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.
QBD (Admin) (Dingemans LJ, Chamberlain J)
6 November 2019
The Extinction Rebellion Autumn Uprising which took place at multiple sites in London between 7 and 19 October 2019 and which involved gatherings of protestors engaging in “disruptive actions” to challenge police resources and pressure the state into responding to their demands for change was not a “public assembly” within the Public Order Act 1986 s.14(1). Accordingly, the senior police officer designated to coordinate the police response to the Uprising had had no power to impose a condition under that provision. The court defined “public assembly” in s.14(1).
DC (Thirlwall LJ, Elisabeth Laing J, Dove J)
30 October 2019
The independent adjudicator, to whom disciplinary charges against prisoners were referred, did not have an express or implied power to refer charges to the police. The regime for discipline in prisons was intended to operate separately from the criminal justice system, except where the governor referred charges to the police or where the charges related to very serious offences.
CA (Civ Div) (Floyd LJ, Green LJ)
11 September 2019
In refusing a writ of habeas corpus for a prisoner’s release from detention, the Court of Appeal held, applying Corke, Re  1 W.L.R. 899, that where a person had been convicted by a competent court of summary jurisdiction, the appropriate remedy was to appeal against conviction and not by way of application for habeas corpus.