11 March 2020
JUSTICE submitted a briefing to the Lords on the Terrorist Offenders (Restriction of Early Release) Bill ahead of the second reading of the Bill in the House of Lords on 24 February 2020.
Our briefing raises three principle areas of concern in relation to the clauses of the Bill:
- we believe that the change from automatic release to release at the Parole Board’s discretion amounts to a redefinition in the scope of the penalty imposed, and is therefore incompatible with Article 7 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR);
- the reliance on the discretion of the Parole Board risks incompatibility with the Article 5 ECHR right to liberty if the relevant prisoners have access to de-radicalisation programmes that will allow them to be considered for early release; and
- the prohibition on retrospective law is a fundamental aspect of the Rule of Law. A Bill which could threaten this principle should be scrutinised properly and is not appropriate for the emergency procedure.