QBD (Admin) (Steyn J)
10 March 2020
There was no real risk of a requested person’s ECHR art.3 rights being breached if he was extradited to Romania where further information and assurances subsequently provided by the judicial authority had addressed the relevant issues, such as the time he would be able to spend outside his cell during a quarantine period, and there was no remaining lack of clarity.
CA (Crim Div) (Fulford LJ, Cheema-Grubb J, Foster J)
19 February 2020
When considering whether it was appropriate to impose an extended sentence on an offender who had already been recalled on licence in relation to an indeterminate sentence imposed for other offences, the fact that the offender had been recalled and the effect on the early release provisions was irrelevant. Insofar as there were conflicting Court of Appeal decisions on that point, R. v Smith (Nicholas)  UKSC 37 was to be followed.
SC (Lady Hale PSC, Lord Wilson JSC, Lord Carnwath JSC, Lord Lloyd-Jones JSC, Lord Sales JSC)
19 February 2020
The Supreme Court did not have jurisdiction to entertain appeals against a decision of the Divisional Court of Northern Ireland concerning the lawfulness of a life prisoner’s release on licence. The proceedings did not constitute a “criminal cause or matter” for the purposes of the Judicature (Northern Ireland) Act 1978 s.41(1); the proper avenue of appeal was to the Court of Appeal in Northern Ireland.
CA (Civ Div) (Lord Burnett LCJ, Holroyde LJ, Nicola Davies LJ)
23 January 2020
A prison governor’s decision that a category A prisoner serving a mandatory life sentence should attend the hearing of a civil claim by video link, rather than in person, did not breach his right to a fair trial under ECHR art.6. Nor had the decision-maker unlawfully fettered her discretion in refusing the prisoner’s request to be produced physically at the hearing of his claim. However, the decision had been made on the basis of a fundamental misunderstanding of an important fact, and would have to be retaken in the light of up-to-date information.
QBD (Admin) (Clive Sheldon QC)
16 January 2020
A Parole Board had erred in its decision not to recommend the transfer of an indeterminate-sentence prisoner to open conditions. In particular, it had failed to undertake the balancing exercise between the risks and benefits of such a transfer, as required by the directions issued pursuant to the Criminal Justice Act 2003 Pt 12 s.239(6).
CA (NI) (McCloskey LJ, O'Hara J, Huddleston J)
20 December 2019
The court considered the violent offences prevention order regime under the Justice Act (Northern Ireland) 2015 Pt 8, including the distinction between an order imposed at sentence and a free-standing order, and provided general guidance as to the relevant legal test for imposition of such an order and procedural fairness.
CA (Civ Div) (Floyd LJ, Baker LJ, Green LJ)
21 November 2019
Although the principle that the welfare of the child was paramount did not apply to applications for an order for secure accommodation under the Children Act 1989 s.25, the court was not required to abdicate all responsibility for evaluating the impact of the proposed placement on the child’s welfare. The court was also obliged to consider whether the making of such an order was proportionate, that being one of the “relevant criteria” for deciding whether keeping a child in secure accommodation was justified. The court had to carry out its own evaluation of whether the order would safeguard and promote the child’s welfare, but the intensity of that evaluation would depend on the facts of the case.
DC (Hickinbottom LJ, Johnson J)
20 November 2019
It had been lawful for the Secretary of State for the Home Department to add r.7(1A) to the Prison Rules 1999, which removed his own power to transfer life prisoners to open conditions if they were subject to a deportation order in respect of which they had no extant right to appeal. Treating such prisoners who, at the end of their period of detention, were inherently unlikely to resettle in UK communities, differently from other prisoners, by not affording them an opportunity to be transferred to open conditions or enjoy release on temporary licence, was not a manifestly disproportionate means of pursuing the legitimate aim of prioritising the other prisoners who were likely to resettle in UK communities.
QBD (Admin) (Steven Kovats QC)
13 November 2019
The Parole Board, in deciding to transfer a prisoner to open conditions rather than release him to an approved premises had failed to grapple with the evidence in relation to his personality disorder and the potential detriment to its management in open conditions. It had also erred in taking account of his drug and alcohol misuse when that was not a risk issue.
QBD (Admin) (Judge Cotter QC)
11 November 2019
A prisoner had not made out his challenge to a decision to recategorise him from a category D to a category C prisoner, the decision having been based on ongoing confiscation proceedings brought by HMRC and the latter’s belief that, if placed in open conditions, the prisoner might escape and seek to hide or dissipate his assets. Contrary to the prisoner’s submission, the policy on recategorisation enabled ongoing confiscation proceedings to be taken into account, and it was not necessary that a confiscation order should have been made or enforced.