The Decision of the Commissioners

Direction to release

At the end of the hearing, if the panel is satisfied that the risk the prisoner would pose if he/she were to be released is no more than minimal, then it is required by law to direct that he/she should be released.  This decision may be taken by a majority but will be presented as the decision of the entire panel.  The Department of Justice must comply with the panel’s direction to release.

Decision not to release

If the panel is not satisfied that the level of risk the prisoner poses is minimal, it must make clear in its decision that no direction for release is being made.  The panel may recommend when the prisoner's case should be reviewed again and may also make recommendations as to what should be done during the course of his/her imprisonment in order to minimise the risk of harm posed by him/her.

Whichever decision the panel makes, it must give its reasons in writing. Neither the prisoner nor the ORU can appeal against the Commissioners’ decision though it is open to either party to seek to challenge it by way of judicial review.