Shahid v Scottish Ministers (Scotland): SC 14 Oct 2015

The appellant convicted of a racially-aggravated vicious murder. Since conviction he had spent almost five years in segregation from other prisoners. The appellant now alleged that some very substantial periods of segregation had been in breach of the prison rules and of his Human Rights. Time limits for authorisation had not been complied with.
Held: The appeal was allowed, and a declaror granted as to unlwful periods of segregation, and breaches of the appellants Article 8 rights.
The courts below had adopted a purposive interpretation of the rules, but ‘No amount of purposive interpretation can however entitle the court to disregard the plain and unambiguous terms of the legislation. The consequence of the failure to obtain authority for continued segregation prior to the expiry of the 72 hour period is ineluctably spelled out by the legislation itself: the prisoner ‘shall not be subject to . . removal for a period in excess of 72 hours from the time of the order’. It might be possible for more than one order to be made, Though the plain words of the Rules might be overridden by a pressing need to protect the prisoner’s human rights, the respndent had not sought to make that point.
As to the alleged breach of Article 3: ‘Considering the facts of this case against the criteria applied in the case law of the European Court, the treatment of the appellant did not attain the minimum level of severity required for a violation of article 3. It is important to bear in mind that the isolation which he experienced was partial and relative. The fact that his segregation was imposed in the interests of his own safety is also relevant. There is no doubt that the duration of his segregation was undesirable, and indeed exceptional by the standards of prisons in the United Kingdom. There are also respects in which his conditions might have been improved, in particular by making greater provision for the pursuit of purposeful activities.’
As to Article 8: ‘no meaningful plan was devised until a very late stage. It is for the Ministers to establish that the appellant’s segregation for 56 months was proportionate. In my judgment, in the absence of any evidence that serious steps were taken by the SPS management to address the issues arising from his segregation until four and a half years after it had begun, they have failed to do so.’

Lord Neuberger, President, Lady Hale, Deputy President, Lord Sumption, Lord Reed, Lord Hodge
[2015] UKSC 58, [2015] WLR(D) 409, [2015] 3 WLR 1003, 2015 SLT 707, [2016] AC 429, UKSC 2014/0273
Bailii, Bailii Summary, WLRD, SC, SC Summary
European Convention on Human Rights 3 8, Prisons and Young Offenders Institutions (Scotland) Rules 1994, Prison and Young Offenders Institutions (Scotland) Rules 2011
Appeal fromShahid v The Scottish Ministers SCS 31-Jan-2014
The appellant was serving a long term of imprsonment, and now complained that he had been held in segregation for over 4 years, saying that this was ahgainst the Prison Rules and against his human rights.
Held: The Extra Division refused the . .
At Outer HouseShahid v Scottish Ministers SCS 18-Nov-2011
(Outer House Court of Session) The petitioner complaine dthat whilst serving a very long term of imprisonment, he had been held in segregation for almost five years, and that this contravened the Prison Rules and his human rights.
Held: The . .
CitedSomerville v Scottish Ministers HL 24-Oct-2007
The claimants complained of their segregation while in prison. Several preliminary questions were to be decided: whether damages might be payable for breach of a Convention Right; wheher the act of a prison governor was the act of the executive; . .
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 . .
CitedInland Revenue v Hinchy HL 18-Feb-1960
HL Income Tax – Incorrect return – Amount of penalty – Income Tax Act, 1952 (15 and 16 Geo. VI and 1 Eliz. II, c. 10), Section 25 (3).
A court’s search for parliamentary intention is not an enquiry as to . .
CitedFederal Steam Navigation Co Ltd v Department of Trade and Industry HL 1974
The normal meaning of the word ‘or’ is disjunctive, although in a suitable context it can be read as equivalent to ‘and’, or as expressing a non-exclusionary alternative equivalent to ‘and/or’ . .
CitedInco Europe Ltd and Others v First Choice Distributors (A Firm) and Others HL 10-Mar-2000
Although the plain words of the Act would not allow an appeal to the Court of Appeal under the circumstances presently applying, it was clear that the parliamentary draftsman had failed to achieve what he had wanted to, that the omission was in . .
CitedRegina v Central Valuation Officer and another ex parte Edison First Power Limited HL 10-Apr-2003
Powergen sold a property to Edison. Powergen had paid rates under a separate statutory rating regime, and paid an additional thirteen million pounds under an apportionment. Edison later complained that in being rated itself, the authorities had . .
CitedRegina v Soneji and Bullen HL 21-Jul-2005
The defendants had had confiscation orders made against them. They had appealed on the basis that the orders were made more than six months after sentence. The prosecutor now appealed saying that the fact that the order were not timely did not . .
CitedSomerville v Scottish Ministers HL 24-Oct-2007
The claimants complained of their segregation while in prison. Several preliminary questions were to be decided: whether damages might be payable for breach of a Convention Right; wheher the act of a prison governor was the act of the executive; . .
CitedRegina v Deputy Governor of Parkhurst Prison, Ex parte Hague, Weldon v Home Office HL 24-Jul-1991
The prisoner challenged the decision to place him in segregation under Prison Rule 43. Under rule 43(1) the initial power to segregate was given to ‘the governor’. The case arose from the fact that the governor of one prison had purported to . .
CitedBabar Ahmad And Aswat v United Kingdom ECHR 10-Apr-2012
The applicants said that if extradited to the USA to face charges related to terrorism, they would risk facing either imprisonment by Presidential decree, or full life terms.
Held: Detention conditions and length of sentences of five alleged . .
CitedRamirez Sanchez v France ECHR 27-Jan-2005
The applicant complained that he had been held in solitary confinement for a period of nearly 8 years whilst in prison, and had not been given a remedy.
Held: There had been no breach of article 3 by the confinement, but article 13 had been . .
CitedGreenfield, Regina (on the Application of) v Secretary of State for the Home Department HL 16-Feb-2005
The appellant had been charged with and disciplined for a prison offence. He was refused legal assistance at his hearing, and it was accepted that the proceedings involved the determination of a criminal charge within the meaning of article 6 of the . .
CitedRazvyazkin v Russia ECHR 3-Jul-2012
The Court discussed proportionality in respect of the solitary confinement of a prisoner under Article 8: ‘Given that solitary confinement is a serious restriction of a prisoner’s rights which involves inherent risks to the prisoner, the level of . .
CitedFaulkner, Regina (on The Application of) v Secretary of State for Justice and Another SC 1-May-2013
The applicants had each been given a life sentence, but having served the minimum term had been due to have the continued detention reviewed to establish whether or not continued detention was necessary for the protection of the pblic. It had not . .
CitedWillcox and Hurford v The United Kingdom ECHR 8-Jan-2013
ECHR Article 3
Degrading treatment
Inhuman treatment
Continued enforcement in United Kingdom pursuant to prisoner transfer agreement of lengthy sentence imposed by Thai courts: inadmissible
Cited by:
CitedLord Advocate (Representing The Taiwanese Judicial Authorities) v Dean SC 28-Jun-2017
(Scotland) The respondent was to be extradited to Taiwan to serve the balance of a prison term. His appeal succeeded and the order quashed on the basis that his treatment in the Taiwanese prison system would infringe his human rights. The Lord . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Prisons, Human Rights

Updated: 04 January 2022; Ref: scu.553309