Since 1997, the Criminal Cases Review Commission of England, Wales and Northern Ireland has served as a state-funded post-conviction body to consider claims of wrongful conviction for those who have exhausted their rights to appeal. A meticulous organisation that has over its lifetime referred over 700 cases back to the Court of Appeal, resulting in over 60% of those applicants having their convictions quashed, it is nonetheless restricted in its response to cases by its own legislation. This shapes its decision-making in reviewing cases, causing it to be somewhat deferential to the original jury, to the principle of finality and, most importantly, to the Court of Appeal, the only institution that can overturn a wrongful conviction. In mandating such deference, the legislation causes the Commission to have one eye on the Court’s evolving jurisprudence but leaves room for institutional and individual discretion, evidenced in some variability in responses across the Commission. While considerable variability would be difficult to defend, some inconsistency raises the prospects for a shift towards a less deferential referral culture. This article draws on original research by the author to consider the impact of institutional deference on the work of the Criminal Cases Review Commission and argues for a slightly bolder approach in its work

wrongful conviction, criminal justice, Criminal Cases Review Commission, Court of Appeal, discretion
dx.doi.org/0.5553/ELR.000181, hdl.handle.net/1765/135556
Erasmus Law Review
Erasmus Law Review
Erasmus School of Law

Hoyle, C. (2021). The Challenges for England’s Post-Conviction Review Body. Erasmus Law Review, 13(4), 33–43. doi:0.5553/ELR.000181