Andrew Sperling

Andrew specialises in Judicial Review, Parole Board advocacy and human rights. He has extensive practical experience of the criminal justice and penal systems and significant experience of conducting difficult, high profile judicial review challenges, test cases and appeals for more than a quarter of a century. 
He was a founder member of the Association of Prison Lawyers (APL) which was established in 2008 by a small number of practitioners and has grown to a membership of almost 400 members. He was instrumental in developing the organisation in size and profile. He was Chairman of APL between 2011 and 2013. He was a Finalist in the national Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year Awards in 2013.
In April 2014 he was commissioned to work on stakeholder engagement and governance projects for the Parole Board of England & Wales.
In 2017 he set up his own practice, SL5 Legal, of which he is the Managing Director. SL5 now operates as part of the Tuckers group.
He has provided training for the Parole Board, the National Autistic Society, the Bar Council and members of a new Conditional Release Board in the Cayman Islands. He is a member of the Advisory Board for the Legal Aid Practitioners Group, the Editorial Board of the Journal of Intellectual Disabilities and Offending Behaviour and a facilitator for the Law Society's Advocacy for the Vulnerable programme. 
He has successfully represented clients in the High Court, the Court of Appeal (both Civil and Criminal Divisions), the Supreme Court and the European Court of Human Rights. 
He has been interviewed by the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Radio 4 and LBC and has had articles published in The Guardian, The New Statesman and Byline Times.
Contributed to


ECHR, art 5(4)—rights and duties
Practice notes

This Practice Note explains the scope and impact of Article 5(4) of the European Convention of Human Rights (ECHR) on the rights of prisoners. It considers the scope of Article 5(4), procedural fairness (ie specific procedural guarantees for matters of deprivation of liberty which are distinct from the procedural guarantees of ECHR, Art 6), a prisoner’s right to an oral hearing and a speedy determination once proceedings are commenced, delay in the context of IPP prisoners (those serving a period of imprisonment for public protection), the requirement to provide a real opportunity for rehabilitation via eg offending behaviour courses and how the Secretary of State’s failure to provide access to relevant courses, may render a prisoner’s detention ‘unlawful’, damages or compensation which can be awarded for a violation of a prisoner's Article 5(4) rights, and issues under ECHR, Art 3 of Protocol 1.

Licence conditions
Practice notes

The Practice Note explains the licence conditions which may be imposed by the Parole Board, re-release following recall for determinate sentence prisoners, extended sentence prisoners, lifers and imprisonment for public protections (IPPs). It includes information on what the Parole Board must do in respect of giving reasons for its decision. It covers seeking recommendations from the Secretary of State on what matters should be included in a licence, re-release following recall in cases of both determinate and indeterminate sentences, the balance to be struck when deciding whether it is necessary for the prisoner to be detained in order to protect the public from serious harm (to life and limb) as well as the factual basis for the risk assessment.

Prisoner categorisation
Practice notes

This Practice Note deals with the law on prisoner categorisation. It covers categorisation of adult males serving determinate sentences, the over-arching principles of categorisation, the legal framework of categorisation, the process of categorisation for Category A prisoners, the process of categorisation for prisoners other than Category A or life sentence prisoners, the first formal review of Category A prisoners, subsequent reviews of Category A prisoners and reviews of non-Category A prisoners.

Release on temporary licence
Practice notes

This Practice Note provides an introduction to the system of release on temporary licence (ROTL), the types of ROTL which are available and the eligibility of adult prisoners for ROTL. It includes information on the appeal process and the offence which may be committed where a prisoner fails to return from a temporary licence.

Repatriation of Prisoners
Practice notes

This Practice Note explains the law concerning the repatriation of prisoners between the UK and overseas countries and territories governed by the Repatriation of Prisoners Act 1984 (RPA 1984) which has been in force since 15 April 1985. It considers warrants for the transfer of persons serving sentences between the UK and international prisons, either under treaty or bilateral agreement, and where consent of the prisoner is necessary as well as briefly considering where there is a legitimate expectation as to the process to be applied between states for prison transfers.

Other work

Categorisation of adult male prisoners—checklist

This Checklist summarises the different categories of adult male prisoners ranging from category A prisoners to E list prisoners.

Practice areas


  • Contributing Author

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