R (EG) v Parole Board  EWHC 1457 (Admin)
Parole Board representation for those lacking capacity (1) The Parole Board Rules 2019 introduced a power to appoint a representative "where the prisoner lacks the capacity to appoint a representative and the panel chair or duty member believes that it is in the prisoner's best interests for the prisoner to be represented". In the absence of anything similar to the accreditation system operating in the MHT (and the LAA's pragmatic approach to the regulation preventing providers from making an application for Legal Aid) a solicitor cannot "assume the dual role of legal representative and litigation friend" and so this appointment power cannot be exercised. (2) The 2019 rules, although silent on the matter, allow for the appointment of a litigation friend because: (a) "other representative" in the expression "solicitor, barrister or other representative" includes litigation friend; and, if that is wrong, (b) as with the 2016 rules, it is allowed when necessary under the general power to make directions. (3) In the absence of an accreditation scheme or other litigation friend, the prisoner needed the Official Solicitor to act if his parole review was to progress; (obiter) the OS has the statutory power to act in Parole Board proceedings. (4) The judge limited her decision to issues concerning EG individually, and criticised counsel for EG and the EHRC for continuing the trend in public law litigation of grounds of challenge evolving during proceedings in a way which lacked procedural rigour (in this case, by raising wider issues including the identification and assessment of non-capacitous prisoners and the Public Sector Equality Duty).