Supreme Court confirms that prisoner voting ban violates European Convention on Human Rights

Friday 18 October 2013

The Supreme Court on Wednesday unanimously decided to follow the decisions of the European Court of Human Rights that the blanket ban on convicted prisoners voting is incompatible with their rights under Article 3 of Protocol No 1 to the ECHR.

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R (Chester) v Secretary of State for Justice [2013] UKSC 63

Mr Chester, who is serving a life sentence, brought the appeal together with another prisoner. Under section 3 of the Representation of the People Act 1983, and section 8 of the European Parliamentary Elections Act 2002, convicted prisoners are prohibited from voting in elections for the UK and European Parliaments.

The Supreme Court however dismissed the appeals, deciding not to make a further declaration of incompatibility. Furthermore the Court decided that the Appellants were not entitled to invoke EU law.

Click here to read the full judgment. The Supreme Court also provide a helpful summary of the judgment in their press release.

Richard Reynolds acted for Mr Chester. He was led by Hugh Southey QC, and instructed by Chivers Solicitors.

The case has been widely reported, including by the BBC, The Guardian, and The Independent.

Richard Reynolds is a member of the Garden Court Prison Law and Public and Administrative Law teams.

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