Hussain v The United Kingdom: ECHR 21 Feb 1996

The determination of a life sentence by the Home Secretary without recourse to a court was unlawful. There had been a violation of article 5(4) because the applicant who had been detained at Her Majesty’s pleasure was unable, after the expiry of his punitive period, to bring the case of his continued detention before a court. The court said that he was entitled under article 5(4) to have the issue of his dangerousness to society, a characteristic susceptible to change with the passage of time, decided by a court at reasonable intervals. Article 5 (4) required an oral hearing in the context of an adversarial procedure involving legal representation and the possibility of calling and questioning witnesses.


Times 26-Feb-1996, 21928/93, (1996) 22 EHRR 1, [1996] ECHR 8


Worldlii, Bailii


European Convention on Human Rights 5.4

Cited by:

CitedGiles, Regina (on the Application of) v Parole Board and Another HL 31-Jul-2003
The defendant had been sentenced for offences of violence, but an additional period was imposed to protect the public. He had been refused leave for reconsideration of that part of his sentence after he completed the normal segment of his sentence. . .
CitedBrowne v The Queen PC 6-May-1999
(St Christopher and Nevis) The appellant had been convicted of murder whilst still a youth. He had accordingly been sentenced to be detained ‘during [the Governor-General’s] pleasure; and if so sentenced he shall be liable to be detained in such . .
CitedRoberts v Parole Board CA 28-Jul-2004
The discretionary life-prisoner faced a parole board. The Secretary of State wished to present evidence, but wanted the witness to be protected. The Parole Board appointed special counsel to hear the evidence on behalf of the prisoner on terms that . .
CitedRoberts v Parole Board HL 7-Jul-2005
Balancing Rights of Prisoner and Society
The appellant had been convicted of the murder of three police officers in 1966. His tariff of thirty years had now long expired. He complained that material put before the Parole Board reviewing has case had not been disclosed to him.
Held: . .
MentionedSmith, Regina (on the Application of) v Secretary of State for the Home Department HL 28-Jul-2005
The applicant had, as a child been subject to detention during Her Majesty’s pleasure, the sentence being imposed before 30 November 2000. She argued that that sentence should be subject to periodic review despite the term had been fixed by the Lord . .
CitedSecretary of State for Justice v Walker; Same v James CA 1-Feb-2008
The claimant had been sentenced to a short period of imprisonment but with an indeterminate term until he demonstrated that it was no longer necessary for the protection of the public. He complained that the term having expired, no opportunity had . .
CitedBlack, Regina (on the Application of) v Secretary of State for Justice HL 21-Jan-2009
The appellant complained that the system for considering the release of a life prisoner did not comply with the Convention when the decision was made by the Secretary of State and not by the Parole Board, or the court. The Board had recommended his . .
CitedWhiston, Regina (on The Application of) v Secretary of State for Justice CA 25-Oct-2012
The claimant was a prisoner released on a home detention licence, but his licence had been revoked. He now said that the way it had been revoked, without the respondent’s decision being subject to confirmation by the Parole Board, nor to other . .
CitedOsborn v The Parole Board SC 9-Oct-2013
Three prisoners raised questions as to the circumstances in which the Parole Board is required to hold an oral hearing before making an adverse decision. One of the appeals (Osborn) concerned a determinate sentence prisoner who was released on . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Human Rights, Criminal Sentencing

Updated: 04 June 2022; Ref: scu.165419