Roberts 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 the prisoner was not to know of the evidence. The prisoner appealed.
Held: The appeal failed. The Board had an inherent power to control its own procedures. The Act was silent as to its procedures. It had a duty to hear the evidence and to protect a witness. The Board counted as a court for the purposes of Human Rights Law, and needed to be and to be seen to be free of influence from the Secretary of State in relation to the performance of its judicial functions. The appointment of a special counsel operated as the best protection available in the circumstances to the prisoner. Fairness had to be judged on the facts of each case. In this case it had been as fair as it could be made.


Lord Justice Tuckey, Lord Justice Clarke, Mr Justice Jackson


[2004] EWCA Civ 1031, Times 06-Sep-2004, [2005] QB 410, [2008] 1 WLR 1950




Criminal Justice Act 1991 32


England and Wales


Appeal fromRoberts v Parole Board Admn 19-Dec-2003
The prisoner had been convicted in 1996 of the murder of three police officers. His tariff had been fixed at 30 years. Material was to be placed before the parole board which was not to be disclosed to the appellant or his legal advisers. Instead it . .
CitedStafford v The United Kingdom ECHR 28-May-2002
Grand Chamber – The appellant claimed damages for being held in prison beyond the term of his sentence. Having been released on licence from a life sentence for murder, he was re-sentenced for a cheque fraud. He was not released after the end of the . .
CitedHussain 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 . .
CitedWest, Regina (on the Application of) v Parole Board CA 13-Nov-2002
The prisoner had been released on licence, but then recalled and re-arrested it being alleged that he was in breach of his conditions. His solicitors sought to represent him at the hearing of the parole board which considered whether to recommend . .
CitedRegina on the Application of Brooks v The Parole Board CA 10-Feb-2004
The court had to decide the extent to which the Parole Board could rely on hearsay evidence in a case in which a discretionary life prisoner’s licence had been revoked. The evidence was crucial to the issue of risk.
Held: (majority) The . .
CitedRegina v Parole Board, ex Parte Watson CA 11-Mar-1996
The test as to whether there was still a need to protect the public safety from the defendant was just as appropriate when considering the revocation of a licence, as it was when the need for continued detention was being reviewed before the grant . .
CitedTaylor v Lawrence CA 4-Feb-2002
A party sought to re-open a judgment on the Court of Appeal after it had been perfected. A case had been tried before a judge. One party had asked for a different judge to be appointed, after the judge disclosed that he had been a client of the firm . .
CitedThe Secretary Of State For The Home Department v Shafiq Ur Rehman CA 23-May-2000
An intention to promote terrorist activity was sufficient to found an order for deportation even though the terrorism may not be directed at any person or property in the UK. Such activity is capable of constituting a threat to national security. . .
CitedSecretary of State for the Home Department v Rehman HL 11-Oct-2001
The applicant, a Pakistani national had entered the UK to act as a Muslim priest. The Home Secretary was satisfied that he was associated with a Muslim terrorist organisation, and refused indefinite leave to remain. The Home Secretary provided both . .
CitedRegina v Shayler HL 21-Mar-2002
The defendant had been a member of the security services. On becoming employed, and upon leaving, he had agreed to keep secret those matters disclosed to him. He had broken those agreements and was being prosecuted. He sought a decision that the . .
CitedRegina v H; Regina v C HL 5-Feb-2004
Use of Special Counsel as Last Resort Only
The accused faced charges of conspiring to supply Class A drugs. The prosecution had sought public interest immunity certificates. Special counsel had been appointed by the court to represent the defendants’ interests at the applications.
CitedStott (Procurator Fiscal, Dunfermline) and Another v Brown PC 5-Dec-2000
The system under which the registered keeper of a vehicle was obliged to identify herself as the driver, and such admission was to be used subsequently as evidence against her on a charge of driving with excess alcohol, was not a breach of her right . .
CitedTinnelly and Sons Ltd and Others and McElduff and Others v United Kingdom ECHR 10-Jul-1998
Legislation which disallowed claimants who asserted that they had been discriminated against, on the grounds of their religious background, from appealing through the courts system, was a clear breach of their human rights. A limitation will not be . .

Cited by:

Appeal fromRoberts 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: . .
CitedMcGetrick, Regina (on The Application of) v Parole Board and Another CA 14-Mar-2013
The claimant prisoner appealed against refusal of review of the use of allegations and evidence of offences not tried against him when deciding as to his release on licence. The material would suggest that he might pose a continuing risk to . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.


Updated: 11 June 2022; Ref: scu.199623