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Can I apply?

Anyone can apply if they believe they have been wrongly convicted of a criminal offence or wrongly sentenced.

You must have been convicted 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?

It is free to 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. We accept 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 very special reasons.  We call these “exceptional circumstances”.

What are ‘exceptional circumstances’?

Exceptional circumstances are very rare. There must be a good reason why you did not appeal.  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 is not an exceptional circumstance?

Here are some examples:

  • You forgot to appeal or have missed the deadline. In those situations, you can still ask the court for an appeal. This is called 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 about appealing in the usual way?

if you were convicted in a Crown Court useful information about appealing can be found in a booklet called ‘Appealing a conviction or sentence to the Court of Appeal – help for applicants’. Copies of this should be in your prison library. You can find out more by downloading a booklet and the forms you need. You can get a paper copy of the booklet and forms by calling the Criminal Appeals Office on 020 7947 6011.

The charity JUSTICE also has a helpful booklet called ‘How to Appeal’. This deals with appeals in Crown Court cases.

Find out more information about appealing in relation to magistrates’ court cases.