Silver v United Kingdom: ECHR 1980

(Commission) Complaint was made as to the censorship of prisoners’ correspondence. The censorship of prisoners’ correspondence was ancillary to prison rules restricting the contents of correspondence. The Commission, therefore, and the Court had to consider what restraints upon the content of correspondence were permissible.
Held: Communications making representations about the prisoner’s trial, conviction or sentence whether to the Home Secretary or others should in principle not be prevented. Although there was a statutory right to have recourse to the Home Secretary and it was he who had the statutory power and responsibility to refer cases back to the Court of Appeal, it was not justifiable to confine such communications to him. As regards letters attempting to stimulate public agitation or petition, the Commission again recognised the needs of good order and discipline and the fact that public agitation rather than recourse to legal remedies might undermine the rule of law, but it also accepted as conceivable that: ‘to avoid or expose injustice, matters relating, for example, to a prisoner’s trial, conviction or sentence, or to prison conditions, in general or in a particular case should be brought to the public’s attention if necessary by way of petition-raising.’ A blanket prohibition upon such communications was an over broad restriction. The Commission considered that the applicant’s ‘attempts to clear his name were a legitimate and reasonable exercise of his rights, which had not been shown to have posed any threat to prison good order.’
(1980) 3 EHRR 475
European Convention on Human Rights
Human Rights
Cited by:
CitedRegina v Secretary of State for The Home Department Ex Parte Simms HL 8-Jul-1999
Ban on Prisoners talking to Journalists unlawful
The two prisoners, serving life sentences for murder, had had their appeals rejected. They continued to protest innocence, and sought to bring their campaigns to public attention through the press, having oral interviews with journalists without . .
Times 09-Jul-99, Gazette 28-Jul-99, [1999] UKHL 33, [2000] 2 AC 115, [1999] 3 All ER 400, [1999] 3 WLR 328, [1999] EMLR 689, (1999) 7 BHRC 411, (1999) 2 CHRLD 359
CitedRegina v Ashworth Hospital Authority (Now Mersey Care National Health Service Trust) ex parte Munjaz HL 13-Oct-2005
The claimant was detained in a secure Mental Hospital. He complained at the seclusions policy applied by the hospital, saying that it departed from the Guidance issued for such policies by the Secretary of State under the Act.
Held: The House . .
Times 18-Oct-05, [2005] UKHL 58, [2005] 2 WLR 695, [2006] 2 AC 148, [2006] Lloyds Rep Med 1, [2006] 4 All ER 736, [2005] MHLR 276, [2005] HRLR 42, (2005) 86 BMLR 84
CitedLaporte, Regina (on the application of ) v Chief Constable of Gloucestershire HL 13-Dec-2006
The claimants had been in coaches being driven to take part in a demonstration at an air base. The defendant police officers stopped the coaches en route, and, without allowing any number of the claimants to get off, returned the coaches to London. . .
[2006] UKHL 55, Times 14-Dec-06, [2007] 2 WLR 46, [2007] 2 All ER 529, [2007] 2 AC 105, (2006) 22 BHRC 38
CitedMosley v News Group Newspapers Ltd QBD 24-Jul-2008
The defendant published a film showing the claimant involved in sex acts with prostitutes. It characterised them as ‘Nazi’ style. He was the son of a fascist leader, and a chairman of an international sporting body. He denied any nazi element, and . .
[2008] EWHC 1777 (QB), [2008] EMLR 20
At CommissionSilver And Others v The United Kingdom ECHR 25-Mar-1983
There had been interference with prisoners’ letters by prison authorities. The Commission considered Standing Orders and Circular Instructions in relation to restrictions on correspondence. The rules were not available to prisoners and were . .
6205/73, [1983] 5 EHRR 347, [1983] ECHR 5, 7052/75, 5947/72

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 16 December 2020; Ref: scu.230249