Court of Appeal rules that cuts to legal aid for prisoners are unlawful

10.04.17 | |

In a landmark ruling, the Court of Appeal has today found in favour of two leading prisoners’ rights organisations in their challenge to the government’s removal of legal aid from prisoners.


The Prisoners’ Advice Service and the Howard League for Penal Reform, represented by Bhatt Murphy solicitors, Phillippa Kauffmann QC and Doughty Street barrister Alex Gask, have successfully established as unlawful the government’s decision to remove from the scope of criminal legal aid a number of areas of decision making that impact significantly on prisoners’ lives: pre-tariff parole reviews; eligibility for mother and baby units; segregation and placement in Close Supervision Centres; category A reviews; and resettlement on leaving prison.


The Court of Appeal concluded that the removal of legal aid from these areas of prison law, together with the failure to put in place any other effective safeguards, renders the system inherently unfair. It is now down to the Government to address this unfairness, by reinstating legal aid or by introducing an alternative mechanism.


A summary of the judgment can be found on the Judiciary’s website by clicking here, and the full judgment can be found by clicking here.  

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