Parole Board concedes judicial review confirming it has power to hold an oral hearing to consider whether to suspend a life licence supervision.

In proceedings brought before the Administrative Court, the claimant, represented by Mr Philip Rule of No5 Barristers’ Chambers, had challenged the legal advice the Parole Board judicial member had received that the Board lacked any power to convene an oral hearing to consider an application to suspend the supervision element of the licence. That application was made to allow the claimant to reside abroad with his family.

Such an application is made pursuant to section 31 of the Crime (Sentences) Act 1997.

Mr Rule contended that on an ordinary construction of the Board’s powers it does possess the power to convene an oral hearing; and it was unfair not to convene that hearing in the claimant’s case.

In the alternative, to any extent that the rules or legislative scheme (for which the Secretary of State for Justice is responsible) were said to preclude an oral hearing being convened that should be overcome by a reading or giving effect that enables procedural fairness compatible with the rights guaranteed under the Human Rights Act 1998.

It was argued that the failure to convene the hearing breached the procedural safeguards required by the Convention, and/or the continued imposition (non-suspension) of the supervisory licence requirements constitutes in the circumstances an unnecessary and/or disproportionate interference with the protection by Article 8 ECHR of the family and private life of the claimant and his family.

The decision to refuse the oral hearing, and the suspension of the licence, was quashed, by consent order.

A fresh decision shall now be taken following an oral hearing.

Philip Rule was instructed by Julian Coningham of Coninghams Solicitors.