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Probation

Circular

ORAL HEARINGS – FURTHER REFERENCE NO:


GUIDANCE 76/2005

PURPOSE ISSUE DATE:


To provide further guidance for probation managers on handling the 6 October 2005
increased numbers of oral hearings arising from the House of Lords’
judgments in the cases of Smith and West, particularly in light of the IMPLEMENTATION DATE:
implementation of the Criminal Justice Act 2003; and to reiterate the Immediate
importance of probation officers’ involvement in the process.
EXPIRY DATE:
ACTION September 2010 or until replaced
Probation Boards are asked to ensure that the arrangements set out in this
Circular are put in place by Chief Officers to enable staff to participate fully, TO:
efficiently and effectively in these processes.
Chairs of Probation Boards
Chief Officers of Probation
SUMMARY
Secretaries of Probation Boards
• Guidance in the light of the significant increase in the number of oral
hearings as a result of the House of Lords’ judgments.
• Updates existing guidance within PC 45B/2004 on oral hearings in the CC:
light of the new release and recall provisions under the Criminal Justice Board Treasurers
Act 2003 Regional Managers
• Provides information on the role of the Probation Service as a key
witness and the importance of their attendance at oral hearings. AUTHORISED BY:
• Information on the possibilities of giving evidence to the oral hearing by John Scott, Head of Public
video-link. Protection Unit
• Effective breach notification reports with full risk assessments and risk
management plans may minimise the need for oral hearings under the ATTACHED:
Criminal Justice Act 2003 recall provisions. Annex A: Dealing with difficult
questions as per PC45B/2004
RELEVANT PREVIOUS PROBATION CIRCULARS Annex B: Frequently asked
PC45B/2004 and PC16/2005 questions
Annex C: Parole Board Rules
CONTACT FOR ENQUIRIES 2004
National Probation Directorate Policy: (part of Word file)
Jo Thompson 020 7217 8823 jo.thompson8@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk
Akile Osman 020 7217 8058 akile.osman@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk
Head of recall casework: Jim Watts Croydon office 020-8774 0263
London office 020-7217-5316
Recall policy: Kerry Adams 020 7217 5848
Oral hearings policy and casework: Nuzhat Ravzi 020 7217 5067 or Alison
Sellers 020 7217 5564
Lifer post release & recall casework: Steve Watson 020 7217 5699

National Probation Directorate


Horseferry House, Dean Ryle Street, London, SW1P 2AW
Background
Further to Probation Circular 45B/2004, which set out the requirements and expectations on
probation staff in respect of the Parole Board’s oral hearings of offenders’ representations
against recall, this circular sets out further guidance in light of the House of Lords’ Judgments
in the cases of Smith and West on 27 January 2005.

Liz Hill’s letter to Chief Officers dated 1 February 2005 set out the findings of the Court of
Appeal in that case:

“in cases where there is a dispute around an issue of fact concerning the reasons for
recall or where the prisoner seeks to explain his/her actions and this was not taken
into account when recall was actioned or where the reasons for recall need further
investigation, it is unfair to deny the prisoner the opportunity to make representations
orally. This means that the Parole Board will need to offer an oral hearing in the vast
majority of cases where it rejects a prisoner’s representations against recall…

Probation Circular 45B/2004 made it clear that Probation Officers must attend oral
hearings when invited to do so. It is expected that oral hearings of offenders’
representations against recall will become more frequent as a consequence of this
judgement. Work has commenced to develop further guidance and address likely
resource implications for the Parole Board, Probation Service, Early Release and
Recall Section and other affected Home Office bodies.”

This circular sets out the further guidance promised in that letter, which has been agreed with
the Parole Board and the (recently renamed) Release and Recall Section (RRS). Probation
Boards are asked to ensure that provision is in place to enable probation staff to fulfil their
obligations in respect of oral hearings.

Although the House of Lords’ judgments have increased the potential number of oral hearings
at the same time, effective implementation of the new recall provisions which came into effect
on 4 April 2005 can decrease the number of oral hearings needed. The timetables and
reports required for the different type of prisoner oral hearings will be explained below.

1. Extended Sentence and Life Sentence Prisoners Representations against recall


a) Process
Offenders who have been recalled whilst serving an extended sentence or on life licence are
entitled to have their representations against recall considered at a Parole Board oral hearing
where he or she is present and entitled to be legally represented. Upon their return to
custody, either the Release and Recall Section (RRS) or Lifer Release and Recall Section
(LRRS) issue notification to the offender of the confirmation of the reasons for recall and
associated papers. S/he has an opportunity to make representations against the revocation
and advises the relevant Section of their intent to appeal through representations and an oral
hearing to consider his/her representations.

Irrespective of whether the prisoner wishes to make representations against recall, the Parole
Board conducts a review of all recall decisions executively undertaken by RRS or LRRS on
the basis of papers. In cases where the prisoner opts for an oral hearing, staff from the RRS’
Oral Hearings and Review Team (Extended Sentence cases) or LRRS’ Post Release Team
(Lifer cases) will contact the supervising officer to provide details of the hearing and discuss
reports to be presented to the Board. In the case of an Extended Sentenced prisoner the
Parole Board has a target to consider the offender’s representations against recall at a paper
hearing within 20 working days of notification of his/her return to custody and via an oral
hearing within 11 weeks from the decision on papers. However, when an offender is close to
their earliest release date the hearing will be listed in line with a sliding timescale. For Life
Sentenced prisoners the Parole Board aims to list the offender’s case at an oral hearing
within 11 weeks of the Lifer Section’s referral of the case to the Board. The oral hearings take
place at the prison in which the offender is held following recall. In every case, the
supervising officer at the time of recall will be called as a witness and will be questioned by
the Secretary of State’s representative, the prisoner’s legal representative and a 3-member
panel of the Parole Board.

b) Reports
Having exercised their right to make representations against recall and opted for an oral
hearing, written notification will be issued by RRS or LRRS requesting a written report in
advance of the hearing. In considering the validity of recall and whether or not the recalled
offender should be re-released, the Board will need to have a detailed up-to-date report from
the supervising area covering:
™ an account of the circumstances leading up to recall;
™ subsequent developments;
™ a view of the current level of perceived risk (including the offender’s history of
offending, an account of the index offence, formal static risk assessments if any, and
any views on dynamic risk factors, any interventions made whilst on licence or pre
release);
™ a detailed release plan (regardless of whether the probation view is not in favour of
release) and comments relating to Victim’s Charter issues;
™ the proposed extent of supervision if re-release is considered; and
™ any extra conditions that should be imposed should re-release be directed.

For Extended Sentence Prisoner cases, if the notification of breach and request for recall
report contains the above information and a detailed Risk Management Plan, replication of
this information should not be unnecessary. In these instances, an update report may be
required.

