Tuesday Law Report: Secretary of State Could Fix Tariff for Mandatory Life Prisoner ; 20 November 2001 Regina (on the Application of Anderson) V Secretary of State for the Home Department; Regina (on the Application of Taylor) V Secretary of State for the Home Department Court of Appeal, Civil Division (Lord Woolf, Chief Justice, Lord Justice Simon Brown and Lord Justice Buxton) 13 November 2001

By Kate O'Hanlon, Barrister | The Independent (London, England), November 2, 2001 | Go to article overview
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Tuesday Law Report: Secretary of State Could Fix Tariff for Mandatory Life Prisoner ; 20 November 2001 Regina (on the Application of Anderson) V Secretary of State for the Home Department; Regina (on the Application of Taylor) V Secretary of State for the Home Department Court of Appeal, Civil Division (Lord Woolf, Chief Justice, Lord Justice Simon Brown and Lord Justice Buxton) 13 November 2001


Kate O'Hanlon, Barrister, The Independent (London, England)


THE SECRETARY of State for the Home Department was entitled to fix the minimum period of imprisonment to be served by a mandatory life prisoner to meet the requirements of retribution and deterrence, and his performance of that role did not breach article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

The Court of Appeal dismissed the appeals of Anthony Anderson and John Hope Taylor against the dismissal of their applications for judicial review of the decisions of the Secretary of State for the Home Department to fix the tariff periods of their life sentences for murder.

In two linked appeals before the court by appellants who had, on separate occasions, each been sentenced to a mandatory sentence of life imprisonment having been convicted of murder, the issue arose whether, as the Secretary of State for the Home Department was a member of the executive, he was entitled to fix the minimum period of imprisonment to be served by a mandatory life prisoner to meet the requirements of retribution and deterrence (the tariff), or whether his performance of that role breached article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

The appellants appealed against the dismissal of their applications for judicial review, arguing that the tariff-fixing exercise in the case of a mandatory life prisoner was either a sentencing exercise or was so closely analogous to a sentencing exercise that any difference was of no significance, and that, as with discretionary life prisoners, it therefore required a judicial determination, and not a determination by the Secretary of State.

Edward Fitzgerald QC and Phillippa Kaufmann (Irwin Mitchell, Sheffield) for Anderson; Edward Fitzgerald QC and Sally Hatfield (Peter Ievins, Peterborough) for Taylor; David Pannick QC and Mark Shaw (Treasury Solicitor) for the Secretary of State.

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Tuesday Law Report: Secretary of State Could Fix Tariff for Mandatory Life Prisoner ; 20 November 2001 Regina (on the Application of Anderson) V Secretary of State for the Home Department; Regina (on the Application of Taylor) V Secretary of State for the Home Department Court of Appeal, Civil Division (Lord Woolf, Chief Justice, Lord Justice Simon Brown and Lord Justice Buxton) 13 November 2001
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