By Regina Yip and Samuel Leung
On 5 December 2019, the UCL Chapter of Lawyers without Borders (LWOB) and the Centre for Access to Justice hosted the final round of the LWOB Human Rights Moot. This year, the two finalist teams, including Mia Chaudhuri-Julyan and Alex Diaper, and Olivia Bessant and Emma Lazell, argued a moot question relating to prisoners’ rights concerning disproportionate use of solitary confinement and the monitoring of prisoner’s legal correspondence with their solicitors.
The finalists presented arguments involving consideration of Article 8 Human Rights Act, concerning the right to private and family life, and argued how the balance should be struck between privacy rights and the discretion available to prison governors when exercising their powers to detain individuals in solitary confinement and in intercepting prisoner post.
The Appellant team for the prisoners stressed the importance of procedural fairness by which an individual appealing against a decision made by the authority should have a right to be heard particularly when that decision. Furthermore, even in the context of a prison, the privacy rights of individuals are still under the protection of the ECHR.
The Respondent team emphasised that as a matter of policy the judiciary should be deferential to the authority when it comes to an executive decision such as a decision made in the context of prison operation. They also stressed that the rights guaranteed by the ECHR are not absolute and may be interefered with where such interferences are proportionate.
Judging such excellent submissions was no easy feat but, after intense deliberations, the judging panel deided that the respondent team – Mia and Alex – had presented the stronger case and had employed the more persuasive advocacy style. On behalf of LWOB and the Centre for Access to Justice we are delighted to crown Mia and Alex the winners of this year’s competition, and to award the first runners up position to Emma and Olivia. Congratulations all who took part, and we look forward to the next competition!