The Judicial Review Act 1991 applies to the Board’s decisions. Other than an internal review mechanism for decisions to immediately suspend a parole order (see, section 208C Corrective Services Act 2006), judicial review is the only avenue open to a prisoner.
Accordingly, the Board strives to ensure that clear and concise reasons are given for each decision, and it is justified on the materials and supported by evidence. Similarly, that procedural fairness and the need to afford natural justice to the prisoner throughout the process, is at all time maintained.
The review of the Board’s decision by the Supreme Court of Queensland is limited to the legality of the decision (i.e. was there power and was it exercised lawfully), rather than its merits (i.e. should it have been a different outcome/decision). The court cannot make a new decision in place of the one made by the Board.
As a starting point, if a prisoner is aggrieved by a decision of the Board, the prisoner may request a Statement of Reasons be provided by the Board. The Statement of Reasons outlines the background of the prisoner’s application (or suspension or cancellation), findings of fact made by the Board and the reasons for the Board’s decision. The Board is required to provide a Statement of Reasons within 28 days of receiving the prisoner’s request.
If the prisoner remains aggrieved by a decision (even after having received the Statement of Reasons), the prisoner may lodge an application for a statutory order of review with the Supreme Court under the Judicial Review Act.
Upon receiving an application for review, the Supreme Court will advise the Board of the application and a date for a direction hearing. This initial step is an opportunity for the court to canvass with the prisoner and the Board the relevant issues and to make orders with respect to a timeline for litigation of the application. The Board has legal representation for all judicial review matters.
For more information: see, sections 20-23 and sections 30 and 32, Judicial Review Act 1991 (Qld).