Ian Brady, the Moors murderer, is launching a “totally unique” High Court fight for the right to have the lawyer of his choice representing him at a tribunal.
The serial killer, 79, who now uses the name Ian Stewart-Brady, last went before the Mental Health Review Tribunal (MHRT) in 2013 and asked for a move to a Scottish prison.
His request was rejected after Ashworth Hospital said he had chronic mental illness and needed continued care at the Merseyside unit.
A further review was due in September last year, but Brady refused to take part because solicitor-advocate Robin Makin, who has represented him for more than 25 years, was denied a legal aid contract.
Brady and Myra Hindley, who died in prison in 2002, tortured and murdered five children in the 1960s. Four of the victims were buried on Saddleworth Moor in the south Pennines.
He was jailed for three murders in 1966 and has been at Ashworth since 1985. He and Hindley later confessed to another two murders.
Brady’s legal team say he has been bedridden for the last couple of years or so.
“It is probably fair to say that his physical condition will not improve and he is terminally ill.
“He is in very poor physical health – he suffers from emphysema and has constant oxygen and a nebuliser four times a day.”
His case at the High Court in London is listed as “Stewart-Brady v Lord Chancellor”.
It was triggered when a bid to appoint Makin as Brady’s legal representative was blocked because his solicitors’ firm, E Rex Makin & Co, is not a member of the Law Society’s mental health panel.
Under legal aid rules, only members are entitled to a publicly funded contract in the mental health law category.
It is understood that the Lord Chancellor, Liz Truss, has taken the stance that “lawyer of choice” is not an absolute rule, and believes she would be acting ultra vires, or outside her powers, if she allowed Makin to have the contract.
Brady’s legal team is seeking permission to apply for a full judicial review, arguing that the Lord Chancellor should use her powers to “make arrangements” because the Brady case is “totally unique”.
They say the MHRT and Ashworth regard the case as unique.
They are expected to tell the court that Brady was reluctant to engage with the latest review but was persuaded to by Makin after “making it clear that the only legal representative he would have was Robin Makin”.