High Court Quashes Parole Board Decision


ITN represented Mark Bousfield in his successful challenge to a decision of the Parole Board of England and Wales to refuse to direct his re-release on licence.

The High Court upheld Mr Bousfield’s application for judicial review on all grounds, finding that the Parole Board had: (1) failed to properly apply the presumption in favour of Mr Bousfield’s release; (2) irrationally concluded that the Claimant had caused serious harm whilst on licence despite an absence of any such evidence; and (3) acted in a manner that was procedurally unfair by failing to hear evidence on matters upon which it made adverse findings. It is notable that Mr Bousfield’s request for reconsideration of the Parole Board’s decision had been dismissed out of hand when first referred for review under the Parole Board’s reconsideration mechanism, which meant that he had to issue High Court proceedings to achieve this result.

This is an important case on the practical application of the presumption in favour of the release of inmates serving the extended period of their sentences, as propounded in the Court of Appeal’s judgment in Sim v SSHD [2003] EWCA Civ 1845. It is another case that underlines the importance of procedural fairness in the context of Parole Board reviews.

Mr Bousfield was represented by William Kenyon and Sam Hall. Counsel were Ian Brownhill of 39 Essex Chambers and Stuart Withers of No. 5 Chambers.

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