Criminal Cases Review Commission

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Martin Partington, when writing about the Criminal cases Review Commission, declared that “One of the most serious challenges facing the criminal justice system is ensuring that miscarriages of justice do not occur”, (Partington, Introduction to the English Legal System, Oxford University Press, 2012/13 (7th ed.) at page 135.

Critically consider the proposition that the Criminal cases Review Commission is routinely failing innocent people wrongly convicted of serious crimes and should, in the interests of justice and as a matter of some urgency, be reformed.

Introduction

Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC) is an independent body that was set up in March 1997 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, under the Criminal Appeal Act (CAA) 1995. This body in the past was an experiment which could challenge a criminal conviction or sentence after the court process has finished and it still exists in the present in the English Legal System. This Commission can refer possible cases of miscarriages of justice to the attention of the Court of Appeal to prevent the possibility from miscarriages of justice that had occurred in cases like the Birmingham Six and the Tottenham Three. However, the Criminal Cases Review Commission does not have main power to carry out investigation and instead they rely on the police for this aim; this is doubtful whether the commission is fully effective (Slapper, G. and Kelly, D. 2012-2013).

Criticisms

As in the mentioned introduction, CCRC is the statutory body charge with investigating alleged and suspected miscarriages of justice and referring them back to the Court of Appeal if “it thought that there is a ‘real possibility’ that the case will not upheld or alternatively” (The Guardian, March 2012). Both the legislation and previous cases have shown the Commission does not apply a test of guilt or innocence, yet the likelihood that the Court of Appeal would doubt the safety of the conviction.

During the time CCRC was...
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