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Scotland: Prisoners win in "Slopping Out" ruling

26th September 2011

Three former prisoners in Glasgow's Barlinnie Prison have pursued damages over the practice of slopping out, claiming that this practice is in violation of the European Convention on Human Rights, which was incorporated into Scottish law via the Scotland Act 1998.

Despite being subjected to this practice between 1999 and 2002, the men's claims were not pursued until 2006 and 2007, which is longer than the time limit of 5 years in damage claims.  As such the case was rejected but in the Appeal Court it was ruled that such time limits do not apply in cases surrounding Human Rights issues and therefore the case should now return to the Glasgow Sheriff Court for further consideration. The Scottish Prison Service has yet to decide whether or not to appeal this decision.

It is believed that this ruling could affect as many as 1,700 claims, which if successful could reach a figure of £3 million in damages.

Following on from the Scottish ruling, the first ever case to rely on the European Convention on Human Rights as a way to abolish the practice of slopping out has been heard in the English Courts. If successful, this case, which is headed by three former prisoners of HMP Albany, could result in as many as 300 similar cases.

Read more:

  • Read about the Scottish case here.
  • Read a BBC Article on Barlinnie prisoners here.
  • Read an article on the case in the English Courts here.