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How the process works

Find out what happens to your application once we receive it at the CCRC.

What we do with your application

When your application arrives we check:

  • if you have already tried to appeal.
  • if you have applied to us before about the same conviction.
  • that we have the legal powers to deal with your case.

Every application form we receive is looked at carefully.

Visit our Can I Apply page to read more.

We carefully check every application

If you have not applied to us before and have already appealed and lost your appeal, then we start by collecting all the papers that we need. These are things like the files from the court where you were convicted. We also collect the papers from your first appeal.

We can’t start to make any decisions about your case until we have collected all the papers.

Once we have the papers we need to get started, we will look at your case to see what should happen next. At this stage we are looking to see what we need to do to get to the bottom of the issues that you have raised. It is therefore very important that you tell us everything you think we need to know about your case in your applicaiton form.

If we think that there are issues in your case that need further investigation, we will give your case to one of our Case Review Managers. These are the CCRC staff who carryout the investigations. We call the investigations ‘case reviews’.

At this point we will write to you and let you know what is happening.

The case review process

We may decide that your case cannot be reviewed. This might happen because we think that your application does not raise any significant new points that might allow us to send your case for an appeal. If we think that this is the case with your application, we will write to you to explain why.

If your case goes to a Case Review Manager, the decision about whether your case can be referred will be taken once the Case Review Manager has reviewed your case.

The Case Review Manager might think that there is nothing significant or new in your case to allow us to send your case to the appeal court. In this case they will ask a Commissioner to look at the case.

The Commissioner has two options open to them. They can make the decision not to refer or they can send your case to a decision-making committee.

The Case Review Manager might think that your case should be referred. The Case Review Manager will send your case to a decision-making committee.

A decision-making committee is made up of at least three Commissioners.
If we decide that your case cannot be sent to the appeal court, we will explain the reasons why the Commission cannot send your case for an appeal.

If we decide that your case cannot be sent to the appeal court, we will explain the reasons why the Commission cannot send your case for an appeal.

Where appropriate, you will be given time to respond to the decision document and will be sent a Provisional Statement of Reasons, which will allow you 28 days to respond to the points we have made. For further information see Extensions for Further Representations.

If we decide that your case can be referred, then we will issue a final Statement of Reasons. This will explain to you our reasons for referring your case. This Statement of Reasons will be sent to the Court of Appeal.

What if you haven’t appealed yet?

If you already have an appeal pending (i.e. you are waiting for your first appeal to come to court), we cannot review your case and we will write to you to explain this.

If you have not tried appeal in the normal way through the courts, we will treat your case differently. This is because the CCRC was created to deal cases where people have used up their normal rights of appeal. We can only consider “no appeal” cases if there are special reasons why you cannot appeal to the court. These special reasons are known as “Exceptional Circumstances”.  If there are special reasons why, we can look at the case even though there has been no earlier attempt to appeal but these are very rare.  In most cases we will have to tell the “no appeal” applicant that we cannot consider their case.  Those applicants are told to approach the courts to start an appeal in the normal way.

Details on how we deal with cases where the applicant has not already appealed (or applied for leave to appeal) is set out in the Commission’s Formal Policy on ‘Exceptional Circumstances’.

We call an application that is not your first application for a particular offence a re-application. For us to consider a re-application it must contain something new. If all the points that you make in your reapplication have already been considered, we will write to you to explain why we cannot accept your reapplication.  That decision will be final.  This applies if your points have already been made in an earlier application to us, or at trial or on appeal. 

The CCRC can only deal with convictions and sentences from the criminal courts of England, Wales, and Northern Ireland and from the Military Court and the Service Civilian Court.

This means that we cannot deal with immigration law, civil law and ASBOs.

Scotland has its own Commission, the SCCRC.

Support if our case is referred

The Miscarriages of Justice Support Service (MJSS) is a specialist service provided by RCJ Advice.  RCJ Advice is part of Citizens’ Advice. MJSS provide free, confidential and impartial advice and support for survivors of wrongful convictions.

They can provide advice and support in a number of areas including:

  • finding somewhere to live
  • establishing income / training
  • applying for National Insurance credits
  • registering with a GP and getting healthcare and counselling
  • opening a bank account and budgeting
  • support for family relationship issues
  • finding a solicitor to help with compensation claims.

They can also help with things like writing letters, filling in forms, making and attending appointments.

Contact the MJSS by emailing: MJSS@rcjadvice.org.uk

Or by writing to:

RCJ Advice
The Royal Courts of Justice
Strand
London
WC2A 2LL