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Applying to the CCRC

Applications to the CCRC are usually made after all other avenues have been explored.

There have to be exceptional circumstances to apply to us without having previously directly applied to the Court of Appeal.

Before you apply, we strongly recommend that you read about the CCRC’s application process. This will help you to understand how we work and how to make the best application possible.

Can I apply?

Anyone can apply if they believe they have been wrongly convicted of a criminal offence or wrongly sentenced in a criminal court in England, Wales, or Northern Ireland.

You can ask us to look at your conviction, or your sentence, or both. It is a free service and costs nothing to apply.

When should I apply to the CCRC?

  • You should apply to the CCRC after you have tried to appeal through the courts in the usual way
  • Appeals can be submitted even if you think you’ve missed the deadline
  • If you already lost your appeal but you still think you have been wrongly convicted or sentenced, you should apply to us for a case review

What if I have not appealed?

  • If you have not appealed through the courts in the usual way, we will usually write to explain that you need to go back and try to appeal
  • The CCRC accepts very few cases where people apply to us before they have tried to appeal. We can only refer cases in the absence of a prior appeal if there are exceptional circumstances

What is an ‘exceptional circumstance’?

  • Exceptional circumstances are very rare
  • There must be a good reason why you did not appeal and a good reason must be evident as to why you cannot appeal without our help
  • These circumstances are never automatic – we decide if there are exceptional circumstances based on the facts of each case

What are not exceptional circumstances?

  • You forgot to appeal or have missed the deadline. In those situations, you can still ask the court for an appeal (“appealing out of time”)
  • You received advice from your solicitor or barrister that you have no grounds for appeal. This does not stop you from appealing
  • You have been unable to get a solicitor or barrister to help you appeal. You can apply for an appeal yourself without legal assistance

Where can I find out more about appealing?

Before applying, please remember…

  • You must have been convicted in a criminal court in England, Wales or Northern Ireland
  • There must be new evidence or a new legal argument not already heard by the court
  • You can ask us to look at your conviction, your sentence, or both
  • This is your chance to tell us everything you think is wrong with your conviction or sentence
  • Someone else can apply for you. If so, we will contact you to check that you want us to investigate your case