Regina v Secretary of State for the Home Department, Ex parte Anderson: QBD 1984

A prisoner challenged a standing order which restricted visits by his legal adviser as he contemplated proceedings concerning his treatment in prison when he had not at the same time made any complaint to the prison authorities internally.
Held: The standing order was ultra vires. The court reiterated the principle that a prisoner retains all civil rights which are not taken away expressly or by necessary implication: ‘At the forefront of those civil rights is the right of unimpeded access to the courts; and the right of access to a solicitor to obtain advice and assistance with regard to the initiation of civil proceedings is inseparable from the right of access to the courts themselves.’ and ‘As it seems to us, a requirement that an inmate should make . . . a complaint as a prerequisite of his having access to his solicitor, however desirable it may be in the interests of good administration, goes beyond the regulation of the circumstances in which such access may take place, and does indeed constitute an impediment to his right of access to the civil court.’


Robert Goff LJ


[1984] QB 778


England and Wales

Cited by:

CitedRegina (Daly) v Secretary of State for the Home Department HL 23-May-2001
A prison policy requiring prisoners not to be present when their property was searched and their mail was examined was unlawful. The policy had been introduced after failures in search procedures where officers had been intimidated by the presence . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.


Updated: 16 May 2022; Ref: scu.190127