The Guittard Ruling

We at Emery Johnson represent many prisoners in all aspects of Prison Law, including release and re-categorisation for those serving life sentences and those subject to IPP sentences.

Many prisoners subject to such a sentence may have heard a lot over the past few months about the ‘Guittard Ruling’.   In the case of R (on the application of Guittard) v the Secretary of State for Justice 2009 the Ministry of Justice considered the transfer of IPP prisoners without the requirement of a Parole Board review and recommendation.  Although this claim for judicial review concerned an IPP prisoner, it is submitted that the same principle / exception applies to lifers as well.

In this particular case, the Administrative Court (HHJ Stewart QC) found that the Secretary of State for Justice had acted unlawfully by failing to consider the transfer of IPP prisoners to open conditions outside of a Parole Board review and recommendation. The Court granted a declaration to that effect, and ordered that the Defendant decide whether the Claimant’s circumstances are sufficiently compelling or exceptional, such that he can be transferred to open conditions without a Parole Board recommendation.

Each case will be considered on its merits taking into account the individual circumstances but there should be evidence that the prisoner has completed the necessary offending behaviour work so as to demonstrate a reduction in risk.

If you are an IPP of life sentence prisoner and would like some assistance in relation to your release or transfer to open conditions, we have an experience team of Prison Lawyers here that can help you.