This was a judicial review application by which the Claimant sought to challenge the early release regime introduced by the Terrorist Offenders (Restriction of Early Release) Act 2020. The Claimant challenged the decision of the Secretary of State for Justice to enforce the legislation in his case, but in substance the challenge was to the legislation itself. The Claimant sought a declaration that s.247A of the Criminal Justice Act 2003, which was inserted by the 2020 Act, is incompatible with Articles 5, 7 and 14 of the Convention.
The Court dismissed the application. It held that there was no “other status” on which Article 14 could be based. With regards to Article 7, the Court found that the changes wrought by the 2020 Act were changes in the arrangements for early release; they were not changes to the sentence imposed by the sentencing judge. In the absence of a fundamental change of the sort described in Del Rio Prada, a redefinition of the penalty itself; an amendment by the legislature to the arrangements for early release raise no issue under Article 7. The challenge under Article 5 was also rejected.
Hugh Southey QC was involved in this case.