Criminal Case Review Commission (CCRC)
If you believe that you have been wrongly convicted of a criminal offence, or wrongly sentenced, as long as you were convicted in a criminal court in England, Wales or Northern Ireland, you can apply to the CCRC to refer your case to a court of appeal.
If you have previously appealed your sentence or conviction and been unsuccessful, an application to the CCRC is the last line of appeal open to you, so it is crucial that you get the best legal advice available to you.
Draycott Browne employ dedicated experts and have a proven track record of success when it comes to lodging applications with the CCRC. If this is the right route for you, we will advise and work with you to ensure that your application gives you the highest possible chance of success.
Who are the CCRC?
The CCRC is the Criminal Cases Review Commission, an independent body set up to investigate cases where it is suspected that there has been a miscarriage of justice.
The Commission are completely impartial and have the power to obtain information from public bodies to further investigate your case. Their aim is to “investigate and identify potential miscarriages of justice and, in doing so, promote public confidence in the criminal justice system.”
What can the CCRC do for you?
The main role of the CCRC is “to investigate cases where people have been convicted and lost an appeal, but believe they have been wrongly convicted of a criminal offence.” If you have been convicted of a criminal offence and have lost your appeal, the CCRC are the only chance to have remaining to get your case referred back to the appeal courts. The CCRC will consider all the evidence and circumstances relating to your case, and if they feel that you have a good chance of getting a different outcome based on new information, they will send your case back to be re-examined in the appeal courts.
What do you need to have your case reviewed by the CCRC?
If you have not appealed in the usual way through the courts, the CCRC will ask you to appeal in the normal way first, before applying to them. If you have lost an appeal and now want to apply to the CCRC, applications need to be made in writing using the CCRC’s application form. You can fill in this form yourself, but it is strongly recommended that you work with a solicitor; the review process can be complicated and it’s important at this stage to give yourself the best chance of success.
Generally speaking, you cannot make an application to the CCRC unless you have been rejected by the Court of Appeal. The CCRC will not normally consider a case without solid grounds for a fresh appeal – disagreeing with the outcome of a trial is not in itself a reason to appeal. This means that unless new evidence has come to light since the original trial, or a whole new argument that has the potential to impact your case has since surfaced, the CCRC are unlikely to consider your case. The CCRC refers very few cases along so you need to ensure that applying is the right course of action, and that you maximise the chance of your appeal being successful.
The right solicitor will do everything that they can for you – they will help you to determine in the first instance whether applying to the CCRC is the right course of action for you. If they are confident that your application stands a good chance, they will help you to go through the evidence and to present your application. Draycott Browne employ expert solicitors who understand the CCRC application process and will give you the best chance to appeal your sentence or conviction.
What powers do the CCRC have?
Under the Criminal Appeal Act 1995, the CCRC have powers to obtain information from public bodies, including local councils, the CPS, and the police, which is often unobtainable by anyone else. This can turn up important evidence which may impact your case. They can request that documents pertinent to your case are presented and preserved. They have the power to re-interview existing witnesses who were involved in your trial, and also to interview new witnesses.
What if the CCRC think I have a good case?
If the CCRC think that there is a good chance that your conviction was unsafe and could be quashed, or that the sentence that you have been given could be changed, based on new evidence available, they will refer you back to an appeal court for re-examination. They will prepare a Statement of Reasons, outlining their reasons for doing so, and will give a copy to anyone who is likely to be involved in the proceedings. They also often issue a press release identifying the case and including their reasons for the referral.
The case will then be referred back and treated as any other criminal appeal. The CCRC may also share your details with a charity called the Miscarriage of Justice Support Service, who offer help to people who have been wrongly convicted.
Whilst it’s true that the Commission are very selective about the cases that they refer, the good news is that if they do refer your case, you have on average a 70% chance of your appeal being successful.
Where are appeals heard?
Where your appeal is heard will depend on where you were originally convicted and/or sentenced. If you were sentenced or convicted in a Magistrates’ Court, your appeal will be heard in the Crown Court. If you were convicted or sentenced in the Crown Court, your appeal will be heard by the Court of Appeal.
Is there a time limit on applying to the CCRC?
There is no time limit on applying to the CCRC. However, if your case is very old it can be more difficult, as papers and evidence may have been destroyed, and witnesses may no longer be available.
How long will it take?
Timescales are hard to estimate as each case is different. A straightforward review may only take a few weeks; a more complicated case can take many months, or even years. You will most likely have to wait at least 12 months before the CCRC review your application – your solicitor may be able to give you clearer guidance.
How can Draycott Browne help?
Having solid, experienced defence solicitors on your side can make all the difference to the potential success of your application to the CCRC. We will work with you to make sure that we fully understand all the aspects of your situation, collating evidence and formulating a strong and compelling application. We have a proven track record of gaining successful outcomes for our clients and will use our knowledge and experience to guide you through the process.
The CRCC Lawyers at Draycott Browne, are widely recognised as one of the North of England's leading team of criminal defence lawyers with specialist Criminal Case Review Commission expertise.
Contact us today by calling 0161 228 2244. If you would like us to contact you, simply fill in our online enquiry form and a member of the team will be in touch as soon as possible.
We are highly regarded nationally across the legal profession, and noted for consistently delivering positive results. Our team possess a breadth of technical knowledge and experience of the CCRC and will provide you with the expertise needed throughout the process.
Our team regularly act for clients in London and throughout Midlands and of course the North West including clients from Birmingham and Liverpool. By entrusting us, you can be assured that you will be working with a team of highly skilled and experienced CCRC Lawyers who have a thorough and comprehensive knowledge of the law.
Our legal team is available 7 days a week. For expert legal advice or representation, call Draycott Browne today on +44 (0)161 266 7086
When you are facing the stiffest challenge, you cannot afford to settle for anything less than Draycott Browne.