Sunday, 1 February 2009
Government can fix a prisoner's release date, not the courts!
So says this story from the Times, reporting the case of R (Black) v Secretary of State for Justice (2009). However one of the Law Lords, Lord Phillips (the Lord Chief Justice, no less), disagreed.
Article 5.4 of the European Convention on Human Rights states that a detained person has the right to have the lawfulness of that detention determined by a court.
Despite this the Court ruled that the executive (in the shape of the Secretary of State for Justice, Jack Straw, pictured) can decide the release date of a prisoner if it wants to.
Read the full judgment here.
1. Can this be argued to be contrary to the idea of separation of powers?
2. Might the Secretary of State for Justice take decisions in a politically biased way?