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After applying and keeping in touch

Find answers to our most common queries about the application process and how we keep in touch.

Your questions answered

What we do to investigate your case

The CCRC was created specially to review cases where someone says they have been the victim of a miscarriage of justice. We have special legal powers under section 17 of the Criminal Appeal Act 1995 which mean we can get any information that we need from any public body in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. This means that we can get sensitive information from organisations like social services, the armed forces and intelligence agencies. We can obtain material that the police and the prosecution did not have to disclose to the defence (including Public Interest Immunity or PII material) and information from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority and others. 

We will use our special legal powers to get the information we think we need to review a case. We may use any information to review a case. We will always be very careful about releasing sensitive information to anyone outside the CCRC.

Do some cases get priority?

We look at cases in the order in which they arrive.

We do deal with the cases of people in prison before those of people who are out of prison or who didn’t go to prison. If you received a life sentence and are out on licence, we will treat you in the same way that we would treat someone who is in custody.  

We also deal with cases of people under 21 as a priority.

There may be special reasons why a particular case should be looked at more urgently.  These special reasons can be things like concerns about the health of the person applying, a serious illness affecting a potentially important witness, or something affecting how long evidence may last.  The time to tell us about any special reasons in your case will usually be after we have written to you to say we will be reviewing your case.

Will you investigate everything I think it should?

We will look carefully at all the points made by an applicant or their representative. We will decide what enquiries we think are needed in each case. We will consider requests for particular investigations, but we will only carry out work if we think it will help the review. Our decisions about what investigations to do are always based on the relevance and potential evidential value of the work in question.

Who will decide on my case?

Our Commissioners make the decision whether to send a case back to the appeal court. Our Commissioners come from a range of professional backgrounds. Many are legally qualified.

All have been chosen because of their experience. All have proven ability to make important decisions in complicated matters. Commissioners are appointed by The Queen on the advice of the Prime Minister.

How long will it take?

How long your case takes will depend on lots of things. A straightforward review might only take a few weeks. A more complicated review can take many months.

How can I contact you?

You can ring or email us – but we prefer to have things in writing. This is because it gives us a clear record of everything so we can go back to it when thinking about your case. Our details are in the Contact us page

Can I email you?

You can only contact us by email if you have scanned in your signed application form. You might prefer to use our online application form. After you have applied, you can contact us by email us about your case.

Will you visit me?

In most cases we can find out everything we need to in writing, or on the phone. If we think we need to talk to you face to face we can arrange a video conference or meeting with you.

We do not usually receive visitors at the CCRC office. If we decide that we do need to meet you, we will agree the meeting in advance.

What if you decide not to send my case for another appeal?

If you think you have not been treated fairly, you can make a formal complaint to the CCRC.

You can complain up to three months after we have closed your case. We will look at how the CCRC has behaved. We cannot review your case again under the formal complaint process.

If you think that there is something wrong with the way we made our decision, you can apply to the Administrative Court for judicial review. You do not have to complain to us before doing this. You should be aware that there are time limits in the judicial review processes.

You should seek independent legal advice before pursuing this route.

You can reapply to the CCRC. If you have some significant new evidence or argument
which has not been considered at trial, on appeal or in any earlier applications to the CCRC you can make a reapplication. You will need to complete a new form to tell us what is new.

You also need to tell us why it wasn’t included in your earlier application.

If you review my case, will that stop my deportation?

Applying to us does not give you an automatic right to have deportation proceedings suspended. If we refer your case for an appeal, then your deportation may be stopped until the appeal is finished. If you are deported after you have applied, we can review your case. You must provide us with a contact address or email address to do this.

Can my prison sentence be increased if I apply to you?

A prison sentence cannot be increased if you make an application to the CCRC. A sentence also cannot be increased if we send a case back to the appeal court.

Where can I find more information about you and how it works?

You can read more in our About us section. There is detailed information about us the CCRC in a series of documents on our website. These are called formal policies. You can download them by going to our casework policies page. You can also get them by writing to us.