In Calder, R (on the application of) v Secretary of State for Justice [2015] EWCA Civ 1050, Adam Wagner acted for Terence Calder in the Court of Appeal in a case relating to his recall to prison following the shooting of his mother and brother. The case was heard by the Lord Chief Justice, Lady Justice Hallett and Lord Justice Davis.

The Appellant was recalled to prison after the police informed the Secretary of State for Justice that they had intelligence to the effect that Mr Calder was planning a retaliatory attack. The police refused to reveal any information about the sources of that intelligence. The Secretary of State’s officers were concerned at the lack of information, but ordered the recall.

Mr Calder argued that the recall had been unlawful as there was insufficient information available to the Secretary of State such that he could reasonably believe recall was necessary.

The Court of Appeal found for the Respondent Secretary of State on the facts. However, it made important obiter dicta statements of principle relating to the powers and duties of the Parole Board, and the appropriateness of Judicial Review in recall cases.

First, the Parole Board has a power and a duty to scrutinise decisions by the Secretary of State to recall prisoners. That duty is “an important and necessary duty” [45]. The Board’s policy stating it does not do so, therefore, is wrong in law.

Second, contrary to the Court of Appeal’s previous dicta to the effect that Judicial Review should only be an exceptional remedy in recall cases, a “court should never simply refuse an application for judicial review of the decision to recall on the basis that the issue will be decided in due course by the Parole Board” [49].

The full judgment can be found on Bailli.