CCRC publishes annual report

The latest Annual Report and Accounts of the Criminal Cases Review Commission was laid before Parliament on 3rd July 2014.

The CCRC Annual Report and Accounts 2013/14 sets out facts and figures in relation to the performance and finances of the independent public body responsible for investigating alleged miscarriages of justice.

In his foreword to the annual report, Commission Chair Richard Foster comments on the trends in casework over the past year and on the Commission’s finances. He also looks forward and promises that the orgainsation will keep a “weather eye” on cases in the coming years to see whether cuts to criminal legal aid have an impact on the number or type of cases that the Commission refers for appeal.

He said: "Looking to the future, one of the things that we will be watching closely in the coming years is the extent to which the recent and controversial changes to the criminal legal aid regime will impact on the work of this Commission… [  ]…We will be keeping a weather eye on the applications we receive in the next few years to see whether cuts to criminal legal aid have a discernible impact on the number or type of cases that we refer for appeal."

The Commission’s Annual Report and Accounts for 2013/14 was laid before both Houses of Parliament on Thursday 3rd July. Copies can be seen and downloaded free of charge by going to www.ccrc.gov.uk. Printed copies can be ordered from The Stationary Office. The document is HC 207 and the ISBN number is 978-1-4741-0511-8.

This press release was issued by Justin Hawkins, Head of Communication, Criminal Cases Review Commission, on 0121 233 0906.

Notes to editors

  1. The Commission’s Annual Report and Accounts are presented to Parliament by the Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice in pursuance of paragraph 8(3) of Schedule 1 to the Criminal Appeal Act 1995 and by the Comptroller and Auditor General in pursuance of paragraph 9(4) of Schedule 1 to that Act. It is also presented to the Northern Ireland Assembly under paragraph 8(4) of the Criminal Appeal Act 1995 by the Department of Justice.
  2. The Criminal Cases Review Commission is an independent body set up under the Criminal Appeal Act 1995. It is responsible for reviewing suspected and alleged miscarriages of criminal justice in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.  It is based in Birmingham and is funded by the Ministry of Justice.
  3. There are currently 12 Commissioners who bring to the Commission considerable experience from a wide variety of backgrounds. Commissioners are appointed by the Queen on the recommendation of the Prime Minister in accordance with the Office for the Commissioner for Public Appointments’ Code of Practice.
  4. The Commission usually receives around 1,500 applications for reviews (convictions and/or sentences) each year.  Our long term referral rate is around 4%, which means around one in 25 of all applications are referred to the appeal courts.
  5. As specified in the Criminal Appeal Act 1995, the Commission considers whether, as a result of new evidence or argument, there is a real possibility that the conviction would not be upheld were a reference to be made.  New evidence or argument is argument or evidence which has not been raised during the trial or on appeal.  Applicants should usually have appealed first. A case can be referred in the absence of new evidence or argument or an earlier appeal only if there are "exceptional circumstances".
  6. If a case is referred, it is then for the appeal court to decide whether the conviction is unsafe or the sentence unfair.