The Parole Board may also consider reports prepared by the seconded probation officer and,
where appropriate, conduct reports from the holding prison. The seconded probation officer’s
report should include an account of:
™ formal static risk assessments if any, and any views about dynamic risk factors;
™ details of the offender’s behaviour whilst in custody, and if relevant how this relates to
his offending pattern or otherwise throws light on his risk or the feasibility of managing
it in the community;
™ any interventions made since his/her return to custody (if applicable enclose a copy of
post programme reports);
™ whether the offender’s risk can be reasonably managed in the community, and under
what circumstances; and
™ whether the offender has had any involvement with Psychologists or Psychiatrist
during his sentence.

c) Tests applied by the Parole Board


Release must be directed unless the Board is satisfied that it is necessary for the protection of
the public that the prisoner should be re-detained. In other words, the presumption is that
the prisoner will be released unless the evidence demonstrates to the Board’s
satisfaction that the risk of offending is unacceptable. This approach has been approved
by the courts in respect of extended sentences, but not specifically for lifers.

The test for the re-release of recalled life licensees remains the same as for the original
release decision, in that the Parole Board must satisfy itself that it is no longer necessary for
the protection of the public that the prisoner should be confined, and that in doing so, it must
consider whether the lifer’s level of risk to the life and limb of others is more than minimal.

2. Smith & West cases


a) Process
The House of Lords’ rulings in the Smith and West cases related to allowing the prisoner
natural justice by providing the opportunity for him/her to contest the recall and explain the
reasons for his failure to comply. For other types of recalled determinate prisoners who have
made representations against recall and the Parole Board declines to release following a
review conducted on the papers, the Board are obliged to offer an oral hearing in any case
where:
™ there is a dispute around an issue of fact concerning the reasons for recall;
™ the prisoner seeks to explain his/her actions and this was not taken into account
when recall was actioned; or
™ the reasons for recall need further investigation.

An oral hearing may, therefore, be appropriate in the vast majority of cases which meet these
criteria. In such instances, having been notified of the Parole Board’s provisional decision to
decline release, within 14 days of receipt of that decision, the offender will advise in writing of
their intention for an oral hearing. Whilst the case is being listed by the Parole Board, the RRS
will commission reports of any additional information requested by the Board and notify of
witness requirements. The listing of the hearing is largely dependent on the earliest possible
release date with a sliding scale as follows. If there is:
™ less than a month left until the LED, the hearing will be listed within 7 days of the
offender requesting an oral hearing;
™ between one month and two months, the hearing will be listed within 14 days;
™ between two months and four months, the hearing will be listed within 21 days;
™ between four to six months, the hearing will be listed within 35 days;
™ between six to twelve months, the hearing will be listed within 45 days; or
™ more than one year the maximum time which can elapse before listing an oral hearing
is 55 days (11 weeks).
The RRS aim to issue a paginated copy of the dossier to the Probation Service, the offender
or his/her legal representative within 3 days of the oral hearing.

The oral hearings are likely to take place at the prison in which the offender is held following
recall. The hearing will take place before a single panel member of the Parole Board, the
prisoner and, if instructed, his/her legal representative. As a consequence of the increased
number of oral hearings arising from the Smith and West judgement, in the majority of cases,
the RRS is unable to provide a representative of the Secretary of State to attend the oral
hearing and cross examine the prisoner. In these circumstances it is the responsibility of
the Parole Board Panel member to ask appropriate questions of the prisoner, not the
Probation Service.

In the majority of Smith and West cases, where there is likely to be an absence of a Secretary
of State’s representative, in advance of the oral hearing RRS will notify the Parole Board and
interested parties of the oral hearing, such as the prisoner, his/her legal representative and
the supervising officer and either submit a written view of the case or declare that they do not
have a view on the case. In establishing whether or not a member of RRS will attend the oral
hearing as the Secretary of State’s representative, they will consider the reasons for breach,
the assessment of risk, prisoner’s history and individual merits of the case, particularly if a
further offence has been committed. In practice the Secretary of State’s representative’s
attendance will only be provided in the most contentious cases or for those who present a
high risk of serious harm. Whilst acknowledging that an absence of a Secretary of State’s
representative may lead to feelings of vulnerability and a lack of support, staff in the RRS’
Oral Hearing and Review Team will, however, remain available to answer queries about the
procedures involved in oral hearings and to make arrangements for probation staff to attend.

b) Reports
The supervising officer will be notified on the day that RRS receive the notification of the
request of an oral hearing from the prisoner. The supervising officer is required to attend as
the key witness to the recall and to provide information and update on the release
arrangements as a matter of course. If a comprehensive breach notification report has
been submitted in the first instance, approved at Assistant Chief Officer level,
providing a clear recommendation on the question of release and a full risk
management plan, there should be no need to prepare an additional report. However a
report is required if there is additional information requested by the Parole Board. Such a
report needs to be submitted at least 3 days before the hearing and may need to:
™ build upon information provided in the breach notification form;
™ provide the Parole Board with a short update on the proposed risk management and
release plan;
™ outline any other factors to take into account when considering release; and
™ contain a clear recommendation on the prisoner’s suitability for re-release.

The Parole Board will also consider a report from the prison covering the prisoner’s conduct
since his/her return to custody.

c) Test applied by the Parole Board


Section 254 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 provides that, on a reference of this kind, when
considering a prisoner’s representations and whether the recall was appropriate, the Parole
Board is entitled to take into account the information available at the time the recall decision
was taken, together with any subsequent information, including representations made by or
on behalf of the offender. The Parole Board should consider whether:
(a) The prisoner’s continued liberty presents an unacceptable risk of a further offence
being committed; or
(b) The prisoner has failed to comply with one or more of his or her licence conditions;
and that failure suggests that the objectives of probation supervision have been
undermined.

The key question at the oral hearing is therefore the risk whether the offender’s level of risk of
reoffending/harm can be safely managed in the community.

3. Further reviews
For offenders recalled under the CJA 2003, in the first instance at the paper review stage, the
Parole Board can decide to direct a further review at an oral hearing (without a request from
the prisoner) if it believes that this is necessary to establish the facts of the case. This option
may also be appropriate where a short further review date enables a risk management plan to
be put in place. The nature of update reports required for further reviews are determined by
the nature of the reasons provided by the Parole Board who may decide whether any
additional information is required orally or written. The Board’s reasons are forwarded by the
RRS to the supervising officer upon receipt and the case is heard before a single member of
the Parole Board.

4. All oral hearings


a) The role of the Parole Board
Primarily the Parole Board is responsible for overseeing the oral hearing process, reviewing
an offender’s representations against recall and determining his/her release. It is bound by its
common law duties of procedural fairness and to observe natural justice and the conduct of
the oral hearing is governed by the Parole Board Rules 2004 (See Appendix C). Whether the
Probation Service must attend the hearing is, ultimately, a decision for the Parole Board. In
cases where the Board considers there is insufficient information within the written risk
management plan to enable them to make an informed decision on risk, the Probation
Service will be invited to attend the oral hearing. Although the Parole Board chair at an oral
hearing has some discretion over how the hearing is conducted, the hearing is nevertheless
subject to Parole Board Rules and the Secretary of State’s Directions to the Parole Board.

