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Marcus Farrar

BSc (Hons) MSc, PgDip (Law), PgDip (Legal Practice), Solicitor

Marcus became a self-employed Solicitor during June 2005 and the Prison Law Department at Chivers Solicitors was established by Marcus during that time. He has previously been employed at three other firms of solicitors in the West Yorkshire area and has worked in a defence role in the criminal justice system since September 1997, qualifying as a Solicitor during June 2002. Since 1998 Marcus has dealt purely with convicted prisoners advising and assisting on Prison Law matters. Within that time he became a specialist in the Prison Law field. That experience and specialisation has allowed him to deal with a number of reported cases.

For example:

R (Spence) v Secretary of State for the Home Department (2003)

A case involving the timing of Parole Board reviews for life sentenced prisoners and the Secretary of State's powers.

R (Lindo) v Secretary of State for the Home Department (2004).

A case involving sentence calculation and days spent unlawfully at large.

R (Hare) v Secretary of State for the Home Department (2003).

A case involving a recall to prison and the reasons that justify the same.

R v Fernandez (2002).

A successful appeal against conviction. And a number of reported Criminal Appeals leading to reductions in tariffs:

R v Cattaway (2003) R v Rutter (2003) R v Dyson (2003) R v Mills (2004)

The Times, December 2004

Other notable cases include:

R v Ford (2009)

Mr M Farrar recently acted in the case of R v Ford. That case involved an application to the CCRC in 1997. On the 12th December 2008 the CCRC referred the convictions to the Court of Appeal. Mr Ford was convicted of 12 burglaries, six robberies and an attempted robbery on 20 and 21 November 1996 at Bradford Crown Court. He was sentenced to a total of 25 years’ imprisonment. Mr Ford’s case was referred to the CCRC principally on the basis of fresh evidence found by that investigation concerning the treatment of an important prosecution witness. The Court of Appeal quashed the most serious convictions.

R (Chester) v Secretary of State for Justice [2010] EWCA Civ 1439

A case involving a judicial review of the Government’s blanket ban on prisoners voting rights. The Court of Appeal found that it was for the Government to decide on legislation and when the legislation should be enacted. The Court also found that the judiciary should not interfere with the Government’s decision making on forthcoming statues. The case was widely reported. The Supreme Court handed down judgement on 16th October 2013, there was defeat in relation to the EU law arguments but the case ended in victory in that the Supreme Court ruled the present ban on Prisoner Voting was incompitable with the ECHR.

R (Faulkner) v Secretary of State for Justice and the Parole Board [2010] EWCA Civ 1434

The case involved the unjustified delay in the Parole Board actually considering the case at an oral hearing. That delay to the parole hearing breached the client's rights. The Court of Appeal found that the client had spent 10 more months in custody than he should have. The Court of Appeal that was purely due to unjustified delay in having his case heard by the Parole Board. As a result the Court of Appeal found that there had been a breach of Human Rights [Article 5(4) of the European Convention on Human Rights]. The case was widely reported.Now at the Supreme Court; permission to argue further granted.

R v Shah (2009)

The case involved an investigation by the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC) in to the safety of Mr Shah’s conviction. The CCRC eventually referred the matter to the Court of Appeal. The Court of Appeal quashed the conviction on the basis of gross prosecution misconduct. The main ground of appeal concerned the failure on the part of the prosecution to have the main witnesses at the original trial. The Court of Appeal found that the original court was misled into believing that steps had been taken to trace the main witnesses when no such steps had been taken. Therefore Mr Shah did not have a fair trial. The case was widely reported.

R (on the application of Jones) v Parole Board [2010] EWHC 2462

The case involved an indeterminate prisoner’s case against the Parole Board. The case involved factual errors and a claim that it was irrational for the decision maker to rely on evidence that was in complete contrast to all other evidence. The case was widely reported.

R (on the application of Mullally & Smith) v Governor of HMP Lindholme [2010] EWHC 1356

The case involved the clients applying for re-categorisation from category C to category D. The clients had more than two years of their sentences left to serve. The governor had refused Category D on the ground of length of sentence alone. The Court had to consider whether the decisions were unlawful. The Administrative Court declined to make an order in respect of the client's applications (mainly due to the fact a further review was then taking place). The court found that the governor’s decision was not unlawful though the decisions had been made hastily.

R (on the application of Ian Shutt and John Tetley v Secretary of State for Justice [2012] EWHC 851 (Admin)

Acted for both individuals. The case involved the application on the unlawful restriction of Enhanced IEP status for certain prisoners. The case concerned the consideration of both local and national policy relating to prison incentives and the earned privileges scheme (IEP). The local scheme at HMP Isle of Wight effectively denied enhanced status to certain convicted offenders who had been assessed as unready for a prison based course. That appeared to conflict with the national policy. The High Court found the local policy to be unlawful.

Broom v Secretary of State for Justice [2010] EWHC 2695 (Admin)

When transferred from Whitemoor prison to Wakefield Prison in May 2008, the Claimant had historical photos of his children and nieces confiscated. He had been in possession of those photographs for 18 years. The individuals depicted were now adults. He challenged the decision not to return the photos to him by way of judicial review, claiming that it breached his right to respect for his private or family life. HHJ Behrens, sitting as a Deputy High Court Judge, concluded that there was no infringement of Article 8 of the ECHR in this case. The Judge described it as a “marginal decision”. The Court of Appeal granted permission to appeal. The Secretary of State for Justice then conceded the case.

R (on the application of Bright) v HMP Whitemoor [2012] CO/3179/2012 (Admin)

Acted for Mr Bright in his application against the unlawful restriction of condoms and lubricant to prisoners on the DSPD unit. The case concerned the consideration of local policy relating to Gay prisoners. The local scheme at HMP Whitemoor effectively denied certain prisoners condoms and lubrication. The defendant did not oppose the application and permission was granted. The case was ultimately resolved in Mr Bright’s favour via a consent order.

Marcus has also had articles published in the Inside Times and Converse.

Since September 2005 the department has flourished.