The requirement for all parole hearings to be held in private to be relaxed
The rule which currently requires all parole hearings to be held in private will be relaxed and, under the new system, anyone would be able to request that a hearing be heard in public. The Chair of the Parole Board will decide whether an open hearing would be ‘in the interests of justice’, the test that is already used in relation to Mental Health Tribunals. The change marks the end of a blanket ban on public hearings when introduced later this year. However, it is anticipated that the vast majority of hearings will continue to be heard in private.
The Parole Board will have discretion as to what information heard in the hearing may be disclosed or reported. The rule change will be introduced through secondary legislation later this year.
[Full GOV.UK press release here]