Challenging Licence Conditions

October 18, 2017

Released from custody?  But are you free?

Whenever an offender receives a prison sentence, it is the unfortunate situation that no one wants to be in, also affecting relatives, family and friends of the offender. Most offenders think that after they are released from custody, they are completely free. They believe that the punishment door is closed, and it is time to move forward. But this can be wrong. Any release from custody comes with Licence Conditions, (unless your sentence or licence period has been completed). If these license conditions aren’t followed, you risk a return back to prison, (known as a ‘recall’).

New Release Licence Conditions

New Release Licences are the outcome of a release plan, and will soon have the ability to restrict ‘specified conduct or specified acts’.  The government is seeking to use licence conditions to prevent offenders from gambling, drinking alcohol and using of social media after release. Whilst planning the release of the offender, it is the responsibility of the supervising/probation officer to piece together the release plan, (taking into account the possible additional licence conditions). These additional licence conditions are submitted to the Governor of the releasing prison, before the application is reviewed on behalf of the Secretary of State. If the Governor confirms these conditions, they become legally enforceable.

Why shouldn’t you drink?

The government says:

“The consumption of alcohol is a known factor in recidivism for some offenders. In 2004, the Prison Reform Trust published a paper which estimated that 63% of male offenders and 39% of female offenders within the England and Wales prison estate admitted to hazardous drinking before being imprisoned. At the same time, the estimated cost of alcohol-related crime and public disorder was £7.3 billion per year.”

Essentially, drinking alcohol after being convicted is one of the main reasons behind reoffending. If a strategy is in place which restricted offenders from consuming alcohol, they believe it will prevent offenders from being recalled.

Can you escape Licence Conditions?

All licence conditions are adapted individually for the specific offender, bearing in mind their risk of harm or reoffending. The only way you could challenge the imposition of a licence condition would be to apply for a judicial review, this is where a court can review an administrative action by a public body. This process would need to be reviewed by a Solicitor. An alternative to this would be to submit an application to Probation requesting the removal or amendments to the licence conditions.

But how can you help me?

There is no legal aid for dealing with applications to challenge licence conditions, but we are able to provide you with a private quote if you want to pursue a challenge.   If you are looking for help, contact Shelley Peynado-Clarke at or on 020 7388 8333

Departments involved:

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