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Barrister - Ian Brownhill

Year of Call:  2009

Position:  Deputy Head of Public Law Group

Ian Brownhill Prison Law CV

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Senior Practice Manager:
Abdul Hafeez

Practice Group Clerks:
Craig Wain
Gavin John
Lucas Bennett
Chris Graham

Chief Executive & Director of Clerking
Tony McDaid

Tel: +44 (0) 845 210 5555
Fax: +44 (0) 121 606 1501
[email protected]


Ian Brownhill - Prison & Police Law

Ian is an established prison law practitioner and started his career at the Prisoners’ Advice Service where he was the first man to act as the Women Prisoners’ Caseworker. Through his time at PAS and at the Bar, Ian has dealt with the entire ambit of prison law cases. Ian has taught on the LAG introduction to prison adjudications course and has edited cases for the prisoners’ legal rights group bulletin.

Ian established the free legal advice clinic at HMP Send and was part of the independent team sent by the Ministry of Justice to HMP Maidstone to monitor their work on race and equality. 

Now at No 5, Ian continues to grow practice in prison law. Ian still accepts instructions in prison law advocacy matters and regularly acts in complicated Independent Adjudications and before the Parole Board. 

In addition, Ian now conducts judicial review cases in all areas of prison law. Ian is particularly called upon to act in sentence calculation matters and in cases where the detainee appears to be held unlawfully. Ian will also bring civil claims on behalf of prisoners.

Ian also acts in other areas with prison law elements:  he defends in criminal cases arising in detention settings; advises on extradition cases with prison condition elements and is looking to develop a deaths in custody practice. Ian has advised in prisoner repatriation cases. 

Ian accepts legally aided and private instructions. Ian will act for a conditional fee or pro bono when appropriate.


BA Hons (Oxon), Jurisprudence, Lincoln College, Oxford.
BVC College of Law


Hardwicke Entrance Scholarship, Lincoln’s Inn
Tancred Student, Lincoln’s Inn
Shelford Scholarship, Lincoln’s Inn


Prisoners’ Legal Rights Group
Amicus ALJ
Association of Regulatory and Disciplinary Lawyers
International Lawyers Network (Avocats Sans Frontières)


H v Director of High Security Prisons

Judicial review of the Director of High Security Prisons’ failure to consider the downgrade of a prisoner’s escape risk. Settled and resulted in downgrade. 

Instructed by Criminal Defence Solicitors

BC v (1) Secretary of State for Justice (2) Parole Board

Emergency instruction to assist securing the release of recall prisoner. Parole Board directed release of prisoner on same day that he received an adjudication. Probation Officer withdrew support for release and prison continued to hold prisoner. Parole Board agreed with Ian’s analysis that they had no jurisdiction, prisoner released shortly thereafter.

Instructed by BNG Solicitors. 

Re H

Appeal against unlawful SOPO conditions

Instructed by Wells Burcombe 

Re S

Private instruction to represent prisoner in Governor’s Adjudication. The charge against the prisoner was dismissed by the Governor.

Instructed by Prisoners’ Advice Service

R (on the application of E) v Governor of Hatfield Prison [2013] EWHC 775 (Admin)

Judicial review of Prison’s sentence calculation following successful appeal in the criminal division of the Court of Appeal.

Instructed by Prisoners’ Advice Service

Re H, Lewes Crown Court

Challenge of remand time calculation led to a successful application to recalculate the sentence to be served, several years after original sentence handed down. Prisoner released several months earlier as result. 

Instructed by Prisoners’ Advice Service

HMP Holloway v RP

Successfully defended prisoner charged with six separate adjudication charges. Case dismissed after legal argument that charges were improperly referred to independent adjudicator. 

Instructed by Criminal Defence Solicitors

G v Secretary of State for Justice

Judicial review of Secretary of State’s failure to promptly refer case recall case to Parole Board.  Settled with referral and article 5 damages.

Instructed by Blavo & Co

R (on the application of Rebecca Noone) v (1) the Governor of HMP Drake Hall, (2) Secretary of State for Justice [2010] UKSC 30; The Times Law Reports 2/7/10

Leading sentence calculation case.

Litigated the case with Deborah Russo of Prisoners’ Advice Service