Regina v Parole Board, ex parte MacNeil: CA 18 Apr 2001

The interval between occasions of consideration of the granting of parole to a discretionary life prisoner, was to be determined on the facts and circumstances of each prisoner. There was no rule that the maximum period between reviews was to be two years. The earlier case had expressly stated that no maximum interval was being set. Gibson LJ ‘The difficulty . . . in relying on Oldham is that the European Court expressly stated . . . that it was not going to give a ruling as to the maximum permissible period between reviews to consider a prisoner’s release. It recognised that a ‘reasonable period’ will depend on the facts of the particular case. . . . The fact that two years constituted too long a period in Oldham does not necessarily entail that a two-year period in the present case was disproportionately long.’ Lord Phillips MR: ‘This is a case which has turned upon its particular facts, as the Strasbourg court has recognised is appropriate. No general proposition can be based upon it to the effect that a two year interval will satisfy the requirement derived from Article 5 (4) of the Human Rights Convention that a person deprived of his liberty shall be entitled to have the lawfulness of his detention reviewed at reasonable intervals.’


Peter Gibson LJ, Lord Phillips MR


Times 18-Apr-2001, [2001] EWCA Civ 448


European Convention on Human Rights 5.4


England and Wales


CitedOldham v The United Kingdom ECHR 26-Sep-2000
Where a parole board took two years to consider the applicant’s parole, this was unreasonable, and a breach of the Article 5.4 requirement to deal with such matters speedily. Accordingly the continued detention of the applicant became unlawful. The . .

Cited by:

CitedMurray v The Parole Board Secretary of State for the Home Department CA 6-Nov-2003
The applicant had been convicted of murder and sentenced to life imprisonment. He had twice previously been released on licence and had his licence revoked. His tarriff had expired The period between reviews of his detention had been two years, but . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Criminal Sentencing, Human Rights

Updated: 08 May 2022; Ref: scu.88586