Decisions about whether or not cases can be referred are always taken by one or more of our Commissioners who are chosen for their professional experience and ability to make important decisions in complicated matters. Cases are generally passed to Commissioners on a ‘cab rank’ basis. All our Commissioners decide all types of cases. Commissioners are appointed by the Queen on the recommendation of the Prime Minister. Each is appointed for a period of up to five years and can, if re-appointed, serve for a maximum of ten years. Our Commissioners are:
The Chair – Richard Foster CBE
Richard Foster took over as Chair of the CCRC in November 2008. He was Chief Executive of the Crown Prosecution Service from 2001 to 2007 and is currently Chair of the Refugee Council. He was Director, Welfare to Work Delivery, responsible for New Deals from 1998 to 2001 and is a former Director of the Employment Service in the Department for Education and Employment.
He was also First Secretary (Stockholm) with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office from 1981 to 1984 and was Principal Private Secretary to the Minister of State, Department of Employment. Mr Foster was educated at Devonport High School for Boys and at Pembroke College, Cambridge.
joined the then Greater Manchester Probation Service in 1984 and worked in both an operational and managerial capacity before leaving as Assistant Chief Probation Officer to join HM Inspectorate of Probation in 1998. As an inspector, she led the inspection Towards Race Equality, examining institutional racism within the probation service. She subsequently was appointed as HM Assistant Chief Inspector and was responsible for setting up the first multi-inspectorate joint inspection programme examining the work of the youth offending teams. She has led the inspectorate in an interim capacity as Chief Inspector since August 2011. Whilst in the inspectorate, Liz has also undertaken several short placements in Jamaica, advising the Jamaican Government on the implementation of inspection arrangements, work with women who offend and the development of a youth justice strategy.
David James Smith
is an award winning journalist and author. He has written extensively about crime and criminal justice issues, conducting detailed investigations into some of the most high profile cases of recent years.He has written five non-fiction books including The Sleep Of Reason – The James Bulger Case and Supper With The Crippens about the Edwardian murderer Hawley Harvey Crippen. David’s longform journalism for The Sunday Times Magazine won him Broadsheet Feature Writer Of The Year at the British Press Awards in 2011 and again in 2012.
qualified as a solicitor in 1983. After 27 years at Linklaters, she retired as a partner in June 2011. She sits as a Recorder (Crime and Civil) and as a High Court Deputy (QBD and Administrative Court).
In January 2012, Alexandra was appointed Solicitor Commissioner of the Judicial Appointments Commission. She is also Chair of Prisoners’ Education Trust. She recently stepped down after 11 years as Chair of Amnesty International Charity Limited. Alexandra is past Master of the City of London Solicitors’ Company (2008-09) and past President of the City of London Law Society (2008-09).
She is married with two daughters and lives in central London.
Dr Sharon Persaud
was a solicitor & partner at Bindman & Partners, practising exclusively in criminal defence. In 2010, she became a specialist appeals lawyer in the Criminal Appeal Office at the Court of Appeal (Criminal Division.) She was an independent peer reviewer for the Legal Services Commission and has lectured on criminal law, evidence and procedure. She has a doctorate in law and sociology.
Andrew Rennison MSc.
was appointed by the Home Secretary in February 2008 as the first Forensic Science Regulator. His principal role is to set and monitor the quality standards for forensic science in the criminal justice system. In December 2009 the role was extended when he was appointed to advise the government on the regulation of surveillance camera systems, leading to his appointment as the Surveillance Camera Commissioner in September 2012. Prior to moving into regulation he completed a 30 year career with the police. He holds a Master of Science degree in psychology and an honorary Doctor of Science degree from the University of Bournemouth.
is a very experienced criminal defence solicitor who has worked in leading practices in London and Bristol specialising in complex cases and organised crime. She has previously served as an independent peer reviewer for the Legal Services Commission. In the last four years she has had an exclusively appellate practice and has supervised her firm’s Appeals Unit.
is currently a Commissioner of the Judicial Appointments Commission. He is also a member of the Bar Standards Board Equality and Diversity Committee. He has served as a BBC Governor, as Deputy Chair of the Commission for Racial Equality and as Chair of the Heart of Birmingham Primary Care Trust. He has also sat on a number of other governing bodies including the National Gallery and the Tenant Services Authority. Ranjit Sondhi is a CBE.
Stephen Leach CB
is a retired senior civil servant and was Chair of the Northern Ireland Criminal Justice Board from 2000 to 2009. He is a Non Executive Director of the Northern Ireland Health and Social Care Board (chairing the Board’s Audit and Governance Committees) and a Parole Commissioner.
Learn more: Our history