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Drilldown: Cases

Not many cases (217 of them) have been added to the database so far. To see the full list of cases (2046) go to the Mental health case law page.

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Cases > Subject : Bias or Life sentence cases or Prison law cases

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Page name Sentence Summary
JG v Kent and Medway NHS and Social Care Partnership Trust (2019) UKUT 187 (AAC)

Non-legal research by judge

Judicial summary from gov.uk website: "Mental Health First-tier Tribunal - Judicial Bias - Apparent bias - Breach of Natural Justice - Procedural Irregularity. Where a First-tier Tribunal judge undertook non-legal research by accessing a court of appeal judgment in respect of the appellant, did this lead to a presumption of bias and automatic disqualification? Did it lead to a conclusion of a real possibility of bias? Whether so doing amounts to a procedural irregularity leading to a breach of natural justice in that it rendered the hearing unfair. In the circumstances appertaining there can be no presumption of bias leading to automatic disqualification. On the facts of the case there was no real possibility of bias. Undertaking the non-legal research was a procedural irregularity but on the facts the hearing was not unfair."

Joseph, Application for Reconsideration by (2019) PBRA 43

Reconsideration of Parole Board decision

Unsuccessful application by prisoner with mental health background for reconsideration on basis of irrationality and procedural unfairness of Parole Board oral hearing panel's decision not to direct release on licence.

LV v UK 50718/16 (2018) MHLO 22

MHT/Parole Board delay

"Complaint: The applicant complains under Article 5(4) of the Convention that she did not have a speedy review of the legality of her detention. In particular, she contends that her right to a speedy review was violated both by delays on the part of the Public Protection Casework Section and the Parole Board, and from the unnecessary two-stage Tribunal/Parole Board process. Question to the Parties: Was the review of the applicant’s detention which commenced on 24 May 2011 and concluded on 21 March 2013 conducted 'speedily' within the meaning of Article 5(4) of the Convention?" (The first paragraph of the decision is wrong as the applicant's solicitor works for Campbell Law Solicitors.)

R (Bate) v Parole Board (2018) EWHC 2820 (Admin)

Damages for Parole Board delay

"Four grounds of claim were pleaded in detail. They can be summarised as challenging: (i) a failure, in violation of Art 5(4), to provide a parole hearing within a reasonably speedy interval; (ii) a systemic failure to maintain and operate a system for speedy and prompt parole reviews; (iii) an unlawful policy for prioritisation of listing which ignores support for release and prospects of release which are identified as realistic, and/or ignores a legitimate expectation given as to the timetable for a deferred hearing; (iv) an unlawful failure, by the decision letter of 2nd December 2016, to direct expedition in the listing of Mr Bate's deferred hearing. ... For the reason I have given, I would find in Mr Bate's favour on ground 1 and ground 4, and would award him damages on the basis indicated in paragraphs 77, 88 and 89 above. I would refuse relief in respect of grounds 3 and 4."

R (Evans) v Brockhill Prison (1996) EWHC Admin 234

Release date

"These applications concern a third situation: where a defendant spends time in custody awaiting trial for more than one offence, and is on conviction sentenced to concurrent or overlapping terms of custody. To what extent is account to be taken, in assessing the term of custody to be served in pursuance of the sentence in that situation, of time spent in custody (otherwise than for some unrelated reason) before the sentences were imposed?"

R (Gourlay) v Parole Board (2017) EWCA Civ 1003

Costs against Parole Board

"Does the established practice of the High Court, to make no order for costs for or against an inferior tribunal or court which plays no active part in a judicial review of one of its decisions, extend to the [Parole] Board?"

R (Hall) v SSJ (2018) EWHC 1905 (Admin)

Autism in prison

Unsuccessful judicial review by prisoner claiming breach of Equality Act 2010 reasonable adjustments duty.

R (LV) v SSJ (2012) EWHC 3899 (Admin)

MHT/Parole Board delay

"This is a renewed application for permission to apply for judicial review challenging delay, it is said, on the part of the Secretary of State for Justice and the Parole Board in fixing a hearing of the Parole Board."