The more comprehensive the information around recall and Risk Management Plan in
the Breach Notification Report, the less likely the Parole Board will consider there a
need for a further review in order to obtain or clarify information from the Probation
Service.

b) The role of the Secretary of State’s representative


The Secretary of State’s representative is not a witness and it is their role to present the
Secretary of State’s case to the Parole Board. With the exception of oral hearings arising from
the Smith and West judgments, a presenting officer from either the RRS’ Oral Hearings and
Review Team or LRRS’ Post Release Team attends the oral hearings as the Secretary of
State’s representative.

The Secretary of State’s representative:


™ draws together the salient points from available information within the RRS’ file and
breach report/risk management plan;
™ prepares a summary for ease of reference for the Board, taking into account any
representations; and
™ provides a view as to the prisoner’s risk and release.
For all high risk cases (ESP, Lifer or Smith and West), the Secretary of State’s representative
will prepare a written submission setting out the Secretary of State’s view in the case which is
disclosed to all parties (the Parole Board, prisoner and legal representative) prior to the hearing.
The Secretary of State’s view will vary from case to case. In some cases, after the offender has
returned to custody may decide to recommend his/her release. The Secretary of State, however,
may or may not endorse such a recommendation. In other cases a Secretary of State’s view is
provided and confirms the justification of the recall for the reasons already given at the time
licence was revoked

The role of the Secretary of State’s representative is to draw information to the panel’s
attention so as to enable the Parole Board to make an informed decision. However, he or she
is encouraged (as is the prisoner’s legal representative) to ask all witnesses any questions
relating to risk.

c) The role of the Witnesses


Each party, either the offender or the Secretary of State can apply to the Parole Board for
leave to call witnesses to oral hearings. The Parole Board can also call witnesses, direct other
parties to do so or summons witnesses, including members of the Probation Service, to an
oral hearing. In addition, the offender, in line with the Parole Board Rules (16) 2004 can apply
to the Board to be accompanied by other persons for support or to observe the oral hearing.

The Probation Service is usually the principal witness. Whilst the Parole Board is entitled to
summons probation staff (or other witnesses), this should not be necessary given the role of
the National Probation Service in recalling offenders to prison and the importance of that role
in protecting the public.

The evidence required of the Probation Service will primarily relate to the circumstances
leading up to the recall and the release plan. The Parole Board also have to make a decision
about whether to re-release the offender, however, and it should be expected that the panel
will ask some questions about the risk management/release plan. In order to decide whether
the risk can be reasonably managed in the community, you should give as full an account as
possible, and do so, even if you do not think it is safe to release the offender. The Parole
Board can and does release offenders in circumstances where the supervising officer would
prefer they did not, and you should be aware that if this were what the Board decided, the
offender would normally be released within a matter of days of the hearing. In high risk cases,
it is important to bear this in mind when considering cases assessed as high/very high risk of
self harm whose release would need to be managed at MAPPA levels 2 or 3.

Crucially the Probation Service has detailed knowledge of the prisoner, the circumstances
leading up to the recall, risk assessment and risk management which needs to be drawn to
the Parole Board’s attention in order to enable them to reach an informed judgement on the
level of risk presented and appropriateness of release. Careful preparation is required and the
case file should be taken to the hearing as an aide memoire and for reference in case of it’s
help, for example, in dealing with any unexpected questions. The more detailed the report
prepared in advance for either ESP, lifer or Smith & West cases, the less questioning will be
required at the hearing itself.

d) Conduct of hearings
The oral hearing procedure is governed by the Parole Board Rules (19) 2004:

“(1) At the beginning of the hearing the chair of the panel shall explain the order of proceeding
which the panel proposes to adopt, and shall invite each party present to state their view as to
the suitability of the prisoner for release.

(2) The panel shall avoid formality in the proceedings and so far as possible shall make its
own enquiries in order to satisfy itself of the level of risk of the prisoner; it shall conduct the
hearing in such manner as it considers most suitable to the clarification of the issues before it
and generally to the just handling of the proceedings it.

(3) The parties shall be entitled to appear and be heard at the hearing and take such part in
the proceedings as the panel thinks fit; and the parties may hear each other’s evidence, put
questions to each other, call any witnesses who the Board has authorised to give evidence in
accordance with rule 15, and put questions to any witness or other person appearing before
the panel.

(4) The chair of the panel may require any person present at the hearing who is, in his
opinion, behaving in a disruptive manner to leave and may permit him to return, if at all, only
on such conditions as the chair may specify.

(5) The panel may adduce or receive in evidence any document or information
notwithstanding that such document or information would be inadmissible in a court of law,
but no person shall be compelled to give any evidence or produce any document which he
could not be compelled to give or produce on the trial of an action.

(6) The chair of the panel may require the prisoner, any witness appearing for the prisoner, or
any other person present, to leave the hearing where evidence is being examined which the
chair of the panel, in accordance with rule 8(2)(d) (subject to any successful appeal under rule
8(2)), previously directed should be withheld from the prisoner as adversely affecting national
security, the prevention of disorder or crime or the health or welfare of the prisoner or others.”

(7) After all the evidence has been given, the prisoner shall be given a further opportunity to
address the panel.

The Parole Board’s guidance to it’s panel members states that:

“The Rules say that formality should be avoided and that the panel should make its own
enquiries where possible to satisfy itself about the level of risk but that the proceedings may
be conducted in such a way as the panel considers most suitable to deal with the issues
(19(2)).
The panel will wish to take account of the need to have witnesses, particularly the prisoner, to
be at their ease. The crucial consideration is that the panel wishes to hear all the material
evidence and witnesses should feel comfortable enough to give it. The chair should not allow
a representative of either party to badger a witness. Once a question has been answered
clearly and satisfactorily, the chair should ensure that the representative moves on to the next
question”.

The panel may allow either party to submit evidence that would be inadmissible in a court of
law. The Parole Board may receive evidence which amounts to hearsay, opinion, accounts of
contemporaneous records or allegations which did not result a conviction even where there is
a dispute over facts. However, the weight the Parole Board give to such evidence will need to
be considered carefully, and there may be cases where the evidence is so fundamental to the
main issue before the Parole Board, that fairness requires the attendance of the primary
source of that evidence. Normally, second hand evidence would be the limit of acceptable
hearsay but each case is different and the Parole Board will need to balance the need to
assess the facts and risk, against the right of a prisoner to a fair hearing.

