Prisoners facing an independent adjudication for a disciplinary matter are entitled to Legal Aid to pay for a solicitor to represent them at the adjudication.
The adjudicator should have no prior knowledge of the charge a prisoner is facing – and as little knowledge of the prisoner or any previous charges, so as to maintain an impartial view of the matter. This is called a “de novo” hearing.
In most circumstances, if a prisoner is suspected of being guilty of a disciplinary offence, a charge must be brought against the prisoner with 48 hours.
An independent adjudication will usually apply for disciplinary matters involving possession of unauthorized items in jail or drug use.
Independent adjudications are heard by a District Judge at the prison, according to the Prison Service Instructions (PSIs).
It is important to contact a prison law solicitor as soon as possible when accused of a disciplinary offence – Duncan Lewis prison law solicitors can advise before a charge is brought and have a wealth of experience in representing clients in prison at independent adjudications (“nickings”).
Even if a prisoner feels they can speak for themselves at an independent adjudication, a prison law solicitor can make sure that procedures for bringing a charge are followed correctly – and with representation from a prison law expert, a prisoner is also given the best chance of a positive outcome at the independent adjudication hearing.
The first stage of a disciplinary charge involves a prisoner being put on report – and charges must be brought in accordance with the prison rules.
This is a crucial stage of a disciplinary matter – and taking legal advice as soon as possible can protect a prisoner’s rights.
With disciplinary charges, a charge must also be proved “beyond reasonable doubt”.
Duncan Lewis prison law solicitors offer robust criminal defence services to offenders facing an independent adjudication over a disciplinary matter.
The outcome of an independent adjudication can affect an existing sentence – and a prisoner found guilty of a disciplinary offence at independent adjudication is like to have further days or weeks added to their original sentence.
A guilty outcome at an independent adjudication may also adversely affect applications for parole, recategorisation, or the Home Detention Curfew (HDC) scheme.
Duncan Lewis can offer expert legal advice on plea, points of law, likely penalties for an offence and requests for review (“appeal”) of an independent adjudication.
The Duncan Lewis prison law team regularly represents clients at adjudication hearings – and has a successful track record in helping offenders appeal or apply for Judicial Review.
Prisoners facing an adjudication hearing will be asked if they wish to have a solicitor to speak for them at the oral hearing.
Call Duncan Lewis prison law solicitors as soon as possible for legal advice on any allegation leading to a disciplinary hearing in a prison, or an independent adjudication hearing.
Duncan Lewis can also advise on appealing the punishment from an independent adjudication – appeals for an independent adjudication must be sent to the Chief Magistrates’ Court within 14 days using form IA4.
There are Duncan Lewis offices nationwide and our prison law solicitors regularly visit prisons, courts and adjudication tribunals to advise on prison law.
For expert legal advice on prison law and independent adjudications, call Duncan Lewis prison law solicitors on 020 7923 4020.
For urgent help with prison law or 24/7 help at a police station, call the Duncan Lewis Emergency Hotline on 020 7275 2036.