R (LV) v SSJ (2013) EWCA Civ 1086

MHT/PB delay

The applicant had been given an IPP sentence then transferred to hospital under s47/49. On 12/12/11 the MHT decided she met the criteria for conditional discharge. The dossier reached the Parole Board on 29/3/12, and the hearing was arranged for 12/3/13. She claimed a breach of Article 5(4) during: (a) the period before the dossier was ready, when no judicial body was responsible for supervising her progress and the potentiality for release, and (b) the subsequent long period until the Parole Board met. The Court of Appeal gave permission to apply for judicial review (being simpler than giving permission to appeal the High Court's refusal of permission to apply for judicial review).

R (LV) v SSJ (2014) EWHC 1495 (Admin)

MHT/PB delay

"In the light of authority, Mr Southey accepts that he cannot submit as a matter of principle that the system by which the Claimant's release was considered by two successive bodies, the Tribunal and the Parole Board, is in conflict with the Claimant's Article 5(4) rights. ... He goes on to argue that, on the facts as they are here, if there were to be two hearings before two bodies, the state had a legal obligation to ensure expedition throughout the overall process. He says there was no such expedition, since the review of the legality of the Claimant's detention took almost 22 months from the date when the Claimant applied to the Tribunal on 24 May 2011 to the decision of the Parole Board on 21 March 2013. Within that period, Mr Southey makes a series of specific complaints as to periods of delay. ... The claim for judicial review is dismissed as against both Defendants. ... Although it took a considerable time to be resolved, there was in my view no breach of the obligation on the part of the State to provide a 'speedy' resolution."

R v Bala (2017) EWCA Crim 1460

Unsuccessful life sentence appeal

The appellant unsuccessfully argued that he should have received a s37/41 restricted hospital order instead of a life sentence. Extract from judgment: "His applications for an extension of time of 10 years to apply for leave to appeal against sentence and to call fresh evidence were referred to the full court by the single judge. It is the appellant's case that instead of a sentence of Custody for Life the judge should have imposed a hospital order under section 37 Mental Health Act (MHA) 1983 together with a Restriction Order under section 41. ... In R v Vowles; R (Vowles) v SSJ [2015] EWCA Crim 45, [2015] EWCA Civ 56, [2015] MHLO 16 this court set out in detail the approach to be taken by sentencing judges dealing with offenders with mental disorders. At paragraph 54, having earlier set out the statutory framework, the court described the situation in which a section 37/41 order is likely to be the correct disposal in a case where a life sentence is being considered. It is that 1) the mental disorder is treatable 2) once treated there is no evidence the offender would be in any way dangerous, and 3) the offending is entirely due to that mental disorder. In this case the new evidence does not demonstrate that the offending was entirely due to the mental disorder. We are quite satisfied, on the evidence available at the time and the more recent evidence, that the appellant's behaviour when committing the offence was affected by both mental illness and his personality disorder. On the face of it therefore this case did not come within the situation described as likely to lead to a section 37/41 order as described in Vowles. To that we would add the reminder in Vowles that consideration should be given to whether the powers of the Secretary of State under section 47 to transfer a prisoner for treatment would, taking into account all the other circumstances, be appropriate. It is clear from the court log that the judge had well in mind those powers, in the light of Dr Payne's reference to a further review after three months. We are satisfied therefore that even on the fresh evidence the judge could not have concluded, as required by section 37(2)(b), that 'having regard to all the circumstances including the nature of the offence and the character and antecedents of the offender, and to the other available methods of dealing with him, that the most suitable method of disposing of the case is by means of an order under [section 37.]' In short the judge's conclusion was correct at the time and, with hindsight and fresh evidence, remains correct. The real purpose of this appeal was to move the appellant from the release regime consequent upon a life sentence to the regime consequent on a hospital order. That is not a proper basis for an appeal if the original sentence was not wrong in principle. There are some, relatively few, cases where medical evidence obtained years after sentence convincingly demonstrates that the sentencing court proceeded on the wrong basis because of an error by an expert – see eg R v Ahmed [2016] EWCA Crim 670, [2016] MHLO 19. On analysis that is not this case. The sentence was not wrong in principle."