The Parole Board’s decision will not be provided on the day of hearing but issued within 7
working days of the hearing via RRS or LRRS.

e) Disclosure
Unless specified, all reports including the breach notification report will be disclosed to the
offender and his or her legal representatives. On a case by case basis, the RRS or LRRS will
consider requests for non-disclosure of information to the offender, consult with relevant
sources and seek to obtain sanitised versions where appropriate. If, however, it is considered
that non-disclosable information is critical to the Parole Board’s consideration of the case, it
may be necessary to submit this information within a supplementary report clearly marked
‘Not for Disclosure’. The offender will always be notified of the existence of non-disclosable
material. If challenged, non-disclosable information will be served on his/her legal
representatives on the basis that it will not be shared with their client. The process for sharing
information with offenders (as per PC 13/2003) is to be revised and will take into account the
outcome of the MAPPA Consultation in line with PC 39/2005. PC 16/2005 provides up-to-date
guidance on the procedures for the use of additional licence condition.

5. Giving Evidence By Video-Link


It is permissible in most instances for the Probation Service to give evidence by video-link
where those facilities are available and approved by the Parole Board. There is little short-
term prospect of increasing the capacity of the court-prison video-link network. We are
working with our colleagues in the Parole and Public Protection Policy Section to take forward
a Parole Board “oral hearing video link” project. Pilot projects will start in the East Midlands
prison area and involve HMP Leicester, HMP Lincoln, HMP Nottingham as well as HMYOI
Glen Parva and HMP Doncaster. Chief Officers are being asked to make arrangements to
maximise the use of probation video link facilities and to take part in the project. The
extension of the use of video conferencing facilities in the longer term will enable a much
more efficient use of staff time in relation to the recall provisions. Further advice on the use of
video-conferencing facilities will be issued in due course.

6. Who Should Attend?


Attending includes attending by video-link. The person most suitable to attend the hearing is
the person best placed to give a view of risk, has completed the risk assessment which
initiated the recall and/or who prepared the risk management plan. Non Probation Officer
grades should not be expected to attend the hearing alone. Their line manager or the Senior
Probation Officer should accompany the probation witness as appropriate. Senior Probation
Officers or other senior managers may wish to attend hearings in support or instead of the
supervising officer in certain cases taking into account the degree of potential
contentiousness and the level of experience of the supervising officer concerned. If it seems
likely that the facts surrounding the recall will be disputed, relevant witness statements may
be required.

A decision not to attend the oral hearing cannot be taken by an individual member of the
Probation Service alone. Such decisions require line management agreement and the
reasons for non-attendance should be reported to the Parole Board by line management. Any
basis of an inability to attend should take into account the requested witness’ availability and
the need to brief another officer if attending in their absence. In exceptional circumstances,
where no one is available to attend the oral hearing, the Parole Board must be informed and a
witness statement may be valid.

It may also be occasionally necessary for additional Probation Service colleagues, such as
managers of Approved Premises, to attend when residential staff are called as witnesses.
However if adequate written records, for example case records or approved premises’
records such as the daily log or witness statements are provided in advance of the oral
hearing, their attendance may not be required. If there are any concerns regarding the health
or safety of staff attending an oral hearing, this must then be discussed with the line manager
and the RRS’ Oral hearings team in advance of the hearing and not left until the hearing itself.
Preparations can then be made to ensure staff concerns are met.

In any event, it becomes even more important that probation managers should give staff the
opportunity to attend oral hearings for the purposes of familiarisation when they take place
locally.
Conclusion
The decision whether a member of the Probation Service will be required to attend an oral
hearing is for the Parole Board, which can summons witnesses if necessary.
Notwithstanding the role of the Parole Board, the NPS has a separate duty to ensure the
protection of the public and so should make efforts to attend whenever possible and in any
case where the offender poses a high or very high risk of serious harm. Exposure to the
processes involved in oral hearings should form part of the early experience of newly trained
probation officers. Any member of probation staff can apply to the Parole Board to observe an
oral hearing as part of the familiarisation process when they take place locally.

Crucially, the better the quality of information within the risk management plan, the less likely
it is that the Parole Board will require an oral hearing to clarify the adequacy of risk
management arrangements and the more likely it is that they will be confident in deciding
upon a prisoner’s re-release.

Given the new recall provisions and the Smith and West judgments, more staff at different
levels of responsibility and with different roles will be involved in and called to attend oral
hearings. Areas must ensure that all staff have access to training in the new provisions, the
production of the Breach Notification report and the oral hearing process. Line management
support should be made available.

Action
™ Chief Officers must put in place arrangements which ensure that, when the Probation
Service is required to provide evidence to a hearing in person, staff are ALWAYS
able to do so.

™ Chief Officers should take all necessary steps to maximise the use of video links in
giving evidence, whether in the court-prison system or in their own estate.

™ From September 2005 to February 2006, staff from NPD’s Public Protection Unit and
the RRS will be delivering training sessions to all probation regions providing greater
detail on the recall arrangements in the light of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 and the
oral hearing processes in face of the Smith and West judgments. Chief Officers
should ensure that all relevant staff have the opportunity to attend this training.

™ There is a quarterly Recall Forum attended by each probation area’s identified Recall
Liaison Officers (RLO) as well as representatives from RRS, LRRS, National
Probation Directorate, the Parole Board and the Police. Staff are encouraged to raise
any issues concerning the recall arrangements, oral hearings and working practices
via their nominated RLO for onward discussion. In addition, the RRS issue the
quarterly Recall Newsletter for dissemination via the RLOs. The Newsletter sets out
changes in policy in respect of recall, examples of best practice, provides answers to
most frequently asked questions by the Probation Service and updates progress on
outstanding judicial reviews in respect of recalled prisoners.
ANNEX A

DEALING WITH DIFFICULT QUESTIONING

The following points may help those preparing to attend an oral hearing as a witness, to deal
with questioning generally and with any difficult questioning styles that may be encountered,
particularly where the Secretary of State’s representative is not present:

1. Being well prepared will increase your confidence, take the case file and do not feel
that you cannot refer to your file or notes if you need to. The panel recognise that it
may have been at least a couple of months since the offender’s recall took place and
that you need to confirm specific details or you may be the manager responsible for
the member of staff responsible for the breach.

2. Direct your answers to the Chair of the panel. He/She will be the middle of the three
panel members or, in Smith and West cases, a single panel member. Ultimately it is
the panel that require the information you are there to provide and it will divert your
attention from any tactics of distraction that the prisoner’s legal representative may
seek to employ.

3. Do not comment on matters that you are not qualified to consider. If you are asked a
question that is beyond your realm of professional expertise, point this out and say
that you cannot answer it. You are there in your capacity as a Probation Service
witness, not a Psychiatrist or Psychologist, and the panel know this. Similarly, if you
are asked a question that you do not have the factual knowledge to answer, just say
so. You are not there to account for other professionals’ opinions.

4. Do not be intimidated by questions that are focused on the ‘fairness’ of circumstances


or that criticise how likely something is to happen quickly. The panel are concerned
with risk. They are also aware that the Probation Service operates with limited
resources and that it is not always possible to obtain everything an offender needs to
address their risk factors in what is often a very limited period of time.

5. Similarly, do not be concerned if the offender’s legal representative attempts to


restrict you to a ‘yes/no’ line of questioning. Try to expand on your answers, with
reference to risk, if possible.

