House of Commons Library

Prisoners' voting rights (2005 to May 2015)

Published Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Prisoners serving a custodial sentence do not have the right to vote under UK law. Prisoners on remand are able to vote under the provisions of the Representation of the People Act 2000. This Standard Note provides a narrative of events from the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) on 6 October 2005, in the case of Hirst v United Kingdom (No 2), to the May 2015 General Election.

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Prisoners serving a custodial sentence do not have the right to vote under UK law. Prisoners on remand are able to vote under the provisions of the Representation of the People Act 2000.

This Standard Note provides a narrative of events from the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) on 6 October 2005, in the case of Hirst v United Kingdom (No 2), to the May 2015 General Election.

For an analysis of recent developments, the House of Commons Library Briefing Paper, Prisoners' voting rights: developments since May 2015, covers the period from May 2015.

For information about the European Convention on Human Rights and compliance with the Court’s rulings see Library Standard Notes SN/IA/5936, The European Convention on Human Rights and the Court of Human Rights: issues and reforms, and SN/IA/5941, European Court of Human Rights rulings: are there options for governments?

Commons Briefing papers SN01764

Authors: Isobel White; Alexander Horne

Topics: Elections, Electoral franchise, General elections, Human rights, Prisons

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