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High Court rules that failure to provide reasons for release of patient is unlawful

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The High Court ruled that the failure to provide a victim’s family with reasons for a decision to release a patient was unlawful.

The Claimant’s son was killed by a man who suffered from paranoid schizophrenia. He was convicted of manslaughter and given a hospital order. Four years later he was released by the First Tier Tribunal, but, despite requests, the Tribunal refused to give the Claimant or her family any reason or explanation for the decision. That follows the practice of the Tribunal which does not provide reasons to victims and almost never provides any public explanation for its decisions.

In an important affirmation of open justice principles and an important decision for victims’ rights, Mrs Justice Stacy held that the failure to provide any reason to the Claimant for the release decision was unlawful. Mrs Justice Stacey held that the failure to provide any reason to the Claimant for the release decision was unlawful. Mrs Justice Stacey also found the difference in treatment with victims before the Parole Board, who are entitled to reasons for release decision, was a breach of non-discrimination provisions in the European Convention on Human Rights.

Dan Squires KC, instructed by Saunders Law, represented the Claimant.

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