6. Do not be intimidated by questions that seek to undermine your professional


credibility or criticise your report.

7. Do not worry if your answers or opinions do not coincide with any written views of the
Secretary of State’s representatives. The panel are there to consider all available
information and perspectives and to make a decision on the balance of factors that
work both for and against the offender.
ANNEX B

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

BEFORE THE HEARING

Q. When will I get notified of the hearing?

A. You will be notified of the date of the hearing once the Parole Board has set it. In
Extended Sentences cases as well as Smith & West cases, hearing dates are set depending
on the prisoner’s notional licence expiry date and can range between 14 days and 55 days
from the date the case is referred to the Parole Board. The following guide can be used to
calculate the approximate time within which a hearing will be set.

Less than one month to go on licence 7 days


Between one month and two months 14 days
Between two months and four months 21 days
Four to twelve months 45 days
Over a year 55 days

Q. Is it mandatory for me to attend?

A. It will always be mandatory for a representative from the Probation Service to attend;
preferably the officer who dealt with the breach.

Q. What reports will I have to prepare for oral hearings arising from the Smith & West
judgments?

A. You may be asked to provide information in addition to the breach notification report as
directed by the Parole Board member prior to the hearing.

Q. How can I prepare for the hearing?

A. Refresh your knowledge of the offender’s recall and risk by reading the case file. Consider
providing updates on risk and release plans in light of any changes since recall, such as the
outcome of a further charge or the prisoner’s behaviour in custody.

Q. Should I be speaking to the offender’s legal representative?

A. If you are supporting release the offender’s solicitor may wish to discuss elements of the
release plan with you. This is acceptable. However, any other requests for disclosure or
discussion of the recall should be directed to the RRS’ Oral Hearings & Further Review Team.

Q. Can I disclose information to the offender/his legal representative?

A. You should not be sending any information direct to the offender or his legal
representative. Any information to be used for the hearing should be sent to the Oral
Hearings & Further Review Team who will arrange for it to be included in the papers that are
sent to the Parole Board. These papers will also be copied to the offender’s representative.
ON THE DAY

Q. Where have I got to go?

A. Please go to the main gate of the prison named on your witness notification and allow at
least 15 minutes to pass through the prison security.

Q. What will happen at the gate?

A. You will be asked to identify yourself. A list of acceptable forms of identification is attached.
You may be searched. If the prison where the offender is held is a category B prison, with
fairly high security, professional visitors are normally subject to a rub down search and a
metal detector search. You may also be scanned by a passive drugs dog, which will walk
past a line of visitors. We recommend you leave outside the prison any items that you do not
need. Lockers will be provided for any items you are not allowed to take into the prison, such
as mobile phones.

Q. Will there be a Secretary of State’s Representative at oral hearings arising from the
Smith & West judgments?

A. There will not normally be a Secretary of State’s Representative at these hearings.


However if you wish to talk to a representative prior to the hearing to discuss any elements of
the case or the format of the hearing etc they can be contacted on 020 7217 5067 or 5546.

Q. How is the hearing conducted?

A. It is a matter for the chair of the panel how to conduct the hearing. There will usually be
one member of the Parole Board conducting the hearing. Typically, the offender’s
representative will make opening statements, and then you will be called to give evidence.
The Parole Board will ask you questions and then the prisoner’s representative will be invited
to ask you questions. Once you have finished giving your evidence you may be expected to
remain until the end of the hearing just in case the Parole Board has any final questions for
you. After you have given evidence the prisoner will be invited to give evidence and both his
legal representative and the Parole Board will question him.

Q. What am I expected to do?

A. You are there to give evidence to the Parole Board about the circumstances leading up to
the offender's recall to prison, and (where relevant) about the risk he or she now poses to
public safety and the feasibility of managing this risk in the community.

You will be asked a series of questions put by offender's representative and the Parole Board.
The purpose is not to prove or disprove what either party says, but to ensure the panel has all
the information it needs to decide whether the offender was properly recalled and whether or
not his or her risk can now safely be managed in the community.

Q. Is it like a Court case?

A. It is more of an information gathering exercise and although you are not required to affirm
or swear an oath, there are formalities that are similar to attending court. You may be
questioned by a legal representative acting on behalf of the offender, you should address the
Parole Board as Sir/Madam/Ma’am, and you should dress smartly.
Q. How long will it last?

A. Hearings usually last between 2 to 4 hours and can take longer depending on the
complexities of the case.

Q. Where will I sit/will there be a prison officer in the room?

A. The hearing will be held in a board like room within the prison and you will normally sit or
be called to sit at the table, away from the offender. There will not always be a prison officer
in the room unless requested prior to the hearing.

Q. Can I talk to the offender?

A. There should be no interaction between you and the offender during the hearing unless the
Parole Board directs dialogue for clarification. However, there is nothing to prevent you talking
to the prisoner outside of the hearing if you wish and if the opportunity arises.

Q. Do I need to bring anything with me?

A. Yes. You need to bring any documents or papers that are relevant to the case. You should
also ensure that you have with you any other items that the Parole Board or the offender's
representative may need to see such as contact logs and entries made from supervision
sessions. You will also need to bring some identification with you to ensure you are admitted
to the prison.
If you are the offender’s supervising officer (or attending on the supervising officer’s behalf)
you may wish to note the following advice:

• The probation file needs to be in good order and you need to be familiar with the
licence conditions and that they were properly explained to the prisoner. You need
to know the original release dates and dates of contacts (letters sent appropriately
and to correct address etc). You also need to be familiar with the events leading
up to breach/revocation action and have the revocation report to hand as it will be
scrutinised in evidence. In some cases, if you have inherited the case, you will
need to back track to earlier days.
• The prisoner’s lawyer may test risk assessment and public protection matters, so
be clear as to how assessments were reached. Please also note Probation
Circular 13/2003 on information sharing if disclosure of the material used to justify
the recall might be injurious to others (Section 18).

Q. What questions could I get asked?

A. The hearing is twofold, the first part considers the propriety of the recall if it is being
challenged and the second part then moves onto consideration of the offender’s risk and its
manageability within the community. You will therefore be asked questions surrounding the
focus of the supervision of the offender, their response to supervision, their use of time during
supervision and their progress. You will be asked to talk through the offender’s risk factors,
proposed offending behaviour programmes, release address and any new licence conditions.
You will be asked to comment on whether you consider if the offender’s risk can or cannot be
managed in the community if released.
Q. How do I deal with sensitive information for the hearing that may be relevant?

A. You should alert the Oral Hearings & Review Team as soon as you identify sensitive
information that is relevant to the hearing. Do not disclose the information to any party and
seek the guidance from the Oral Hearings & Review Team.

AFTER THE HEARING

Q. When do I get notified of the result?

A. You will be notified in writing of the Parole Board’s decision usually within 2-5 working days
of the hearing.

Q. Is there anything I need to do after the hearing?

A. If the suitability of a specific approved premises or licence condition was discussed at the
hearing it would be prudent to contact the premises to establish the availability of a placement
there.

