CJC members Jackie Hodgson, Juliet Horne and Laurene Soubise publish research report ‘The Criminal Cases Review Commission – Last resort or first appeal?’
The research examined the CCRC’s discretion to refer cases not previously appealed. The project analysed 250 No Appeal cases closed during four sample periods between 2010 and 2016, together with a smaller sample of 120 appealed cases for comparative purposes. The research concludes that, in its treatment of No Appeal cases, the CCRC is increasingly prioritising efficiency and consistency (explained by an overall concern of fairness, especially for those applicants who have already appealed their conviction) over a more humane and individualised approach and relying on the availability of appeal as justification for this approach. However, the CCRC’s legitimate concern to avoid usurping the appeal courts role and to deal with cases expeditiously must be balanced with its role as a safety net, particularly given that the appeal process is often not experienced as either accessible or fair and given the significant proportion of vulnerable applicants. The concern is that these applicants are currently in danger of falling through the criminal justice system’s safety net. The report can be accessed here.