Van Droogenbroeck v Belgium: ECHR 24 Jun 1982

The applicant was sentenced to two years’ imprisonment for theft. He had a previous convictions and was thought to have a persistent tendency to crime, and was placed at the government’s disposal for 10 years on that ground. This was subject to appeal, and was classified not as a security measure but as a penalty which formed an inseparable whole together with the principal penalty.
Held: ‘The most significant feature of detention ordered in connection with placing at the Government’s disposal is, as has already been pointed out, the relative indetermination of its duration. Depending on the case and the relevant administrative decisions, it may vary from nothing to ten years. No minimum duration is fixed by the law or the court; the detention may continue for a maximum period of 10 years, without the court which ordered the measure exercising the least control over it. In fact, the administration is responsible for adjusting the penalty to the circumstances of the individual.’ The sentence gave the Minister initial authority to detain for an indeterminate period varying according to the treatment required by the offender and the demands of the protection of society. This system was fundamentally different from that of the conditional release of prisoners ‘sentenced by a court to a period of imprisonment imposed by the court as being appropriate to the case’.
Wiarda P
(1982) 4 EHRR 443, [1982] ECHR 3
European Convention on Human Rights 5.4
Cited by:
Reserved fromVan Droogenbroeck v Belgium ECHR 25-Apr-1983
Hudoc Judgment (Just satisfaction) Non-pecuniary damage – financial award; Pecuniary damage – claim rejected; Costs and expenses – claim rejected
For an imprisonment to be lawful, the ‘detention’ must result . .
CitedThynne, Wilson and Gunnell v The United Kingdom ECHR 25-Oct-1990
The applicants, discretionary life prisoners, complained of a violation on the ground that they were not able to have the continued lawfulness of their detention decided by a court at reasonable intervals throughout their imprisonment.
Held: A . .
CitedGiles, Regina (on the Application of) v Parole Board and Another HL 31-Jul-2003
The defendant had been sentenced for offences of violence, but an additional period was imposed to protect the public. He had been refused leave for reconsideration of that part of his sentence after he completed the normal segment of his sentence. . .
CitedRegina (on the Application of Cawser) v Secretary of State for the Home Department CA 5-Nov-2003
The claimant was serving a prison sentence for serious sexual offences. He would not be released until he had completed a sex offenders programme, but one was not made available, delaying his release.
Held: ‘The Secretary of State is not under . .
CitedRegina v Parole Board ex parte Smith, Regina v Parole Board ex parte West (Conjoined Appeals) HL 27-Jan-2005
Each defendant challenged the way he had been treated on revocation of his parole licence, saying he should have been given the opportunity to make oral representations.
Held: The prisoners’ appeals were allowed.
Lord Bingham stated: . .
CitedBlack, Regina (on the Application of) v Secretary of State for Justice HL 21-Jan-2009
The appellant complained that the system for considering the release of a life prisoner did not comply with the Convention when the decision was made by the Secretary of State and not by the Parole Board, or the court. The Board had recommended his . .
CitedWhiston, Regina (on The Application of) v Secretary of State for Justice CA 25-Oct-2012
The claimant was a prisoner released on a home detention licence, but his licence had been revoked. He now said that the way it had been revoked, without the respondent’s decision being subject to confirmation by the Parole Board, nor to other . .
CitedWhiston, Regina (on The Application of) SC 2-Jul-2014
The claimant, having been released from prison on licence, objected to the procedure whereby his licence was revoked with no means for him to challenge that decision.
Held: The appeal was dismissed. Article 5(4) did not apply to the particular . .

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 06 January 2021; Ref: scu.164909