Q. What happens if the release plan breaks down/if the accommodation is not
available?

A. You need to check if the reasons of the Parole Board specify release at a specific address
and have the condition amended if the placement will not be available within a reasonable
time period.
ANNEX C

THE PAROLE BOARD RULES 2004

Made 2004

Coming into force 1st August 2004

ARRANGEMENT OF RULES

PART I
Introduction

l. Title, commencement and revocation


2. Application and Interpretation

PART II
General

3. Appointment of panels
4. Listing the case for hearing
5. Representation
6. Information and reports by the Secretary of State
7. Evidence of the prisoner
8. Directions
9. Adjudications
10. Panel decisions

PART III
Proceedings without a hearing

11. Consideration by a single member panel


12. Provisional decision against release
13. Provisional decision in favour of release: consideration by three member paper panel
PART IV
Proceedings with a hearing

14. General provision


l 5. Witnesses
16. Observers
17. Notice of hearing
l8. Location, privacy of proceedings
19. Hearing procedure
20. The decision

PART V
Miscellaneous

21. Time
22. Transmission of documents etc.
23. Irregularities
24. References to the Board following recall
25. Transitional provision

SCHEDULES

1. Information and reports for submission to the Board by the Secretary of State on a reference to the Board under section
28(6)(a) or (7) of the Crime (Sentences) Act 1997 or section 44A(2) of the Crimina1 Justice Act 1991.

2. Information and reports for submission to the Board by the Secretary of


State on a reference to the Board under section 32(4) of the Crime (Sentences) Act 1997 or section 39(4) of the Criminal
Justice Act 1991.

The Secretary of State, in exercise of the powers conferred on him by section 32(5) of the Criminal Justice Act 1991, hereby makes
the following Rules:

PC76/2005 – Oral Hearings – Further Guidance 19


PART I
INTRODUCTION

TITLE, COMMENCEMENT AND REVOCATION

1. (1) These Rules may be cited as the Parole Board Rules 2004 and shall come
into force on 1st August 2004.

(2) The Parole Board Rules 1997 are hereby revoked.

APPLICATION AND INTERPRETATION

2. (1) Subject to rule 24, these Rules apply where a prisoner's case is referred to the Board by the Secretary of State under
section 28(6)(a), 28(7) or 32(4) of the 1997 Act, or under section 39(4) or 44A(2) of the 1991 Act, at any time after the coming into
force of these Rules.

(2) In these Rules, unless a contrary intention appears -

"Board" means the Parole Board, continued by section 32(1) of the


1991 Act;

"Chairman" means the chairman of the Board appointed under


paragraph 2 of Schedule 5 to the 1991 Act;

“chair” means the chairman of a panel appointed under rule 3(5);

“governor” includes a director of a contracted out prison;

“panel” means those members of the Board constituted in accordance


with rule 3 and having conduct of the case;

“parties” means the prisoner and the Secretary of State;

“prison” includes a young offender institution or any other institution where the prisoner is or has been detained;

“single member panel” means that member of the Board constituted in accordance
with rule 3(1);

“three member paper panel” means those members of the Board constituted in accordance with rule 3(2);

“three member oral panel” means those members of the Board constituted in accordance
with rule 3(3);

“the 1991 Act” means the Criminal Justice Act 1991; and

“the 1997 Act” means the Crime (Sentences) Act 1997.

PC76/2005 – Oral Hearings – Further Guidance 20


PART II
General

APPOINTMENT OF PANELS

3. (1) The Chairman shall appoint one member of the Board for the purpose of conducting proceedings in relation to a
prisoner's case without a hearing pursuant to rule 11.

(2) Where consideration of a prisoner’s case is required pursuant to rule 13, the Chairman shall appoint three members of the Board
to form a panel for the purpose of conducting proceedings without a hearing pursuant to that rule.

(3) Subject to paragraph (6) below, where a hearing is required in relation to a prisoner's case, the Chairman shall appoint three
members of the Board to form a panel for the purpose of conducting proceedings with a hearing.

(4) In relation to any prisoner’s case, no member shall be appointed to more than one of the panels formed under paragraph (1), (2) or
(3) above.

(5) Subject to paragraph (6) below, the Chairman shall appoint one member of each panel to act as chair of that panel.

(6) In relation to cases referred to the Board under section 28(6)(a), 28(7) or 32(4) of the 1997 Act, the members appointed pursuant
to paragraph (3) above shall include a person who has a 5 year general qualification, within the meaning of section 71 of the Courts
and Legal Services Act 1990, and that person shall act as chairman of the panel.

LISTING THE CASE FOR HEARING

4. The Board shall list the case and shall notify the parties of the date when the case was so listed within 5 working days
thereafter.

REPRESENTATION

5. (1) Subject to paragraph (2), a party may be represented by any person who he has authorised for that purpose.
(2) The following are ineligible to act as a representative -

(a) any person liable to be detained under the Mental Health Act 1983,

(b) any person serving a sentence of imprisonment,

(c) any person who is on licence having been released under Part III of
the Criminal Justice Act 1967, under Part II of the 1991 Act, under Chapter 6 of Part 12 to the Criminal Justice Act 2003 or
under Part II of the 1997 Act, or

(d) any person with a previous conviction for an imprisonable offence which remains unspent under the Rehabilitation of
Offenders Act 1974.

(3) Within 5 weeks of the case being listed, a party shall notify the Board and the other party of the name, address and occupation of
any person authorised in accordance with paragraph (1).

(4) Where a prisoner does not authorise a person to act as his representative, the Board may, with his agreement, appoint someone to
act on his behalf.

INFORMATION AND REPORTS BY THE SECRETARY OF STATE

6. (1) Within 8 weeks of the case being listed, the Secretary of State shall serve on the Board and, subject to paragraph (2), the
prisoner or his representative -

(a) the information specified in Part A of Schedule 1 to these Rules,

PC76/2005 – Oral Hearings – Further Guidance 21


(b) the reports specified in Part B of that Schedule, and

(c) such further information as the Secretary of State considers to be relevant to the case.

(2) Any part of the information or reports referred to in paragraph (1) which, in the opinion of the Secretary of State, should be
withheld from the prisoner on the grounds that its disclosure would adversely affect national security, the prevention of disorder or
crime or the health or welfare of the prisoner or others (such withholding being a necessary and proportionate measure in all the
circumstances of the case), shall be recorded in a separate document and served only on the Board together with the reasons for
believing that its disclosure would have that effect.

(3) Where a document is withheld from the prisoner in accordance with paragraph (2), it shall, unless the chair of the panel directs
otherwise, nevertheless be served as soon as practicable on the prisoner's representative if he is –

(a) a barrister or solicitor,

(b) a registered medical practitioner, or

(c) a person whom the chair of the panel directs is suitable by virtue
of his experience or professional qualification;

provided that no information disclosed in accordance with this paragraph shall be disclosed either directly or indirectly to the prisoner
or to any other person without the consent/authority of the chair of the panel.

