The Role of the Joint Committee on the Draft Voting Eligibility (Prisoners) Bill

The Joint Committee has been appointed to consider and report on the draft Voting Eligibility (Prisoners) Bill, which was published in November 2012.

The draft Bill responds to the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights in the case of Hirst v The United Kingdom that the UK’s current blanket ban on prisoners voting contravenes the “right to free elections” set out in the European Convention on Human Rights. The draft Bill sets out three options: confirmation of the existing blanket ban, or more limited bans, in respect of prisoners sentenced to terms of imprisonment of more than either four years or less than six months.

The Joint Committee on the Draft Voting Eligibity (Prisoners) Bill consists of 12 members appointed from both the House of Commons and the House of Lords. It will take written and oral evidence and make recommendations in a report to both Houses.