F.07 Request access to facilities to assist in litigation

Criteria for access to facilities to assist in litigation

  1. Reasonable access to facilities to assist with the following litigation must be provided so far as is reasonably practicable, and consistent with the maintenance of safety and security requirements, to any prisoner who:
    1. is appealing or applying for leave to appeal against any criminal conviction, order, or sentence, or
    2. is an accused prisoner who is preparing his or her defence or plea in mitigation, or
    3. is detained under the Immigration Act 1987 and is preparing for any process or proceeding under that Act.
  2. Reasonable access to facilities to assist with any other litigation may be provided to any prisoner at the discretion of the prison director. Access to facilities may be available before the commencement of litigation, where the prisoner is contemplating filing proceedings in the near future.
  3. Access to facilities is available only until the end of the hearing of the proceeding. If access to facilities is required in relation to an appeal after judgment is delivered, a further application may be made.

F.07.01 Application for access to facilities to assist in litigation

  1. The prisoner must make a request for facilities to assist in litigation by seeking an interview with the unit PCO.
  2. Prisoner’s File Notes is updated that a prisoner has requested such facilities.
  3. At the meeting with the PCO, the prisoner must complete Section A of F.07.Form.01 Application for access to facilities to assist in litigation.
  4. The unit PCO must sign and date the completed Section A of the application and provide a copy of this to the prisoner.

F.07.02 Court confirmation of litigation

  1. Where the facilities are sought in relation to current litigation, the residential manager must contact the Court to confirm that:
    1. the prisoner is party to the litigation
    2. the hearing of the litigation is not completed.
  2. The residential manager then completes section B of F.07.Form.01 Application for access to facilities to assist in litigation, and forward to the prison director to consider.
  3. Where facilities are sought in relation to proposed litigation, the prisoner must specify the time when the proceedings are intended to be filed (such time being usually no more than two weeks), and the residential manager must confirm with the Court after that date that the proceedings have been filed. If the proceedings have not been filed, access to facilities must be withdrawn unless the prison director has agreed that access continues for a further period.

F.07.03 Considerations for access to facilities

  1. Upon receipt of F.07.Form.01 Application for access to facilities to assist in litigation, and before determining the application, the prison director must consider the following:
    1. the maintenance of public safety
    2. the fair, safe, secure, orderly and humane management and care of prisoners
    3. the maintenance of security and good order within the prison
    4. the extent to which the prison is able to reasonably provide such facilities to prisoners within existing resources
    5. the impact on other prisoners’ access to facilities and the fair use of facilities by other prisoners
    6. the impact on the good management of the prisoner, and
    7. in relation to the proceedings listed in Criteria for access to facilities to assist in litigation, the obligation under regulation 193 of the Corrections Regulations 2005 to ensure that the prisoner is provided with access to adequate facilities as far as is reasonably practicable in the circumstances, and consistent with the maintenance of safety and security requirements.
  2. The prison director must also consider the following if the prisoner has requested access to a computer:
    1. resources (including hardware, software, support and supervising staff) currently available within the unit and the prison
    2. the availability and cost of accessing specialist resources to monitor the use of the computer
    3. whether there is a demonstrated need to access computer facilities, for example arising from the likely volume of documentation involved, a requirement for data manipulation, or a personal characteristic of the prisoner
    4. whether the demonstrated need could be met by other means
    5. the willingness of the prisoner to accept and comply with
      1. time limitations
      2. use restrictions, and
      3. searches of the computer and related items for objectionable material or other misuse
    6. any previous non-compliance of the prisoner with such conditions
    7. any history or concerns about the prisoner in respect of electronic communication equipment or other unauthorised items
    8. any security issues or other concerns relating to the prisoner
    9. any security issues or concerns relating to the use of a computer in the unit / prison
    10. the type of offences committed by the prisoner and the prisoner’s previous conduct (e.g. offences relating to fraud, or possession of objectionable material, concerns about witness intimidation etc.)
    11. the prisoner’s IDU status.
  3. The prison director must also consider the following if the prisoner has requested access to legal research material, such as copies of legislation, case law or text books:
    1. the ability of the prisoner to access that material by other means (for example, through a lawyer)
    2. whether the requested material is available within the prison and, if not, the likely cost of obtaining that material
    3. whether the prisoner agrees to and does meet the cost of obtaining the material
    4. the resources required in terms of staff time to access the requested material.

Note: Prison directors should refer to this section’s policy every time they are required to consider an application requesting access to facilities to assist in litigation.

F.07.04 Prison director declines request

  1. The prison director records on the application his or her reasons for declining the request for all or some of the facilities in relation to litigation.
  2. The prison director forwards the application to the unit PCO, who informs the prisoner that their application for access to facilities to assist in litigation service has been declined.
  3. The prisoner must be informed they can have this decision reviewed through the prisoner complaints process, or by contacting the Inspector and / or the Ombudsman. A copy of the declined application is given to the prisoner.
  4. PCO ensures that the prisoner’s File Notes is updated.
  5. The prisoner must be given a copy of the completed application (F.07.Form.01 Application for access to facilities to assist in litigation), and the original completed application is to be placed on the prisoner’s file.

F.07.05 Prison director approves request

  1. The prison director must complete section C of F.07.Form.01 Application for access to facilities to assist in litigation, providing reasons for approving the use of facilities, and setting the condition for their use, e.g. type, number, frequency, and duration of the approved facilities to be provided.
  2. If the prison director has approved the use of a computer the prisoner director must complete section D “Terms and conditions for use of personal computer” of the application.
  3. Before access to facilities to assist in litigation is provided, the prisoner must sign sections C and D (if applicable), confirming that they accept and will abide by the conditions set out in these sections.
  4. PCO ensures that the prisoner’s File Notes is updated.
  5. The prisoner must be given a copy of the completed application (F.07.Form.01 Application for access to facilities to assist in litigation), and the original completed application is to be placed on the prisoner’s file.