EVIDENCE OF THE PRISONER

7. (1) Within 12 weeks of the case being listed, the prisoner shall serve on the Board and the Secretary of State any
representations about his case that he wishes to make.

(2) Any other documentary evidence that the prisoner wishes to adduce at a hearing of his case shall be served on the Board and the
Secretary of State at least 14 days before the date of the hearing.

DIRECTIONS

8. (1) Subject to paragraph (4), the chair of the panel may at any time give, vary or
revoke such directions as he thinks proper to enable the parties to prepare for the consideration of the prisoner’s case or to assist the
panel to determine the issues.

(2) Such directions may in particular relate to -

(a) the timetable for the proceedings,

(b) the varying of the time within which or by which an act is required by these Rules to be done,

(c) the service of documents,

(d) as regards any documents which have been received by the Board but which have been withheld from the prisoner in
accordance with rule 6(2), whether withholding such documents is a necessary and proportionate measure in all the
circumstances of the case, and

(e) the submission of evidence.

(3) Within 7 days of being notified of a direction under paragraph (2)(d), either party may appeal against it to the Chairman, who
shall notify the other party of the appeal; the other party may make representations on the appeal to the Chairman whose decision
shall be final.

PC76/2005 – Oral Hearings – Further Guidance 22


(4) Directions under paragraph (1) may be given, varied or revoked either -

(a) of the chair of the panel's own motion, or

(b) on the written application of a party which has been served on the other party and which specifies the direction that is
sought;

but in either case, both parties shall be given an opportunity to make written representations or, where the chair of the panel thinks it
necessary, and subject to paragraph (7)(b), to make oral submissions at a preliminary hearing fixed in accordance with paragraph (5).

(5) Where the chair of the panel decides to hold a preliminary hearing, he shall give the parties at least 14 days' notice of the date,
time and place fixed for that hearing.

(6) A preliminary hearing shall be held in private and information about the proceedings and the names of any persons concerned in
the proceedings shall not be made public.

(7) Except in so far as the chair of the panel otherwise directs, at a preliminary hearing -

(a) the chair of the panel shall sit alone, and

(b) the prisoner shall not attend unless he is unrepresented.

(8) The power to give directions may be exercised in the absence of the parties.

(9) Notice of any directions given, varied or revoked under this rule shall be served on the parties as soon as practicable thereafter.

ADJOURNMENT

9. (1) The panel may at any time adjourn proceedings to obtain further information or for such other purposes as it may think
appropriate.

(2) Before adjourning proceedings, the panel may give such directions as it thinks fit to ensure the proceedings can be resumed and
the application considered as soon as possible.

(3) Before a three member oral panel resumes any hearing which was adjourned without a further hearing date being fixed, it shall
give the parties not less than 3 weeks
notice, or such shorter notice to which all parties may agree, of the date, time and place of the resumed hearing.

Panel decisions

10. (1) Where a panel has been constituted under rule 3(2) or (3), any decision of the majority of the members of the panel shall
be the decision of the panel.

(2) For the avoidance of doubt, decisions made pursuant to rule 11(2)(b) or 13(2)(b) are provisional decisions as to the prisoner’s
suitability for release, a final decision only being made pursuant to rule 12(3) or 13(6) or when the case is determined by a three
member oral panel.

PC76/2005 – Oral Hearings – Further Guidance 23


PART III
Proceedings without a hearing

CONSIDERATION BY SINGLE MEMBER PANEL

11. (1) WITHIN 14 WEEKS OF THE CASE BEING LISTED, A SINGLE MEMBER PANEL SHALL CONSIDER
THE PRISONER’S CASE WITHOUT A HEARING.

(2) THE SINGLE MEMBER PANEL MUST EITHER –

(A) DECIDE THAT THE CASE SHOULD BE CONSIDERED BY A THREE MEMBER ORAL PANEL, OR

(b) make a provisional decision as to the prisoner’s suitability for release.

(3) The decision of the single member panel shall be recorded in writing with reasons, and shall be provided to the parties within a
week of the date of the decision.

Provisional decision against release

12. (1) IN ANY CASE WHERE THE SINGLE MEMBER PANEL HAS MADE A PROVISIONAL
DECISION UNDER RULE 11(2)(B) THAT THE PRISONER IS UNSUITABLE FOR RELEASE, THE
PRISONER MAY REQUIRE A THREE MEMBER ORAL PANEL TO GIVE CONSIDERATION TO
HIS CASE WITH A HEARING.

(2) WHERE THE PRISONER DOES SO REQUIRE CONSIDERATION OF HIS CASE WITH A
HEARING, HE MUST SERVE NOTICE TO THAT EFFECT ON THE BOARD AND THE
SECRETARY OF STATE WITHIN 19 WEEKS OF THE CASE BEING LISTED.

(3) If no notice has been served in accordance with paragraph (2) after the expiry of the period permitted by that paragraph, the
provisional decision shall become final and shall be provided to the parties within 20 weeks of the case being listed.

Provisional decision in favour of release: consideration by three member paper panel

13. (1) IN ANY CASE WHERE THE SINGLE MEMBER PANEL HAS MADE A PROVISIONAL
DECISION UNDER RULE 11(2)(B) THAT THE PRISONER IS SUITABLE FOR RELEASE,
CONSIDERATION OF HIS CASE MUST BE MADE BY A THREE MEMBER PAPER PANEL
WITHIN 17 WEEKS OF THE CASE BEING LISTED.

(2) THE THREE MEMBER PAPER PANEL MUST EITHER –

(A) DECIDE THAT THE CASE SHOULD BE CONSIDERED BY A THREE MEMBER ORAL
PANEL, OR

(b) make a provisional decision as to the prisoner’s suitability for release.

(3) The decision by the three member paper panel shall be recorded in writing with reasons, and shall be provided to the parties
within a week of the date of the decision.

PC76/2005 – Oral Hearings – Further Guidance 24


(4) IN ANY CASE TO WHICH PARAGRAPH (2)(B) APPLIES, THE SECRETARY OF STATE MAY
REQUIRE A THREE MEMBER ORAL PANEL TO GIVE CONSIDERATION TO THE PRISONER’S
CASE WITH A HEARING.

(5) WHERE THE SECRETARY OF STATE DOES SO REQUIRE CONSIDERATION OF THE


CASE WITH A HEARING, HE MUST SERVE NOTICE TO THAT EFFECT ON THE BOARD AND
THE PRISONER WITHIN 22 WEEKS OF THE CASE BEING LISTED.

(6) If no notice has been served in accordance with paragraph (5) after the expiry of the period permitted by that paragraph, the
provisional decision shall become final and shall be provided to the parties within 23 weeks of the case being listed.

