Five new Commissioners appointed to the Criminal Cases Review Commission

Five new Commissioners have been appointed to the Criminal Cases Review Commission.

CCRC Chair Richard Foster said: “I am delighted with these new appointments which are excellent news for the CCRC. They will add to the mix of skills and experience here and further strengthen the decision making function at the Commission.”

The new Commissioners are:

Rachel Ellis

Ms Ellis is currently an Ombudsman with the Financial Ombudsman Service working within the jurisdiction division of the Service. She has worked in a number of areas within the Service and has been involved in training adjudicators, external liaison and making policy decisions. Ms Ellis previously worked as a criminal barrister and was instructed to act on behalf of both the prosecution and defence in a comprehensive range of criminal proceedings. She represented a diverse range of clients including youths and clients with mental health problems and appeared in sensitive cases including sexual offences. During her time in Chambers, Ms Ellis also undertook a secondment with the Regulatory Team at the Nursing and Midwifery Council. This involved regularly appearing for the Council in complex and sensitive cases before the Conduct and Competence Committee and the Health Committee.

Jill Gramann JP

Mrs Gramann currently serves on the Sentencing Council of England and Wales as the lay judicial member. She has been a Justice of the Peace since 1990 and has held a number of posts within the magistracy including three years as a bench chairman. She was also a Non-Executive Director of Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust until July 2017 with specific portfolio responsibilities for adult mental health and patient and carer experience. Mrs Gramann has previously held posts as a Director and Trustee of disability charities BILD (British Institute of Learning Disability) and SCOPE. By profession, Mrs Gramann was a market research consultant with her own business for 30 years providing strategic guidance to both public and private sector organisations.

Linda Lee

Ms Lee is a solicitor specialising in regulatory and disciplinary law at national law firm Radcliffes Le Brasseur. Ms Lee is a Past President of the Law Society of England and Wales (2010-11) and is a Law Society Council Member. She has held various key roles at the Law Society including Chair of the Representation and Legal Affairs and Policy Board and Regulatory Affairs Board and is currently the Chair of the Regulatory Process Committee. She is a member of the Audit Committee and the Access to Justice Committee. She is also Chair of the Solicitors Assistance Scheme which provides advice and assistance to solicitors facing disciplinary proceedings. Ms Lee is a legal chair for the Taxation Disciplinary Board, the Phone-paid Services Authority, the Family Health Services Appeals Unit of the NHS Litigation Authority and the General Medical Council. She is also an independent panel member for HS2. She lectures and writes on legal and regulatory issues and is a director of the Incorporated Council of Law Reporting.

Jennifer Portway

Ms Portway is currently an Independent Member and Panel Chair on the Parole Board, a Specialist Member of the Criminal Injuries Compensation Appeal Tribunal, an Independent Member of the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service (Fitness to Practise hearings) and a Volunteer Member on Police Misconduct Hearings. Ms Portway is a solicitor (currently non-practising) and has previously held posts with the Crown Prosecution Service including Senior Crown Prosecutor and Senior Policy Adviser (national lead for victims and witnesses).

Robert Ward CBE QC

Mr Ward is a barrister who has had an extensive career as a Government Lawyer. Most recently Mr Ward led the legal branch at the Ministry of Defence during a period of substantial change and expansion. His specialism is national security law and he has participated in its development on a national and international basis. Prior to entering Government Service, Mr Ward was in independent practice and taught Criminal, Constitutional and Public Law at the University of Cambridge. He is co-author of a leading text book on sexual offences law and practice.

These appointments are subject to security clearance.

This press release was issued by Justin Hawkins, Head of Communication, Criminal Cases Review Commission, on 0121 633 1806 or e-mail press@ccrc.gov.uk

NOTES TO EDITORS

  1. The Criminal Cases Review Commission is an independent body set up under the Criminal Appeal Act 1995. It is responsible for reviewing suspected and alleged miscarriages of criminal justice in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. It is based in Birmingham and is funded by the Ministry of Justice.
  1. The new appointments bring to 14 the number of current Commissioners who bring to the Commission considerable experience from a wide variety of backgrounds. Commissioners are appointed by the Queen on the recommendation of the Prime Minister in accordance with the Office for the Commissioner for Public Appointments’ Code of Practice.
  1. The Commission currently receives around 1,500 applications for reviews (convictions and/or sentences) each year. Typically, around 4%, or one in 25, of all applications are referred to the appeal courts.
  1. The Commission considers whether, as a result of new evidence or argument, there is a real possibility that the conviction would not be upheld were a reference to be made. New evidence or argument is argument or evidence which has not been raised during the trial or on appeal. Applicants should usually have appealed first. A case can be referred in the absence of new evidence or argument or an earlier appeal only if there are “exceptional circumstances”.
  1. If a case is referred, it is then for the appeal court to decide whether the conviction is unsafe or the sentence unfair.