Friday 16 March 2012

prison rules are regulatory in nature,does not give prisoners cause of action

Tort; false imprisonment -- R v Deputy Governor of Parkhurst Prison and others ex p Hague; Weldon v Home Office

Wednesday 18 September 1991

The prisoner in the first appeal was segregated by an order of the deputy governor of the prison and was transferred to another prison for continued segregation.
The deputy governor had obtained authorisation from the Secretary of State of the Home Department of his decision.
The prisoner applied for judicial review of that decision.
The Queen's Bench Divisional Court dismissed that motion.
The Court of Appeal allowed his appeal in part.
The prisoner in the second appeal brought an action in the county court against the Home Office for damages for false imprisonment by certain prison officers.
He alleged that those officers wrongly removed him from his cell, assaulted and kept him in a strip cell overnight.
The Home Office's motion to strike out certain paragraphs in the statement of claim was dismissed by the registrar.
The assistant recorder and the Court of Appeal dismissed the Home Office's appeal.
The prisoner in the first appeal and the Home Office appealed.
Stephen Sedley QC and Timothy Owen (instructed by BM Birnberg & Co) for the prisoner in the first appeal; John Laws, David Pannick and Robert Jay (instructed by Treasury solicitor) for the respondents in the first appeal and the Home Office in the second; David Harris QC and Timonth Owen (instructed by RM Broudie & Co) for the prisoner in the second appeal.
Lord Jauncey of Tullichettle said that it had always to be considered whether the enactment in question intended to confer private law rights of action on individuals in respect of breaches of the enactment.
The Prison Act 1952 was designed to deal with the administration of prisons and the management and control of prisoners.
The provisions of the Act contained nothing which showed that Parliament intended to confer on prisoners a cause of action sounding in damages for breaches of its provisions.
Furthermore, the Prison Rules 1964 were wide-ranging in their scope.
They covered matters of administration and good government of a prison.
Many of the rules did not relate to prisoners.
Those which did were never intended to confer private law rights in case of breaches.
There were no circumstances in which a convicted prisoner could sue the prison authorities for damages for false imprisonment.
Here, it was submitted in each case that it was the treatment in the prison and the alteration in the conditions which constituted false imprisonment.
But while a prisoner, lawfully committed to a prison, was in that prison his whole life was regualted by the prison regime.
He had no residual liberty which could be breached so as to constitute false imprisonment.
It could not be said that detention became unlawful when its conditions became intolerable because that confused conditions of confinement with the nature of confinement and added a qualification to s 12(1) which was not permissible.
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