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Tuesday, 15 October 2013

The UK Supreme CourtOn Wednesday 9 October 2013 the Supreme Court unanimously allowed the appeals of three prisoners who were seeking the right to have an oral hearing before the Parole Board: see Osborn v Parole Board [2013] UKSC 61. The decision is an important one, re-enforcing the value of common law human rights protections, alongside, and separately from, those of the European Convention on Human Rights. Lord Reed, in rehearsing the practical importance of fairness in decision-making, said (at para 70):

"In the present context, research has established the importance attached by prisoners to a process of risk assessment which provides for their contribution to the process (see Attrill and Liell, "Offenders’ Views on Risk Assessment", in Who to Release? Parole, Fairness and Criminal Justice (2007), ed Padfield). Other research reveals the frustration, anger and despair felt by prisoners who perceive the board’s procedures as unfair, and the impact of those feelings upon their motivation and respect for authority (see Padfield, Understanding Recall 2011, University of Cambridge Faculty of Law Research Paper No 2/2013 (2013)). The potential implications for the prospects of rehabilitation, and ultimately for public safety, are evident".

He also referred to Nicola Padfield's research paper at paragraph 91 of his judgement: the Faculty is pleased to note that empirical work carried out by Faculty members has contributed in this way.