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In the last three years, more than 100 miscarriages of justice have been quashed following CCRC referrals
The first step in challenging a conviction or sentence is typically applying directly to the Appeal Courts. If that has been unsuccessful (or if you pleaded guilty in a Magistrates' Court), you can apply for a CCRC review of your case.
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Call for new research proposals 

Do you have an idea for research that would benefit the criminal justice system or the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC), the body that investigates possible miscarriages of justice?

The CCRC’s Research Committee is now inviting proposals for research projects.

Projects can be of any length and on any subject provided the research is of arguable benefit to the CCRC and to the wider criminal justice system. Any proposal must be at PhD level or above and the CCRC is unable to offer funding.

A CCRC spokesman said: “The CCRC seeks to stimulate serious independent academic research that will benefit the criminal justice system.

“Past research projects have looked at subjects including the potential impact of legal aid cuts and the criminalisation of refugees, and current research includes work on digital evidence, human trafficking, and the experiences of applicants to the CCRC.

“We have some suggestions for potential areas of research, but we welcome any proposal that might fit our criteria.”

Successful researchers will have access to a unique set of data relating to applications to the CCRC to review convictions and/or sentences.

The CCRC can also provide successful researchers with contact details for sources of data, support for funding applications, and publication of resulting work on its website and, where appropriate, reference to relevant findings in its annual report.

The CCRC will also report any relevant findings to the appropriate public bodies and agencies as part of its remit to disseminate such information to key stakeholders to improve the Criminal Justice System to prevent miscarriages of justice. 

The CCRC would be particularly interested in any research proposals which relate to the following subjects: 

  • Why do many CCRC applicants not exhaust their appeal rights either before or after an application to the CCRC?  
  • Private prosecutions and whether the existing safeguards are sufficient to guard against the risk of miscarriages of justice 
  • The admissibility of expert scientific and medical evidence either at trial or on appeal 
  • Issues of race and ethnicity in the Criminal Justice System 
  • Neurodiversities as new evidence relevant to the safety of convictions 
  • Legal aid and expert evidence – the effect of legal aid cuts on the ability of CCRC applicants to explore new expert evidence 
  • Joint enterprise prosecutions/gang related evidence and race 
  • Retention of documents by public bodies – the current rules- suitability and compliance? 
  • Historical sexual abuse cases 
  • Coronavirus pandemic and whether the associated restrictions affected the fairness of trials / safety of convictions (both Crown Court and Magistrates’ Court convictions).

The deadline for the submission of an initial proposal is close of business on Monday 11 September 2023. Successful applicants will then be asked to submit a full proposal.

The CCRC will hold an information webinar on 21 July 2023 at 11am regarding processes and data.

Please email proposals to:

Further details can be found on the CCRC website and an information leaflet is also available.

Notes to editors

  1.  The CCRC is an independent body set up under the Criminal Appeal Act 1995. It is responsible for independently 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.  
  2. There are currently 11 Commissioners who bring to the CCRC considerable experience from a wide variety of backgrounds. Commissioners are appointed by the monarch on the recommendation of the Prime Minister in accordance with the Office for the Commissioner for Public Appointments’ Code of Practice.  
  3. The CCRC usually receives around 1,400 applications for reviews (convictions and/or sentences) each year. Since starting work in 1997, the CCRC has referred around 3% of applications to the appeal courts.  
  4. The CCRC 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”.  
  5. If a case is referred, it is then for the appeal court to decide whether the conviction is unsafe or the sentence unfair.  
  6. More details about the role and work of the Criminal Cases Review Commission can be found at The CCRC can be found on Twitter @ccrcupdate and Instagram the_ccrc