence as it were I too will miss your site. Whilst I may not have agreed with everything you said I always found your articles good reading and informative. It’s a shame you’re going

  26. Dear FM, Being a Trainee solicitor with a keen interest in immigration, i have found your website most helpful. i thank you for your time and commitment to the site. i wish you all the best and thank you once again for all your assisting posts

  27. … I can hear the slow, steady march of the bugler, fronting a frown at having to perform his job. We all look on, as he raises his instrument and start bugling the sorrowful tune of ‘taps’.

    It seems that the greatest advocates against the constricting roles of administrative justice / injustice are slowly being ebbed away from those self-knowing enough to have found this site’s tremendous resource- value and perspectives.

    A sad event for us all.


  28. Utterly devastated. I have found your blogs a really useful tool. One I have come to depend on and expect. It is with great selfishness that I urge you not to go. Having said that I must thank you for all your efforts thus far. I wish you all the very best FM. Just dont disappear completely

  29. it is such a shame that you are considering winding down. i have found this site useful beyond belief as have many other people. a welath of knowledge which cannot be duplicated in any textbook i have read. any chance of reconsidering?

  30. Can’t that idiot John O be sued for something or other such as copyright or made to shut his crappy site down instead of you?

    I’m sure someone who knows about that sort of thing would do it happily for free for you!

    Wish I did!

    C’mon, you’re a fighter :-)

  31. Free Movement has been a crucial source for anyone involved in immigration and asylum. Nothing could replace it PLEASE DONT GO!

  32. I understand your reasons and i wish you all the best. Just wanted to say, that like many others, i will miss your posts: they were my update on new developments in migration and i love how open you are regarding your opinions and thoughts on the matters. It is a wonderful resource that you built here. There is none like this, I’m afraid.
    I wish you all the best.

  33. FM , what can we do as readers to change your mind and to keep you going with your blog.

  34. I find this site very useful and invaluable inside of the immigration law, hence there is nothing else where as a souce. It’s really a huge lost. Please don’t winding down. I really hope you change your mind.

  35. Sad times.

    You update HJT on a regular basis – why not just use FM as your online notepad?

    If you do go, you have put in a bloody good effort. Thank you very much.

  36. So sorry to learn that the forced migration world will be losing yet another valuable information resource. Thanks so much for taking the time to share your thoughts and expertise.

  37. Thanks for all your efforts, I’ve always looked forward to receiving and reading the email updates, they’ve been brilliant, really helpful and much appreciated. The website has been a fantastic resource!

  38. Thanks for all the comments, and the emails. I had no idea that the blog was so widely read. I really appreciate it all.

    I don’t want to totally rule out coming back to this, but I’ve had enough. Why pick an existing website name, for God’s sake? It isn’t as if there were so many UK immigration websites out there it was inevitable there would be a clash. Anyway.

    The suggestion of help is an interesting one, those who have made it, thank you. It is possible to set up multiple authors and log-ins on the software I use for this, I think, and it would lighten what sometimes feels like a bit of a burden. I will maybe revisit that possibility in the future.

    1. Disaster! Reminds me of the day Stephen Fry announced he was leaving Twitter (though he came back I believe).Best wishes from another fan who’s not commented for some time,but has nevertheless still been reading.Kind regards.Andrew

    2. If you need help, let me know. My husband thinks I spend far too much time geeking about immigration law as it is, so it would be easy to put it to good use if required.

  39. I belive this is wonderful blog and very useful and informative.I always check this for information on case laws and rules change.
    I would thank you for your wonderful and kind work.
    God bless you.

  40. Oh no! I have barely ever commented but I’ve been a keen reader. If you would consider doing it with help, I would be happy to contribute. This site has been invaluable to me as a practitioner and worth a dozen ‘reaccreditation’ courses.

  41. Please noooo! I write a monthly news bulletin for our charity’s volunteers and this blog is my first port of call for information. I’ve found that if the info is not here then it’s not worth reporting and have been continually amazed at the great effort and brilliant insights that go into this blog. It often has me chuckling away in front of my PC..

    I really hope you might consider as winding down this blog – it would leave a huge RMJ-style hole in immigration law web sources! If you do ahead though then a huge thanks for all the work, you will be sorely, sorely missed, but wish you all the best.

  42. Sorry to hear about your plans to wind up such a brilliant site and excellent source of information. The alternative site is no comparison as it appears to deal with a specific area of immigration law.
    Is there any way that we can assist in making you change your mind as your knowledge in the field and skill in setting up a user friendly site is commendable. A practical suggestion which other users may agree is to set up a monthly direct debit for regular users to contribute as individuals or via contributions from individual law firms. Such remuneration would be for your time and effort and inspire you not to quit.

    1. Thanks for the suggestion, but it really, really isn’t money or lack of it that has motivated me to maintain this site!

    2. But a subscription could help fund admin or other support. That might help lighten the load and make it seem less of a struggle.

      I really hope you reconsider, especially now you know how much we all rely on your knowledge and input.

      You make what is becoming a more and more difficult job, that bit easier, but you obviously have to balance your job and family life like the rest of us.

      So maybe taking FM up to another level and including a subscription to pay for support is the way to go, especially as EIN is always so far behind in their updates and too expensive for many people.


    3. One man and his blog
      Went to mow a meadow…

      There really aren’t many support costs! And the site has always been about free access to information. I’m really, really not going to start charging people, but thank you for the suggestion.

