A recent judgment of the English High Court has held that the present arrangements for the English Parole Board, in particular its links with the Ministry of Justice, mean that it is not able to "sufficiently demonstrate its objective independence” so as to comply with the right to a fair hearing by an independent and impractical tribunal, as required by Article 6 of the ECHR.

The case arose from a challenge by four prisoners who were seeking release from custody; they argued that their right to a fair hearing had been violated in the Parole Board's consideration of their case because of the Board’s close links with the Government.

In the judgment, while both Lord Justice Hughes and Mr Justice Treacy make it clear that they had found no sign of any undue influence on individual cases, they held that “the present arrangements for the Parole Board do not sufficiently demonstrate its objective independence of the Secretary of State, as required by English common law and the European Convention on Human Rights”.

The Ministry of Justice has stated that it proposes to appeal this finding.