Prisoners’ contact with lawyers in legal matters

An inmate of Kumla prison had received a warning and asked to make a phone call to a lawyer. The prison refused on the grounds there was no active legal matter and decided that contact should take place by letter.

The Parliamentary Ombudsman understands that the inmate wanted to have legal representation in order to challenge a warning decision and the Ombudsman states that a legal matter did thus exist. In such cases, an inmate has the right to be represented by a lawyer and will normally need to speak to the lawyer. Furthermore, questions relating to a warning must be decided promptly. According to the Parliamentary Ombudsman, it was therefore unacceptable that the inmate was told to correspond by letter, and the institution is criticised.

In the decision, the Parliamentary Ombudsman emphasises that, similarly, an inmate who, for example, is considering taking legal action before a court or other authority may need to consult with a lawyer in order to decide whether or not to do so.

Date of decision: 2023-12-01