whole life tariff is a mechanism in British law whereby a prisoner is sentenced to remain in prison until his or
her death. It came into force in 1983 when the British Home
Secretary began to
set minimum terms that convicted killers had to serve before being
considered for release on life
licence. The intention of a whole life tariff was for a prisoner to spend an entire lifetime behind
bars without ever being released, or even, ever being
considered for release.
Only the Home
Secretary can grant a release to a prisoner
sentenced to a whole life tariff,
where whole life tariff are recommended by the law:-
Murder of two or more persons, where each murder
involves any of the following:
a substantial degree of premeditation or planning,
the abduction of the victim, or sexual or sadistic
(b) Child murder
if involving the abduction of the child or sexual or
(c) murder done for the purpose of
advancing a political, religious or ideological
(d) Murder by an offender previously convicted of
(e) Other offense if the court considers that the
seriousness of the offence (or the combination of the
offence and one or more offences associated with it) is
appeals by various people on the list have been made
over the years, all have failed.
January 2012, A case launched by thee of the killers
on the list, Bamber, Moore and Vintner, has failed in
the European Court.
Peter Moore and Douglas Vinter had argued that a
sentence which condemns them to die in prison amounts to
a breach of articles three, five and seven of the
European Convention on Human Rights.
The men argued
that condemning them to die in prison amounts to "inhuman
or degrading treatment". They also argued all
sentences should be reviewed regularly.
judges ruled that the whole life tariff is not "grossly
disproportionate" and that in each case London's
High Court had "decided that an all life tariff was
required, relatively recently following a fair and
detailed review of each case".