European Court of Human Rights communicates Philip Rule’s case of Bowen and Stanton to the UK.

The Strasbourg Court has now made public, on 28 September 2020, that earlier in the month the First Section has now referred to the government for its response application no. 49096/19 lodged by two former prisoners, against the United Kingdom. That application was lodged on 16 September 2019 after the Court of Appeal dismissed the case ([2018] 1 W.L.R. 2170), and the Supreme Court declined to accept the case for appeal.

The applicants were sentenced to indeterminate sentences of imprisonment. Following a Parole Board review in each of their cases, the Board ordered their release subject to the condition that they reside at designated approved premises. In both cases their actual release was delayed because accommodation in the premises designated was not immediately available, a fact known to the Parole Board at the time it directed release. The first applicant was released 118 days after the Parole Board directed his release. The second applicant was released 69 days after.

The Court has posed the questions upon the application for the Government to answer:

  1. Was the detention of the applicants following the decision of the Parole Board in each of their cases to direct release compatible with Article 5§1 of the Convention?
  2. Has there been a violation of Article 5§4 of the Convention because the applicants’ release did not automatically follow the direction of the Parole Board but depended on place being found for them in approved premises?

Philip Rule is the Head of the Public Law group at No5 Barristers’ Chambers and a strong element of his practice concerns international human rights law. He has a specialist appeal practice with experience of work internationally including in Caribbean jurisdictions.