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Legal correspondence between prisoners + solicitor

1 February 02

Guidance on addressing and sealing correspondence to prisoner clients

In 1988 the Scottish Prisons Service and the Law Society of Scotland reached an informal agreement about how correspondence to prisoners from their solicitors should be dealt with on receipt at Scottish prisons. Guidance was produced in the Journal at that time setting out the procedure to ensure that the confidentiality of correspondence between solicitors and prisoner clients is secured in the most effective way possible.  To ensure that the confidentiality of these communications is preserved, the Society has reproduced below the original guidance which remains good today.

When writing to a prisoner client the letter should be sealed in a plain envelope addressed to the prisoner.  That envelope should also bear the name, address and telephone number of the firm and a reference number, the words “legal correspondence” and the signature of the legal adviser or his/her assistant. Alternatively, this information could be contained in a covering letter to the prison authorities. In either case, the correspondence should be addressed to the Governor of the establishment concerned and on receipt at the prison the outer envelope would be opened and the inner envelope passed unopened to the prisoner.

This will ensure that legal correspondence between solicitors and their clients remain confidential.