James Dixon Prison Law
University of Hull
University of Cambridge (Downing College)
Began legal career at Sheffield Law Centre dealing with employment law, immigration/asylum and general consumer advice. Thereafter, worked at the English Translation Division of the European Court of Justice translating court documents (judgments, Advocate General’s opinion) from French and Italian.
Main practice areas: prison law (including associated appellate and CCRC work), public law, mental health, immigration/asylum, actions against the police, inquests, employment and human rights.
Has considerable experience of delivering CPD-accredited training.
Fluent in Italian and German, excellent knowledge of Hungarian and good working knowledge of French.
Prison Law (and associated work)
Has extensive experience of hearings before the Independent Adjudicator before whom he still appears, especially in the more complex. Regularly appears before the Parole Board in the full range of cases and has successfully drafted representations in a number of cases in order to secure an oral hearing for prisoners (an issue of increasing importance). Advises across the full range of prison law work including judicial review. His recent cases encompass: challenging an adjudication by Governor where ought to have been representation, multi-handed adjudications, HDC (challenging refusal post Noone), categorisation (refusal based in denial), allocation and transfer, treatment, visits, failure to provide offending behaviour courses, issues in relation to deniers in different contexts, challenging the refusal to grant an oral hearing, licence conditions and Article 8 ECHR, challenging Parole Board decisions, foreign national prisoner entitlements including re-categorisation, foreign national detention, repatriated prisoners and crediting time spent abroad, time spent unlawfully at large, compassionate release on licence, injunction to prevent someone on licence being relocated, and challenging recall.
He is author of an Adjudications Handbook and regularly provides CPD-accredited training in the area. In 2009 he presented a comprehensive 5-day course on prison law in conjunction with Crimeline.
He undertakes appeal work arising out of prison law such as challenges to IPP/extended sentences (including where well out of time) and CCRC applications as well as other types of claims arising out of detention such as compensation for wrongful conviction. His expertise in immigration enables him also to deal with foreign national prisoner cases.
Also deals with civil cases arising out of the prison context.
Has experience of Inquests on deaths in custody and quasi-custodial situations where Article 2 ECHR is engaged.
James is well aware of the challenges in this area in terms of funding and has assisted in the challenging of refusals in meritorious cases.
Instructions also accepted in criminal defence, especially cases which raise particular legal issues.
James won Pro Bono Lawyer of the Year Award at Birmingham Law Society Awards 2013.
B.A. (Hons) Hull
Employment Lawyers Association
Employment Lawyers Bar Association
Association of Prison Lawyers
Prisoner Legal Rights Group
Criminal Bar Association
Recent cases include:
R (Woods) v Secretary of State for Justice and Parole Board  EWHC 2503 (Admin) (Solicitors: Purcell Parker, Birmingham)
Unlawful recall to prison, approach of the Parole Board
R(Briggs) v Parole Board  EWHC 2761 (Admin) (Solicitors: Chivers)
Oral hearing before the Parole Board found to be procedurally unfair
R(Mcmillan) v Parole Board  EWHC 3802 (Admin) (Solicitors: Moore and Tibbits, Warwick)
Challenge to refusal to hold an oral hearing
R(Sagar) v Governor of HMP Wakefield  EWHC 1378 (Admin) (Solicitors: Chivers)
Approach to transfer in relation to post-tariff lifer who maintains innocence/Article 14 ECHR
R (Morales) v Parole Board and others  EWHC 65 (Admin)
Led by Manjit Gill QC. Recall of extended sentence prisoner. The claimant had also been represented by James Dixon in the recall proceedings. In a complicated case with deferred hearings, the Board eventually found that the claimant’s recall to prison had not been justified On the subsequent judicial review,both the Parole Board and the Secretary of State for Justice found to have breached the applicant’s right to a speedy review of his detention under Article 5(4). Parole Board at fault for over 2 months of unlawful detention and the Secretary of State for over 1 month. The Court (Silber J), dismissed the challenge in respect of the lack of coercive power on the part of the Board.
R v Daniel Stickley  EWCA Crim 35 (Solicitors: Terry Jones, Shrewsbury/Telford) (out of time appeal, extension of time granted)
Unlawful return to custody and unlawful sentence in respect of a s.5 public order offence, appellant granted bail pending appeal and Court exceptionally granted the solicitors costs
R v Pedley, Martin, Hamadi  EWCA Crim 840,  1 WLR 2517,  1 Cr App R (S) 24,  Crim LR 669 (Solicitors: Purcell Parker, Birmingham)
Challenge to IPP sentences, meaning of ‘significant risk’, IPP sentence in Martin quashed, out of time appeal
R v Hurren  EWCA Crim 2351 (Solicitors: Argyles, Tamworth)
Appeal re HDC eligibility, solicitors costs allowed exceptionally
R v Terence Round  EWCA Crim 2667,  Crim LR 329, The Times Law Reports December 22 2009 (Solicitors: Purcell Parker, Birmingham)
Guideline case in Sentencing Guidelines Council concerning the eligibility dates for HDC and cited in the Supreme Court case of Noone
R v Tyrone Spence  EWCA Crim 1173 (Solicitors: Tyndallwoods, Birmingham)
IPP quashed. Another example of the Court being willing to grant an extension of time in relation to an appeal which was years out of time. The appellant had had parole refused after an oral hearing.
R v Quinn  EWCA Crim 166
IPP sentence on 17 year old quashed over 4 years after it had been imposed
R v Brown (2012)  EWCA Crim 1152 (appeal against restraining order)