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News & Updates

Prison Service

 

The Law Gazette reported recently in relation to the issues solicitors are facing trying to see their clients who are in prison, and this is also a significant issue for process servers.

Below are just some of the scenarios we may face when trying to book a legal visit, and the ways we can can try to get around these issues.

 

No visits available

For time sensitive matters, the requirement to book legal visits at least 24-48 hours in advance can be problematic, and on occasions it can be weeks before a visit is available. For time critical paperwork, for example when the respondent is being imminently released or there is an urgent court hearing, sometimes, when the situation has been explained to the booking team, they can find a way to make an exception for you.

 

No paperwork allowed

It is becoming increasingly common for us to be advised that we are unable to take paperwork into the prison to be served. We are advised this is when the prison has a problem with drugs in the prison, as paper is an easy thing to impregnate drugs into, and the prisoners will then tear strips of the paperwork and suck them to release. On request, some prisons will print the paperwork for us if we email it to the prison in advance, and we can collect it on arrival, meaning that they can be sure the paper is free of drugs, and allow us to facilitate service.

 

No in-person legal visits being allowed

Seem more through the Covid Pandemic was a complete ban on legal visits. In some instances, the prison would allow us to send the paperwork to them by email, and a Support Officer would then serve the prisoner for us and confirm by email when this had been done.

 

Respondent fails to attend the meeting

A prisoner is not ‘required’ to attend a legal visit meeting, and can refuse to attend. In these cases we will speak to prison staff to investigate alternative options for service. We have on occasion been escorted onto the wing to serve the prisoner in their cells.

 

Prison rules and requirements can change from prison to prison, and from month to month, and it is impossible to know what, if any, challenges we may face until we try and book a visit. Our experienced team will liaise with the prison to do everything possible in order to facilitate service.

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