The law is clear the the Government owe a public law duty to provide life sentence prisoners with access to offending behaviour programmes sufficient to enable them to demonstrate to the Parole Board at or around their tariff expiry that risk has sufficiently reduced for them to be progressed.
The Government has been poor at providing such access to courses and this has led to a significant number of court cases. We have assisted a considerable number of lifer’s obtain access to programmes via Judicial Review proceedings.
The Government removed legal aid for sentence planning matters, but this does not prevent assistance being provided via Judicial Review or sentence planning aspects that are crucial whilst parole proceedings are on-going. Some examples of assistance;
We took Judicial Review proceedings for a client needing access to the HSP. The claim was conceeded by the Government, whom provided him with access to the course and agreed to pay him £2000 for breaching his human rights.
A client needed access to an adapted version of the course. He had simply been left without any input. We engaged the pre-action protocol procedure and they agreed to place him on the programme recognising they would lose in proceedings.
We are able to provide advice on sentence planning matters on a private basis.