A.B. v. the Netherlands

(Prisons – Correspondence with lawyer)
European Court of Human Rights
29 January 2002


The applicant, Mr. B., was serving his prison sentence. Since the national law provided that the prisoners could not correspond with the former inmates, his correspondence with his representative, a former inmate of the prison, regarding proceedings before the European Court of Human Rights had been opened and withheld by the prison authorities although these letters were marked “from lawyer to client”. 


The applicant complained that the prison authorities had interfered with his correspondence with his lawyers in violation of his right to respect for his correspondence. 

Court's ruling

The Court emphasized that although it could understand that safety considerations may provide for a necessity to screen prisoners’ correspondence with former inmates, it could find no reasons for absolute ban of such correspondence. The Government had not presented any reasons for such interference than the existing law. Therefore the Court found a violation of the applicant’s right to respect for his correspondence.

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Last updated 16/07/2024