Changes to be made following systemic challenge to the adequacy of reasons given to segregated prisoners


The Secretary of State for Justice (SSJ) has agreed to make procedural changes with regard to the reasons given to prisoners who are segregated and the monitoring of the reasons that are given. This follows a systemic challenge in R (Elsemait) v SSJ. Alongside a challenge to his own segregation, the claimant contended that the SSJ’s system for ensuring that adequate reasons are given to prisoners who are segregated in circumstances in which the reasons are not obvious at the time gives rise to an unacceptable risk of procedural unfairness.

Following the Supreme Court’s judgment in R (Bourgass) v SSJ [2015] UKSC 54, changes were made to the Prison Service Order 1700 which lays down basic principles of procedural fairness in this context. The claimant argued that these principles are not being implemented. The SSJ conceded the claim in respect of Mr Elsemait’s segregation and, upon the systematic challenge being withdrawn, he has agreed to include in guidance an explanation that (i) all staff involved in the operation of the segregation system must be given training on the legal requirements for the giving of adequate reasons, and (ii) local Segregation Monitoring and Review Boards are to monitor the adequacy of the reasons given by segregation review boards. The SSJ will also amend the segregation form to make it clear that prisoners have the right to be given meaningful reasons for their segregation.

Dan Squires and Aidan Wills, instructed by Tuckers, represented the claimant.