Claims against the prison service/Ministry of Justice

Our actions against the police and public bodies solicitors are part of a department which is nationally recognised as leaders in the field of human rights law and actions against public bodies.

Our specialist solicitors are active members of key associations including: Northern Administrative Lawyers Association, INQUEST Lawyers Group and Police Action Lawyers Group.

Our solicitors make compensation claims and undertake public law challenges on issues concerning human rights law and decisions by public authorities.

We offer competitive private funding rates and routinely act for clients who pay privately. We are proud of the service we offer to our clients. We are also a practice that has the benefit of a legal aid franchise and as such, are able to act for the most vulnerable clients, free of charge.

On occasions, we may act for you under a no win, no fee agreement (conditional fee agreement). To speak to a member of the police complaints and actions against authority team call us on 0175 321 5096.

 

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Stephensons are specialists in pursuing civil claims for compensation against the prison service and/or Ministry of Justice. Examples include:

Delayed parole hearing

This is an area that has been developed by the decisions in R (on the application of Daniel Faulkner) v Secretary of State for Justice and Anor [2010] EWCA Civ 1434 and Sturnham.

If you are you serving an indeterminate sentence (e.g. an imprisonment for public protection (IPP) or life sentence) and your ‘on tariff’ or ‘post tariff’ hearing has been delayed by the Parole Board (without lawful justification), then it may amount to a breach of your rights, as protected by Article 5(4) of the Human Rights Act 1998.

Please note that this firm can only consider claims in which the decision at the hearing was to direct your immediate release. You may still be entitled to compensation if your direction was not for release, however, this firm will be unable to act.

Breach of Human Rights Act 1998

Many actions that are pursued against the prison service and/or Ministry of Justice will involve breaches of the Human Rights Act 1998. Examples are as follows:

Article 2 - right life (often will be a death in custody)

Unfortunately, there are circumstances upon which a prisoner loses their life, whilst under the control of the prison service. The prison have both a positive and negative obligation to ensure that prisoner’s lives are protected. If they have failed to do so, resulting in the death of that prisoner, then we are able to pursue a civil claim for compensation against them.

It is important that you make contact as quickly as possible, as there will often be an Inquest before the civil claim. Furthermore, such claims are governed by a 12 month limitation period and therefore, it is crucial that such cases are pursued immediately and contact is made with the prison, to preserve and protect the prisoner’s right to claim.

You do not have to use the same solicitor that was instructed for the Inquest. However, we do have an Inquest department that is headed up by Mike Pemberton - Inquests

Article 3 - prohibition of inhumane, degrading and/or torturous treatment

Again, the prison have both a positive and negative obligation to ensure that prisoners are not subject to inhumane, degrading or torturous treatment. If they have failed to uphold such obligations, resulting in degrading or inhumane treatment, then we are able to pursue a civil claim for compensation against them.

This can occur when the prison and/or Ministry of Justice have been put on notice.

Article 5 – deprivation of liberty

Surprisingly, prisons continue to hold prisoners unlawful and often outside of their sentence. It is common for the prison to miscalculate their release date and/or release them later than they ought to have been released.

If this happens, then it will amount to a breach of your rights as protected by Article 5 of the Human Rights Act 1998. In addition, it is likely to amount to a claim for false imprisonment.

It is important that you instruct us immediately regarding these actions, as it can often be the Home Office who have been the ‘at fault’ party. This will arise when the Home Office have raised illegitimate concerns about a person’s immigration status and unlawfully held them in prison. Not only may this amount to a breach of Article 5, but may also amount to a racial discrimination claim.

If you would like to speak to a member of the team in relation to a claim against the prison service/Ministry of Justice call us on 0175 321 5096. Alternatively complete our online enquiry form and we will contact you directly.

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