Payne v Lord Harris of Greewich: CA 1981

A prisoner sought a declaration that he was entitled to be given the reasons for refusing him parole so that he could make representations in rebuttal.
Held: The declaration was refused.
Lord Denning MR said: ‘No doubt it is the duty of all those concerned – from the member of the local review committee, to the Parole Board, to the Secretary of State – to act fairly. That is the simple precept which now governs the administrative procedure of all public bodies. But the duty to act fairly cannot be set down in a series of set propositions. Each case depends on its own circumstances.’
Shaw LJ said: ‘In the well-known case of Reg. v. Gaming Board for Great Britain, Ex partes Benaim and Khaida [1970] 2 QB 417, 430, Lord Denning M.R. said: ‘It is not possible to lay down rigid rules as to when the principles of natural justice are to apply: nor as to their scope and extent. Everything depends on the subject matter . . ‘ In a context in which the public interest may be put at risk by the inopportune release of a prisoner on licence, no constraints or pressures should weigh upon the Parole Board in coming to what must in the end be a decision in which expedience must be an important influence.’
Brightman LJ referred to the same passage from Ex parte Benaim and Khaida and said: ‘The scope and extent of the principles of natural justice depend on the subject matter to which they are sought to be applied.’


Lord Denning MR, Shaw LJ


[1981] 1 WLR 754


England and Wales

Cited by:

CitedBourgass and Another, Regina (on The Application of) v Secretary of State for Justice SC 29-Jul-2015
The Court considered the procedures when a prisoner is kept in solitary confinement, otherwise described as ‘segregation’ or ‘removal from association’, and principally whether decisions to keep the appellants in segregation for substantial periods . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Prisons, Natural Justice

Updated: 09 May 2022; Ref: scu.591146