  43. I understand that writing a blog like freemovement -electric, outstanding (adjectives fail me) – comes from personal commitment. Of course if it were to become a routinized institution, or paid labour, it would lose the spark. So not the faintest suggestion that its a matter of cash although if you needed a bit of site maintenance/research/editorial help help, like others I’d I’d willingly subscribe my penny.

    But didnt you say you would need to find an alternative way of “keeping up”? So, if your way of sorting your mind is to write this kind of commentary why dont you just go on, in the knowledge that you’re a much appreciated, very rare species. Surely your legal fans (and some other others in the immigration world) can deal with him (peacefully, of course)!

  44. As a keen reader of this blog. I too, like the many other people that have commented, am very sad that you have decided to wind down. You blog has become an invaluable source of information for me since you began it.

    Thank you for the time that you have spent on this blog and the valuable updates that you have provided.

    I’m sure you have your reasons for winding down and I sincerely hope you reconsider your decision to wind down, especially since the other website with a similar name is of such a poor quality that my ten year old nephew could have constructed a better website. That website is a pile of pants, it just a cut and paste job of links and news reports. It can no way be confused with your impressive commentary on this blog.

    Ah well…best of luck in your future endeavours. It’s back to the old fashion way of actually reading case law for me rather than waiting for your fantastic summary of it.

    Take Care
    M :(

  45. Hi

    Is this possible for you to let other people to post case laws or information on this website?

    Like they can create user names and post here.
    If you are not happy to post here then let others people to do so.


  46. Thanks for the invaluable postings – I read your contributions on a virtual daily basis. I think your solution is not to wind down but to change the web address. Good idea about maintaining it as a resource though. I definitely would like you to work with me / write for my website which is not up and running yet. You can see some AIHRS postings on facebook.

  47. I felt frustrated at the outset when the ‘Free Movement’ name was duplicated by an ex officio of NCADC for his new organisation. However, I did think that the duplication would be resolved. I find the information here indispensable and I agree that, added to the loss of RMJ, my heart sinks to think that in these times of less services for seekers of asylum with even fewer opportunities to garner advice, any ending of provision is a terrible blow.

    I really do hope that your frustration with the plagiarized name will not lead to the ending of a way of communicating the information that you share. It would be such a significant loss .

    I hope that after you have had a chance to think, you might reflect on whether the blog has to go rather than the name. I really hope that you would be minded to continue what you do, even if the name changed.

  48. Just wanted to add my comments to the above. I can appreciate your reasons for wishing to stop.

    I would say thought that your commentary on immigration law developments has been absolutely invaluable to me over the last few years and really enlightening.

    Unfortunately I fear we will be left with online resources totally absent of the personality and subtlety that you brought.

    Best regards

  49. Dear FM,

    I am a keen reader of this blog and I suspect, like many of your other readers, do not post. However your decision to wind down the blog has provoked me to lift my fingers to type.

    Your blog has become an invaluable source of information for me since I was told of it by a co-worker. I have subsequently passed the address on to anyone I know interested in this area of law.

    Thank you so much for the effort and the time that you have spent on this blog.

    Best Wishes, Pete F

  50. I Bloody hope it wasn’t my comment which provoked this! Perhaps not, but still … :’

    Your post suggests that it’s just the confusion over names which is causing you to reconsider this blog. Well it is a simple enough thing to change a domain name and move content. Your post doesn’t say you want to or need to stop writing, just that you need to change the blog’s name.

    I and I’m sure others would be more than willing to help in that so you can continue your, yes, invaluable contribution. Just ask.

    1. It was in fact the final straw, I’m afraid, Paul! But certainly not your fault. I’m not going to change the name and spend ages moving content around, re-setting all the RSS and email facilities and moving the 500 email addresses to a different service, or whatever else I’d need to do. This has been going since early 2007 with the name Free Movement, I’m not going to change it now because someone else liked the name, wanted to piggyback or whatever other reason.

    2. Aw gawd!

      That makes sense. But my suggestion would be to put a permanent link to a new site at the top and email people to ask them to shift – assuming you want to carry on posting. I’m just making the suggestion (I’ve done this myself) because you don’t seem to want to stop, just stop posting here?

  51. So the only option is take down the other site?

    Any Copyright/patent/civil lawyers out there to provide assistance?

  52. This is a real shame. This blog is an invaluable resource to us – it clearly highlights matters which could assist our nationals when they are facing immigration difficulties. It would be very difficult for a small Mission such as ours to keep up with these matters as well deal with all the other consular work we deal with on a day to day basis

    I have visited the other site you mentioned (I don’t find it as useful)and just becasue they what to use a similar name – who cares – take as a sign of flattery.

    I do hope you will reconsider (I have my own selfish reasons i.e. you make my work easier)but you have helped more people then you can imagine.

  53. Thank you for what seems like a Herculean effort. This is/was a helluva site. Perfect tone: astute, honest, a bit flippant and really committed to serving immigrants.

    Thank you and thank you again.

    If you do decide to come back and devise a way we can help (with our myriad abilities)–save my email address and I’ll make time to contribute. WE OWE YOU!!

    Warm wishes, Gwen

  54. FM is no more, it’s gone, ceased to be, expired, gone to meet its maker, its a stiff, bereft of life, may it rest in peace…

    You are biased, partial, one sided and even more bloody infuriating on the web that you are in Court….however…I will miss your blog, it has been a really useful source of information, particularly your regular digest of case law.

    I am sure i speak for all of your readers, be they ‘immigration lawyers’ or honest hard working under paid public servants, when say that I hope it will be au revoir not farewell.