Success in two prison law judicial reviews

In M v The Secretary of State for Justice, the relevant policies at the heart of the claim provided that male prisoners could generally be progressed to open conditions in the three years before their conditional release date (CRD).  Whereas, female prisoners could generally be categorised as open prisoners only in the two years before their CRD.  M was a model prisoner within three years of her conditional release date but denied progression to open prison. Tor Butler-Cole QC and Ian Brownhill argued that the claimant was being denied progression because she was a woman and the policy was unlawful as a result.

The Secretary of State settled the judicial review claim and has now amended the prison service instruction so that it allows women to be considered for open conditions within three years of their CRD just like their male counterparts.

Tor and Ian were instructed by Kate Lill of the Prisoners' Advice Service.

In R OAO Bousfield v The Parole Board for England and Wales [2021] EWHC 3160 (Admin) , Ian Brownhill and Stuart Withers (of No5 Chambers) argued that the Parole Board had unlawfully approached consideration of the claimant's recall.

In particular, that the Parole Board failed to apply the correct test when determining whether it ought to release the Claimant and misdirected itself as to the meaning of the serious harm. In addition, the Claimant challenged the panel's finding that he is a high risk of causing serious harm as irrational and alleged procedural unfairness in respect of the panel failing to ask questions about the Claimant's release plans.

Mr Justice Lane agreed with Ian and Stuart's arguments and quashed the Parole Board's decision.

Ian and Stuart were instructed by William Kenyon and Sam Hall of ITN Solicitors.