Whole life tariffs: Court of Appeal differs from, but does not defy, Strasbourg

Posted: February 18, 2014 by rainbowwarriorlizzie in Uncategorized

Public Law for Everyone

The Court of Appeal has just given judgment in Attorney-General’s Reference No 69 of 2013 [2014] EWCA Crim 188. It has held that the whole-life-tariff regime laid down in UK primary legislation is compatible with Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights. In doing so, the Court of Appeal differs from the view set out in Vinter v UK by the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights. The difference between the two courts turns upon their understandings of s 30 of the Crime (Sentences) Act 1997, which authorises the Secretary of State to release life prisoners, including those serving whole-life tariffs, in “exceptional circumstances”. Here are the key paragraphs from the Court of Appeal’s judgment:

28.  The Grand Chamber therefore concluded that s.30 did not, because of the lack of certainty, provide an appropriate and adequate avenue of redress in the event…

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