Stuart Withers

Viewing: Inquests, Public Inquiries and Coronial Law for Stuart Withers

Stuart is a specialist in actions against the police, public law, inquests and prison law.
Civil claims against public authorities
Stuart is regularly instructed in civil claims against the police and the prison service. He is instructed to advise on claims concerning false imprisonment, assault/battery, malicious prosecution, claims under the Equality Act 2010 and claims under the Human Rights Act 1998. He has significant expertise in civil claims against the Parole Board.
Recent successful cases include:
• Several claims against the prison service for negligence and breach of article 3 for prisoner-on-prisoner assaults.
• Securing damages for unlawfully strip-searched prisoners in both the male and female prison estate.
• Article 3 claims against the police and prison service for failing to investigate allegations of serious criminal conduct.
• Damages claims for breach of article 2 and related inquest proceedings.
• Several claims for religious discrimination and indirect discrimination relating to Muslim prisoners being not allowed to wear their Toppi.
• A claim for direct discrimination, and a failure to make reasonable adjustments for a blind prisoner.
• Several claims for damages against the Parole Board for article 5(4) delays.
• A claim regarding the negligent healthcare a transgender prisoner received.
Prison Law
Stuart is a prison law specialist. He regularly advises on all aspects of prison law. He has written two guides for the Prisoners’ Advice Service on the rights of LGBT+ prisoners. He regularly appears before the Parole Board in complex cases concerning lifers and TACT prisoners. He has significant experience of representing recalled prisoners where an allegation of further offending has been made, often involving cross-examining police officers. He has been instructed by the Official Solicitor to represent prisoners who lack capacity to participate in their parole hearings. Due to Stuart’s Court of Protection practice he can also advise on issues of treatment for prisoners who lack capacity.
Stuart has had considerable recent success in claims for judicial review against the Parole Board. His cases include:
• R (Bruton) v Parole Board [2022] EWHC 1692 (Admin). A challenge to a decision of the Parole Board which had refused to accept an in-time application for reconsideration.
• R (Audi Johnson) v Parole Board [2022] A.C.D. 86. The Parole Board was held to be functus when it fixed the future release date for a determinate prisoner under s.256 Criminal Justice Act 2003. The associated civil claim for false imprisonment settled.
• R (Austin) v Parole Board [2022] 1 WLR 2489 led by Jude Bunting KC. The protocol for summaries for noteworthy prisoners was declared ultra vires and procedurally unfair.
• R (Bousfield) v Parole Board [2021] EWHC 3160 (Admin) led by Ian Brownhill. The Court quashed a decision of the Parole Board on the grounds of illegality and procedural unfairness. Stuart acted for the Claimant throughout his parole proceedings. Stuart’s initial arguments raised in the reconsideration application were accepted by the High Court.
• R (FDJ) v Secretary of State for Justice [2021] 1 W.L.R. 5265. Stuart acted for the intervener, Dr Lamble, in an important claim regarding the use of the single sex exemptions under the Equality Act 2010 and the use of statistics in relation to transgender prisoners.
• R (Gifford-Hull) v Parole Board [2021] EWHC 128 (Admin). A claim concerning solicitor’s duties in relation to withheld material, and the status of victim personal statements. The Court quashed the Parole Board’s decision as procedurally unfair.
• R (Lawrence) v Parole Board [2020] EWHC 3774 (Admin). A successful challenge to the Parole Board’s refusal to grant an oral hearing.
• R (Grinham) v Parole Board [2020] EWHC 2140 (Admin). A key decision which summarises the requirements of procedural fairness as they apply to Parole Board proceedings.
• R (Fuller) v Parole Board [2020] EWHC 62 (Admin). A successful irrationality challenge to a decision of the Parole Board which failed to refer to key evidence supporting the Claimant’s application for release.
Harmsworth Scholar of the Middle Temple
Police Actions Lawyers Group
The Trans Equality Legal Initiative
Law (LLB, hons), Queen Mary, University of London
MA Res ‘Covert surveillance of legal professional privilege’, Queen Mary, University of London
Bar Professional Training Course, Kaplan Law School
‘Challenging Parole Board Decisions’ (June 2022) presented at the No5 Prison Law conference.
‘A prisoner’s guide to LGB Rights’ (Nov 2020) published by the Prisoners’ Advice Service.
‘A prisoner’s guide to Trans Rights’ (Nov 2020) published by the Prisoners’ Advice Service.
‘Transgender issues in the criminal justice system’ (Nov 2016) with Jane Ryan, Legal Action Group.

Latest News & Publications

In R(Dich & Murphy) v Parole Board and Secretary of State for Justice [2023] EWHC 945 (Admin) the Divisional Court (William Davis LJ and Johnson J) have clarified the scope of public protection test as it applies to fixed term prisoners....

Date: Tue, 02 May 2023
In R(Matthews) v Parole Board [2023] EWHC 694 (Admin) Fraser J quashed a decision of the Parole Board....

Date: Wed, 29 Mar 2023
The inquest into the death of Kevin Clinton found multiple failings by staff on Coral Ward, Luton operated by the East London NHS Foundation Trust....

Date: Thu, 16 Mar 2023