John was admitted as a solicitor in 2008 and has specialised in Prison Law throughout his career. He is an experienced and respected advocate, with a reputation for acting in a robust and forthright manner. John is most at home when appearing before the Parole Board and he is well known to Parole Board members throughout the country. John’s reputation has led to him acting for many high profile prisoners and he has considerable expertise in advising in case of a sensitive/complex nature. John acted and secured release for John Massey who was Britain’s longest serving prisoner. He builds excellent relationships with his clients as evidenced by the fact that he was invited by Mr Massey’s family to a surprise 70th birthday party.
John is well known amongst prison law practitioners having until recently been chair of the Association of Prison Lawyers (APL) for the last six years. He remains on the Executive Committee and acts as vice-chair. Along with our Head of Prison Law, Dean Kingham, John has delivered training events focusing on advocacy and on issues affecting prisoners in the high security estate. John has also regularly represented the APL in meetings with the Parole Board and the Ministry of Justice.
John is from the North East and is well known within HMP Frankland, HMP Full Sutton and HMP Wakefield to name but a few. However, John’s practice is not confined to the North East and he works throughout the country and is also known to undertake work in Scotland for Scottish prisoners convicted in England and Wales who have had a cross border transfer.
John has worked extensively with many of the IPP campaign groups and he has acted for numerous IPP prisoners, the majority of whom have been released.
John is also committed to working for those who maintain their innocence and he regularly secures release or progress to open conditions for such prisoners. Indeed he has persuaded the Parole Board to recommend open conditions for a number of prisoners who were Cat A and those who remain in high security conditions.
John has been instructed in cases in the High Court, the Supreme Court and European Court for Human Rights.
His broad practice includes:
- Parole and recall reviews;
- Category A reviews;
- Close Supervision Centre (CSC);
- Judicial Review; and
- All other prison law issues including; HDC, re-categorisation, licence conditions, sentence planning/calculation and adjudications.
Recent Notable Cases:
- R (Hassett and Price) v Secretary of State for Justice  1 WLR 4750 – a leading case on category A prisoner reviews.
- Hutchinson v (2015 ECtHR ) which was a case before the Grand Chamber in the European Court of Human Rights in relation to Whole Life Terms and Article 3.
- R (Richards) v Teesside Magistrates’ Court & Anor  2 WLR 1563 Court of Appeal considered the extent to which a Sexual Offences Prevention Order could include a positive obligation to wear an electronic monitoring device.