R v Fisher (2019) EWCA Crim 1066

Summary of MH sentencing guidance - life sentence replaced with s37/41

Having summarised the Sentencing Council's Definitive Guideline for Manslaughter (in force 1/11/18) and the relevant available disposals under the MHA, the Court of Appeal revoked sentences of imprisonment and replaced the life sentence with a s37/41 restricted hospital order.

R v Kitchener (2017) EWCA Crim 937

Appeal against life sentence

"On 22 November 2002 at the Crown Court at Cardiff before the Recorder of Cardiff His Honour Judge Griffith-Williams QC the applicant, then aged 20, pleaded guilty to attempted murder contrary to s.1(1) of the Criminal Attempts Act 1981. On 2 December 2002, he was sentenced by the same judge to custody for life with a minimum term of 4 years and 8 months less 4 months on remand in custody. His applications for an extension of time of about 14 years, for leave to appeal against sentence and to call fresh psychiatric evidence have been referred to the full Court by the single judge. The basis for the application for leave to appeal against sentence is that the applicant contends that he should have been sentenced to a hospital order and a restriction order under sections 37 and 41 of the Mental Health Act 1983 rather than to custody for life. The basis for the application for an extension of time is that the psychiatric report of Dr Sobia Khan dated 26 October 2015 was not available at the time of sentence. That report is said to satisfy the conditions for the admission of fresh evidence under section 23 of the Criminal Appeal Act 1968. The admission of the report is said to be both necessary and expedient in the interests of justice."

R v LV; R (LV) v SSJ (2015) EWCA Crim 45, (2015) EWCA Civ 56

Sentencing guidance; MHT/PB delay

"There are before the court: (1) Sitting as the Court of Appeal Criminal Division six cases where indeterminate sentences (either imprisonment for public protection (IPP) or a life sentence) had been passed between 1997 and 2008. Each specified a minimum term. In each case there was psychiatric evidence before the court with a view to a judge considering making a hospital order under MHA 1983 s37 as amended with a restriction under s41 of the same Act. The sentencing judge did not make such an order, but each was subsequently transferred to hospital under a transfer direction made by the Secretary of State under s47. (2) Sitting as the Court of Appeal Civil Division, a civil appeal in relation to a judicial review brought by the first of the appellants in the criminal appeals of the actions of the Secretary of State for Justice and the Parole Board relating to delay in the determination of her application for release from custody." In relation to the criminal aspect: in cases where medical evidence suggests mental disorder, the offending is partly or wholly attributable to that disorder, treatment is available and a hospital order may be appropriate, the court should consider (and, if appropriate, make) a s45A order before considering making a hospital order.

R v SSHD, ex p Leech (No 2) (1993) EWCA Civ 12

Prison Rules and solicitor-client letters

"Section 47 (1) of the Prison Act 1952 empowers the Secretary of State to make rules for the regulation and management of prisons. Rule 33 (3) of the Prison Rules 1964 provides as follows: "(3) Except as provided by these Rules, every letter or communication to or from a prisoner may be read or examined by the governor or an officer deputed by him, and the governor may, at his discretion, stop any letter or communication on the ground that its contents are objectionable or that it is of inordinate length." The principal question arising on this appeal is whether Rule 33 (3) is ultra vires section 47 (1) of the Act on the ground that it permits the reading and stopping of confidential letters between a prisoner and a solicitor on wider grounds than merely to ascertain whether they are in truth bona fide communications between a solicitor and client."

Re M: A v Z (2018) EWCOP 4

COP bias

"This matter concerns an appeal from the order of HHJ Roberts made on 18 July 2018 in Court of Protection (COP) proceedings concerning M. The appellants are M's mother and father in law who have the care of X, M's son age 12. ... Mr Simblet relies on four grounds of appeal: (1) There was apparent bias, in that the judge stated her intention in the exchange between the judge and the legal representatives, in the absence of the parties, to decide the application consistent with decisions made in different proceedings. (2) The judge wrongly felt constrained to reach a decision that would be consistent with a decision she had reached in different proceedings. (3) There was a material irregularity, in that the Judge took into account material from different proceedings, and the [paternal grandparents] within the COP proceedings were unable to properly know the case against them or that they had to meet. (4) In reaching her decision the judge failed to identify or give sufficient weight to factors that were relevant to M's best interests."

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