Immigration and asylum law is notoriously complicated and constantly changing.
In a recent Gresham College lecture, Lord Justice Haddon-Cave referred to an estimate from 2013 that immigration legislation and rules ran to over a million words – more than the total number of words in the Harry Potter series. In a case from the same year Lord Justice Jackson described the Immigration Rules and their numerous appendices as “having achieved a degree of complexity which even the Byzantine emperors would have envied.”
Things have got worse since 2013.
In 2017 a senior Immigration Judge described immigration law as:
“A total nightmare. I don’t suppose the judges know any more about it than the appellants who appear before them.”
One of the very few people in the country who does know more than most appellants or judges is Colin Yeo. As he points out on his superb blog, statutory immigration law – not including the voluminous rules and codes of practice – is now divided between Acts from 1971, 1988, 1999, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2014 and 2016. Each Act amends and re-amends existing legislation, thus adding yet further layers of complexity. Since he wrote that post, Brexit legislation has produced yet more statutory accretions.
The latest horror about to arrive is the Nationality and Borders Bill. Continue reading “The evil lurking in clause 23 of the Nationality and Borders Bill”