Completed Research on the CCRC
This section lists, and where possible provides links to, completed research projects that have involved access to CCRC casework files and/or data. When publication is pending, an abstract or summary will be supplied where possible.
Reasons to Doubt: Wrongful Convictions and the Criminal Cases Review Commission by Carolyn Hoyle and Mai Sato.
This book is the result of a study over several years by Professor Carolyn Hoyle from Oxford University Centre for Criminology. Professor Hoyle and her team had access to CCRC casework files as well as to staff and Commissioners. Through in-depth analysis of case files and interviews the authors scrutinize the Commission’s operational practices, its working rules and assumptions, considering how these influence its understanding of the real possibility test. The book was published in February 2019 by Oxford University Press. More details can be found here.
Professor Carolyn Hoyle relied in part on her research at the CCRC for her chapter Compensating Injustice: The Perils of the Innocence Discourse in Young, S.M., Hunter, J., Roberts, P., and Dixon, D (eds), The Integrity of Criminal Process: From Theory into Practice, (Hart 2016). Professor Hoyle’s chapter is reproduced here by kind permission of Hart Publishing. Details of The Integrity of Criminal Process: From Theory into Practice, can be seen here.
The Court of Appeal and the Criminalisation of Refugees by Yewa Holiday, Elspeth Guild and Valsamis Mitsilegas
This independent research project, invited by the CCRC, examines the situation of refugees in England and Wales who are prosecuted to conviction for irregular migration in circumstances which are contrary to the mandatory requirement in international refugee law that refugees not be penalised for irregular entry or presence in a country.
Between 2005 and 2016, the CCRC referred close to 60 such cases for appeal; around one third were referrals to the Court of Appeal.
In 2016, The Court in R v YY and Nori  EWCA Crim 18 (‘Nori’) stated that refugees who had been convicted of offences of irregular migration but who had not appealed their convictions and were now out of time to do so need no longer apply to the CCRC.
Instead refugees in this position could go straight to the Court of Appeal. The Court also suggested that the CCRC ought to change its policy on exceptional circumstances as in the Court’s view, the CCRC appeared to be applying exceptional circumstances as ‘a matter of routine’. The CCRC changed its policy on exceptional circumstances after the Nori case. The research question – Does the approach of the Court of Appeal after R v Nori protect refugees from criminalisation? – investigates whether refugees are appealing direct to the Court and the outcomes; and evaluates the impact of Nori on refugees and on the decision-making of the CCRC and the Court. The CCRC identified the research topic as one that is important to its functioning as a reviewer of miscarriages of justice. The paper, ISBN 978-1-5272-3266-2, was published by the CCRC in November 2018. The Commission’s response to the paper can be seen here.
The Criminal Cases Review Commission Last resort or first appeal? An examination of the CCRC’s discretion to refer cases not previously appealed by Professor Jacqueline Hodgson, Dr Juliet Horne Dr Laurène Soubise.
The CCRC Research Committee agreed in November 2016 to a No Appeal project by Warwick University looking at the high number of applications to the CCRC from individuals who have not appealed their convictions or sentences (no appeal cases) before applying. Published November 2018.
The brief study was focussed on establishing whether any parallels can be drawn between how the Court of Appeal (CoA) deals with cases that it hears upon referral from the commission (“referral cases”) and those appeals that it deals with in the normal way (“direct appeals”).
A Plea of Convenience: An examination of the guilty plea in England and Wales by Dr Juliet Horn, 2017, University of Warwick.
Examines the extent to which the criminal justice system creates a significant risk that innocent defendants will plead guilty and then fails to offer an adequate remedy.
Wrongful Convictions of Refugee and Asylum Seekers: Responses by the Criminal Cases Review Commission, 2017, by Dr Mai Sato, Professor Carolyn Hoyle and Naomi-Ellen Speechley. This article was published in  Criminal Law Review 106. A summary can be seen here.
Article 31(1) of the Refugee Convention and the Criminalisation of Refugees in England and Wales by Dr Yewa Holiday. Dr Holiday has written a book based on her Doctoral thesis. That book, called The Criminalisation of Refugees in England and Wales in the context of Article 31(1) of the 1951 Refugee Convention, is due for publication in 2018. Dr Holiday has provided this summary.
Wrongful Convictions – Dr William Murray Schmidt. Deposited in the University of Cambridge Library in 2015. This research explores, through the analysis of CCRC casework, the causes of wrongful convictions and looks at what factors statistically predict the Commission’s referral of a conviction for appeal and at what factors predict an appellate court quashing a conviction following Commission referral. Dr Schmidt aims to have published in 2017/18 an academic article based on his CCRC research. In the meantime, a summary of Dr Schmidt’s research can be seen here.
A critical evaluation of the utility of using innocence as a criterion in the post conviction process – by Dr Stephen Heaton of University of East Anglia published 2014/15. An extensive study exploring the basis of the Commission’s decisions to refer conviction cases and the Court of Appeal’s subsequent appeal decisions.
Correction of Miscarriages of Justice in New Zealand and England – Dr Malcolm Birdling, published 2012. A comparative study of hte mechanisms for correcting miscarriages in new Zealand and England after initial appeal rights are exhausted.
Fresh Expert Evidence in CCRC Cases by William E O’Brian Jr. Published 2011. Discusses the possibility of a further role for the Commission in cases involving expert evidence.
The extent and impact of legal representation on applications to the CCRC by Professor Jaqueline Hodgson and Juliet Horne, Published 2009. Examines the extent to which applicants to the CCRC are legally represented and the impact this representation has on the outcome of the case. Updated?