The Right to Counsel in Prison Disciplinary Hearings

Faculty Author Type

Emeritus Faculty [Michael Jackson]

Published In

University of British Columbia Law Review

Document Type


Publication Date



Prison Discipline; Right to Counsel; Correctional Law; Prisoners


In 1985 the Federal Court of Appeal, in the case of Re Howard and Presiding Officer of the Inmate Disciplinary Court of Stony Mountain Institution, ruled that in certain circumstances a prison had the right to representation by legal counsel in prison disciplinary hearings. This right flows from principles of fundamental justice now constitutionally entrenched in section 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Potentially, this is the most significant prison decision thus far rendered by a Canadian court. The purpose of this article is to locate the Howard decision within a dual framework of evolving correctional law and the daily practise of justice in Canadian prisons. In so doing the author provides a further opportunity to consider the crucial question of the roles of the law, the courts, and lawyers, within prison walls.