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Bhatt Murphy Solicitors

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Our Prison Law Cases

We have taken successful cases for prisoners concerning all aspects of the prison system, from procedure at disciplinary hearings through to challenges to the legislation relating to life sentences. Some of our key successes are set out below.

Vinter v UK (2013) The Grand Chamber of the ECtHR decided that whole life tariffs where there is no prospect of release are a breach of Article 3 of the Convention.

R (McGetrick) v SSJ (2013) The Court of Appeal held that the Parole Board has the power t exclude prejudicial material form a parole dossier, even though the Board did not think the power existed.

R (BBC) v SSJ (2012) The refusal of permission to the BBC to film an interview with a prisoner, the interested party in the case, was unlawful and in breach of Article 10.

Vinter v UK (2012) The European Court of Human Rights uphold the Government's power to impose whole life tariffs by a majority of 4-3.

R (NW) v SSJ (2010) A decision to have a 15 month interval between parole reviews did not breach the rights of a prisoner and her baby located in a prison MBU.

R (O'Connell) v Parole Board (2009) Article 5(4) does not apply to the custodial part of an extended sentence.

R (Coleman) v Governor of HMP Wayland (2009) When property is confiscated from a prisoner, it can only be destroyed if so authorised by the prison rules or for some other lawful reason.

Smith v Governor HMP Belmarsh (2009) The failure of the Governor to refer an adjudication for a lifer to an indepdent adjudicator breached Article 6.

R (Black) v SSJ HL (2009) The Lords rejected an argument that Article 5 applies to the first release of determinate prisoners by a majority of 4-1.

R (Brooke & others) v SSJ & Parole Board CA (2007)We acted for one of the claimants in the above case which established that the Parole Board was not sufficiently independent of the executive.

R (Stellato) v Home Secretary HL (2007)
A successful challenge to the Secretary of State's argument that he had the power to make retrospective changes to the length of time a prisoner will spend on licence.

R (Smith) v Parole Board, HL (2005)
Successfully requiring the Parole Board to convene oral hearings when deciding whether prisoners on licence should be returned to custody.

R (Roberts) v Parole Board, HL (2005)
Seeking to establish the extent to which the authorities are entitled to withhold material from life prisoners seeking release on parole.

R (Hammond) v Home Secretary, HL (2005)
Requiring legislation to be amended to allow for life sentenced prisoners to have oral hearings when their tariffs are reset.


R (Sim) v Parole Board, CA (2004)
Successfully challenging the release and recall powers for prisoners serving extended sentences through the application of Article 5(4) of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Ezeh and Conners v UK, ECtHR (2002)
Challenging the structural fairness of the prison disciplinary system and the power of prison governors to award additional days to prisoners' sentences.

R (Richards) v Home Secretary (2002)
Establishing that decisions of the European Court of Human Rights have retrospective effect.

R (Daly) v Home Secretary, HL (2001)
Establishing the correct legal test for Human Rights Act challenges in the context of prison cell searches.

V and T v NGN and others, HC (2000)
Protecting the right to privacy for young offenders after release where there is a threat to personal safety.

R v Governor of HMP Frankland ex parte Russell, DC (1998)
Requiring the drug testing procedures in prisons to be administered in a fair and open manner.
You will find dowloads and links to judgments, policy documents and backgound information concerning our prison law cases on our tariffs, prison discipline and parole hearings timelines.