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.
ACCESS TO JUSTICE
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.
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.
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.