Married transgender prisoners successfully challenge a prohibition that prevented contact

Tue, 18 May 2021

No5’s Philip Rule has successfully challenged a prohibition preventing two married transgender prisoners from communicating with one another.

In MA v Secretary of State for Justice [2021] EWHC 1266 (Admin) Mr Justice Morris allowed the judicial review concerning two transgender prisoners who married in 2017.  Following their marriage, they were promptly separated to different prisons, since when they were unlawfully prevented from having contact by telephone, and by visitation arrangements.

Before the Administrative Court, they relied principally upon Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights 1950, challenging the necessity for such restriction, and the proportionality of such a ban.

The learned Judge found that the Claimant has suffered a breach of the protection of Article 8. The prohibition of telephone contact and inter-prison visits was found to be an unnecessary and disproportionate interference with the private and family life of the Claimant within Article 8(1) ECHR and is not justified under the provisions of Article 8(2) ECHR.  The prohibition is therefore unlawful, pursuant to section 6 of the Human Rights Act 1998.

In addition, the Defendants breached their own applicable published policy, the Prison Service Instruction 16/2011, entitled “Providing Visits and Services to Visitors”, in the failure to make reasonable efforts to accommodate “Inter-prison visits” in accordance with the published policy. This was also unlawful.

Philip was instructed by Sangeetha Vairavamoorthy, assisted by Rebecca Fry, of Duncan Lewis solicitors, Harrow office.

The press has reported the judgment at:

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