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Swain & Co. Success: Prisoners Housing Rights

Swain & Co. we are pleased to be able to offer our clients a range of services and often can use the combined expertise of departments to promote the rights of our clients.

This was exactly what happened in our recent success for a client. The combined efforts of our Prison Law team and our Housing Law team have secured a High Court order on behalf of our prison law client which will see her released immediately.

Helen Thompson, Prison Law supervisor and partner in the firm, and Kelly Evans our Housing Law supervisor and solicitor worked together and used their expert knowledge in their different areas of work to achieve a fantastic result for our client.

Our client was due for release in June of this year when her sentence expired, but she had been eligible for release since March as recommended by the probation team and parole board. However, the client’s release could not take place until suitable accommodation was found upon her release from prison.

The local authority, responsible for the clients accommodation needs would not make provision for her until she had a release date.

So this caused a ‘catch 22’ situation: she could not be given a release date until she had accommodation lined up, yet the local authority would not sort accommodation until she had a release date.

Under the Housing Act 1996, the Local Authority has a duty to provide temporary accommodation to an applicant if they have reason to believe that they may be homeless. This is the argument that our team made relying on past cases where courts found that a prison cell is not considered to be accommodation, therefore our client was homeless and the Local Authority had a duty to her.

After writing to them they accepted they had a duty to our client, but sought to suggest that this duty arose upon her release. Swain & Co. made an application to the High Court for a judicial review to force the Local Authority to comply with their duty and give this case urgent consideration.

The High Court granted permission and has now ordered the Local Authority to secure suitable accommodation with a date for when it will be available.

The parole board have now heard our client’s case and with accommodation secured she has been directed to have immediate release.  She would have had to stay in prison for much longer if Swain & Co.had not fought for her rights, and she would have been homeless on release from prison without anywhere to go.

The ethos of Swain & Co. is promoting and enhancing the rights of our clients. We are experienced in handling prison law cases that include other matters such as housing, healthcare and mental health issues, using the combined knowledge of our dedicated teams across the firm to provide unrivalled expertise for our clients.

If you have a friend or loved one that is in prison, Swain & Co. could help with representation for a variety of issues such as:

  • Appeals
  • Parole
  • Recall
  • Re-categorisation
  • Governor Adjudications
  • Independent Adjudications
  • Assaults
  • Healthcare issues
  • Mental health issues
  • Resettlement issues
  • Sentence calculation
  • Sentence progression
  • Transfer
  • Lifer issues
  • Licence issues
  • Segregation
  • Judicial review
  • Personal injury
  • Medical negligence
  • SOPOs
  • Home Detention Curfews

Call us for free on 0800 0351 999


Related Articles:
Reoffending rates reach all time high
European Court find in favour of prisoner votes
Damning report of Liverpool Prison


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