Following the changes made in 2022 to the test for open conditions, the Secretary of State has not only rejected the majority of Parole Board recommendations for open conditions, but has also refused to refer many cases to the Parole Board for a pre-tariff expiry review.
Catherine was instructed in one such case in which a decision had been made to deny her client a pre-tariff expiry hearing. Catherine appealed against this decision on her client's behalf. After considering Catherine's submissions, the Secretary of State accepted her arguments that there was a realistic prospect of the Parole Board making a recommendation for open and he agreed to overturn the original decision and to refer her client's case to the Parole Board.
The change in the test for open conditions has caused huge disruption for people serving indeterminate sentences. In these unsettled times, it is even more important to challenge injustices and it is gratifying to see that fair outcomes are still possible.