PART IV
Proceedings with a hearing

GENERAL PROVISIONS

14. (1) This Part of the Rules applies in any case where a decision pursuant to rule 11(2)(a) or 13(2)(a) has been made, or where
a notice under rule 12(2) or 13(5) has been served, or in any case referred to the Board under section 32(4) of the 1997 Act or under
section 39(4) or 44A(2) of the 1991 Act.

(2) In relation to any case to be given consideration by a three member oral panel by virtue of rule 13(5), rule 15(1) shall have effect
as if the reference to 20 weeks was a reference to 23 weeks, and rule 15(2) shall have effect as if the reference to 21 weeks was a
reference to 24 weeks.

(3) The prisoner shall, within 23 weeks of the case being listed, notify the Board and the Secretary of State whether he wishes to
attend the hearing.

(4) Any reference in this Part of the Rules to a “panel” is to a three member oral panel.

WITNESSES

15. (1) Where a party wishes to call witnesses at the hearing, he shall make a written application to the Board, a copy of which
he shall serve on the other party, within 20 weeks of the case being listed, giving the name, address and occupation of the witness he
wishes to call and the substance of the evidence he proposes to adduce.

(2) Where the Board wishes to call witnesses at the hearing, the chair of the panel should notify the parties, within 21 weeks of the
case being listed, giving the name, address and occupation of the witness it wishes to call and the substance of the evidence it
proposes to adduce.

(3) The chair of the panel may grant or refuse an application under paragraph (1) and shall communicate his decision to both parties,

PC76/2005 – Oral Hearings – Further Guidance 25


giving reasons in writing for his decision in the case of a refusal.

(4) Where a witness is called under paragraphs (1) or (2), it shall be the duty of the person calling the witness to notify the witness at
least 2 weeks before the hearing of the date of the hearing and the need to attend.

OBSERVERS

16. A party may apply, in accordance with the procedure set out in rule 15(1) and (3), to be accompanied at the hearing by such
other persons, in addition to any representative he may have authorised, as he wishes to support him or to observe the proceedings;
but before granting any such application the Board shall obtain the agreement of -

(a) the governor where the hearing is held in a prison,

(b) in any other case, the person who has the authority to agree.

NOTICE OF HEARING

17. (1) The hearing shall be held within 26 weeks of the case being listed, but when fixing the date of the hearing the Board
shall consult the parties.

(2) The Board shall give the parties at least 3 weeks notice of the date, time and place scheduled for the hearing or such shorter notice
to which the parties may agree.

LOCATION, PRIVACY OF PROCEEDINGS

18. (1) The hearing shall be held at the prison or other institution where the
prisoner is detained, or such other place as the chair of the panel, with the agreement of the Secretary of State, may direct.

(2) The hearing shall be held in private.

(3) In addition to witnesses and observers previously approved pursuant to rules 15 and 16, the chair of the panel may admit to the
hearing such other persons on such terms and conditions as he considers appropriate.

(4) The parties may not challenge at the hearing the attendance of any witness or observer whose attendance has previously been
approved pursuant to rules 15 and 16.

HEARING PROCEDURE

19. (1) At the beginning of the hearing the chair of the panel shall explain the order of proceeding which the panel proposes to
adopt, and shall invite each party present to state their view as to the suitability of the prisoner for release.

(2) The panel shall avoid formality in the proceedings and so far as possible shall make its own enquiries in order to satisfy itself of
the level of risk of the prisoner; it shall conduct the hearing in such manner as it considers most suitable to the clarification of the
issues before it and generally to the just handling of the proceedings it.

(3) The parties shall be entitled to appear and be heard at the hearing and take such part in the proceedings as the panel thinks fit; and
the parties may hear each other’s evidence, put questions to each other, call any witnesses who the Board has authorised to give
evidence in accordance with rule 15, and put questions to any witness or other person appearing before the panel.

(4) The chair of the panel may require any person present at the hearing who is, in his opinion, behaving in a disruptive manner to
leave and may permit him to return, if at all, only on such conditions as the chair may specify.

(5) The panel may adduce or receive in evidence any document or information notwithstanding that such document or information
would be inadmissible in a court of law, but no person shall be compelled to give any evidence or produce any document which he
could not be compelled to give or produce on the trial of an action.

PC76/2005 – Oral Hearings – Further Guidance 26


(6) The chair of the panel may require the prisoner, any witness appearing for the prisoner, or any other person present, to leave the
hearing where evidence is being examined which the chair of the panel, in accordance with rule 8(2)(d) (subject to any successful
appeal under rule 8(2)), previously directed should be withheld from the prisoner as adversely affecting national security, the
prevention of disorder or crime or the health or welfare of the prisoner or others.

(7) After all the evidence has been given, the prisoner shall be given a further opportunity to address the panel.

THE DECISION

20. The panel’s decision determining a case shall be recorded in writing with reasons, signed by the chair of the panel, and
provided in writing to the parties not more than 7 days after the end of the hearing; the recorded decision with reasons shall only make
reference to matters which the Secretary of State has referred to the Board.

PART V
Miscellaneous

TIME

21. Where the time prescribed by or under these Rules for doing any act expires on a Saturday, Sunday or public holiday, the act
shall be in time if done on the
next working day.

Transmission of documents etc.

22. Any document required or authorised by these Rules to be served or otherwise


transmitted to any person may be transmitted by electronic means, sent by pre-paid post or delivered -

(a) in the case of a document directed to the Board or the chair of the panel, to the office of the Board;

(b) in any other case, to the last known address of the person to whom the document is directed.

IRREGULARITIES

23. Any irregularity resulting from a failure to comply with these Rules before the
panel has determined a case shall not of itself render the proceedings void, but the panel may, and shall, if it considers that the person
may have been prejudiced, take such steps as it thinks fit, before determining the case, to cure the irregularity, whether by the
amendment of any document, the giving of any notice, the taking of any step or otherwise.

REFERENCES TO THE BOARD FOLLOWING RECALL

24. (1) Where the Secretary of State refers a prisoner's case to the Board under section 32(4) of the 1997 Act or section 39(4) of
the 1991 Act to consider a recall:

(a) rules 11 to 13 shall not apply; and

(b) subject to the above, these Rules shall only apply where the prisoner has made representations against recall and subject
to the modifications in paragraph (2).

(2) The modifications referred to in paragraph (1) are as follows:

(a) any references to periods of time set out in these Rules shall apply as if they were references to such period of time as the

PC76/2005 – Oral Hearings – Further Guidance 27


chair of the panel shall in each case determine, taking into account both the desirability of the Board reaching an early
decision in the prisoner's case and the need to ensure fairness to the prisoner; and

(b) rule 6 shall apply as if the references in paragraph (1)(a) and (b) of that rule to the information and reports specified in
Schedule 1 were references to the information and reports set out in Schedule 2.

TRANSITIONAL PROVISION

25. The revocation by these Rules of the Parole Board Rules 1997 does not affect their operation in relation to any referral of a
prisoner’s case made to the Board before the coming into force of the revocation.

Home Office Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State


2004

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