ACCESS TO JUSTICE

It was not a breach of ECHR art.6 to offer a prisoner a read-only laptop for the purpose of access to justice. There was nothing so innately complex about his case that meant he could not write to the Criminal Cases Review Commission by hand.

The consultation process into changes in the provision of criminal legal aid services had been procedurally flawed. The Lord Chancellor’s failure to consult upon the content of two reports which had determined the number of contracts to be offered to law firms had been so unfair as to result in illegality.

[2014] EWHC 3020 (Admin)

There was a risk of unfairness in not permitting a defendant, where necessary, access to a registered intermediary but allowing non-defendant witnesses and victims access to one. The point at which a defendant entered a witness box was crucial and he should have the best opportunity to do himself justice.

[2014] EWHC 1944 (Admin)

It was not unlawful for a prisoner representing himself in legal proceedings to be denied access to computer facilities where he had not shown that the denial would cause him real prejudice, as the right to access to justice had to be reasonable and balanced with security considerations.

The Legal Aid for Crown Court Proceedings (Costs) Rules (Northern Ireland) 2005 were unlawful and ultra vires because of the failure to take account of the need to provide payment to counsel for preparation where a new legal team was instructed prior to sentencing.

[2014] UKSC 4

No opinion was expressed on the arguability of the proposition that, as a result of the decision in Lesoochranarske Zoskupenie VLK v Ministerstvo Zivotneho Prostredia Slovenskej Republiky (C-240/09) [2012] Q.B. 606, the principles derived from R. (on the application of Corner House Research) v Secretary of State for Trade and Industry [2005] EWCA Civ 192, [2005] 1 W.L.R. 2600, as modified in the case of R. (on the application of Garner) v Elmbridge BC [2010] EWCA Civ 1006, [2011] 3 All E.R. 418, should be applied to applications for costs protection in cases falling within the UN Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters 1998 art.9.

[2013] EWCA Civ 628

Following its earlier ruling that the failure to make a provision for exceptional or unusual circumstances under the Legal Aid for Crown Court Proceedings (Costs) (Amendment) Rules (Northern Ireland) 2011 had resulted in an offender being unable to make his right to legal aid effective, the court made an order of mandamus compelling the Department of Justice to take all necessary steps to make his right to legal aid effective.

[2013] NIQB 47

Where young people had been subjected to unlawful restraint techniques while detained in secure training centres, but had not appreciated that the techniques were unlawful, the secretary of state was under no obligation to tell them that they had been unlawfully restrained so as to enable them to seek legal redress.

[2013] EWCA Civ 34

Neither the right to effective access to the courts under the European Convention on Human Rights 1950 art.6 nor the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 s.51(8) required an interested party to be represented by a lawyer at a hearing to determine whether a receiver should be given power to realise property.

[2012] EWCA Crim 2350

It was not appropriate to impose a positive obligation on the Secretary of State for Justice either at common law or under the European Convention on Human Rights 1950 to provide details of children formerly detained in secure training centres who had been subjected to unlawful restraint procedures in order for them to seek redress if they chose.

[2012] EWHC 8 (Admin)

Permission to apply for a declaration of incompatibility on the basis that the low levels of funding for representation by counsel in confiscation proceedings, as provided by the Criminal Defence Service (Funding) Order 2001 Sch.4, effectively denied the right of access to justice provided by the European Convention on Human Rights 1950 art.6 was refused. It was too premature to seek such a declaration, as the confiscation proceedings had not yet run their course.

[2008] EWHC 3239 (Admin)

The appellant’s conviction following a Naval Court Martial was unsafe as the judge advocate was a serving naval officer and not a civilian.

[2004] EWCA Crim 621

A decision by the secretary of state whether or not to designate a prisoner as a technical lifer was not a sentencing exercise and accordingly the European Convention on Human Rights 1950 Art.6 had not applied. A refusal to grant the claimant technical lifer status was lawful and rational in light of the material presented.

[2003] EWHC 3152 (Admin)

Dismissal of a challenge to the Home Secretary’s decision that the next review of the case of a discretionary life sentence prisoner should take place 15 months after his transfer to open conditions. The decision was within the Home Secretary’s power, it was reasonable and it did not infringe the prisoner’s right of access to a court.

[2003] EWHC 597 (Admin)

Condemnation proceedings commenced pursuant to s.139 and Sch.3 Customs and Excise Management Act 1979 did not amount to criminal proceedings for the purposes of s.12 Access to Justice Act 1999.

[2003] EWCA Civ 237

Value Added Tax legislation which gave rise to the obligations imposed by tax and default surcharge assessments, penalty notices and notices to provide security were all within the scope of Art.6(1) of the European Convention on Human Rights in that they were at least “civil” and were not excluded on account of their being obligations of a public law nature. However, none of the three types of “penalties”, namely, default surcharges, misdeclaration and late registration penalties, could properly be classed as “criminal charges” within the same article of the Convention.

A fair trial did not necessarily entail representation by Queen’s Counsel merely because the Crown was represented by Queen’s Counsel. Given the cap on the sentencing power of a judge on a retrial, a sentence that the Attorney-General considered to be unduly lenient should be referred to the Court of Appeal following the offender’s original conviction.

[2002] EWCA Crim 215

Although it could be possible that, according to the nature of a disability, a prisoner’s case preparation could be seriously and substantially disadvantaged by restricted computer facilities, that was not the case for the present claimant.

[2001] EWHC Admin 241