Weeks v The United Kingdom: ECHR 5 Oct 1988

The Court was asked as to the recall to prison of a prisoner who had been released on licence. His recall and subsequent detention were considered by the Board, but under the system then in place it could only make a non-binding recommendation. Recommendations for release had not been acted upon. When the applicant was subsequently released, some years after his release had first been recommended, he repeatedly reoffended, and his licence was again revoked.
Held: Compliance with article 5(1)(a) requires more than that the detention is in compliance with domestic law.
‘The ‘lawfulness’ required by the Convention presupposes not only conformity with domestic law but also . . conformity with the purposes of the deprivation of liberty permitted by sub-paragraph (a) of article 5(1). Furthermore, the word ‘after’ in sub-paragraph (a) does not simply mean that the detention must follow the ‘conviction’ in point of time: in addition, the ‘detention’ must result from, ‘follow and depend upon’ or occur ‘by virtue of’ the ‘conviction’. In short, there must be a sufficient causal connection between the conviction and the deprivation of liberty at issue.’
In the case of a discretionary life sentence imposed for the purpose of public protection: ‘The causal link required by sub-paragraph (a) might eventually be broken if a position were reached in which a decision not to release or to re-detain was based on grounds that were inconsistent with the objectives of the sentencing court. ‘In those circumstances, a detention that was lawful at the outset would be transformed into a deprivation of liberty that was arbitrary and, hence, incompatible with article 5.”

(1988) 10 EHRR 293, [1988] ECHR 18, 9787/82
Worldlii, Bailii
European Convention on Human Rights 5(1)(a)
Human Rights
Reserved fromWeeks v The United Kingdom ECHR 2-Mar-1987
The applicant, aged 17, was convicted of armed robbery and sentenced to life imprisonment in the interests of public safety, being considered by the trial judge on appeal to be dangerous.
Held: ‘The court agrees with the Commission and the . .

Cited by:
CitedWaite v The United Kingdom ECHR 10-Dec-2002
The claimant had been sentenced to be detained at Her Majesty’s pleasure when a youth. After release on licence, the Parole Board met and revoked that licence without an oral hearing, and in contravention of the rules. He did not dispute the facts . .
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 . .
CitedMartin Corey, Re for Judicial Review SC 4-Dec-2013
The appellant challenged his recall to prison from licence. He had been convicted in 1973 of the murder of two police officers. He had remained at liberty for 18 years, befire his licence was revoked on the basis of confidential iintelligence . .
CitedHaney and Others, Regina (on The Application of) v The Secretary of State for Justice SC 10-Dec-2014
The four claimants, each serving indeterminate prison sentences, said that as they approached the times when thy might apply for parol, they had been given insufficient support and training to meet the requirements for release. The courts below had . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Human Rights, Criminal Sentencing, Prisons

Leading Case

Updated: 09 November 2021; Ref: scu.165030