An evaluation of ‘No Appeal’ applications to the CCRC

Professor Jacqueline S. Hodgson & Dr Laurène Soubise
Criminal Justice Centre, School of Law, University Warwick.

Almost 50% of applications to the CCRC consist of ‘No Appeal’ (NA) cases. The Commission cannot refer a conviction to the Court of Appeal if there has been no appeal or leave to appeal has not been sought, unless there are exceptional circumstances justifying the reference. Exceptional circumstances are not defined in the Act. The Commission’s own definition of exceptional circumstances, therefore, and its expectations of how these circumstances might be established, perform an important gatekeeping role in managing these applications.

Given that these cases represent such a large portion of CCRC applications, it is important that the CCRC is able to deal with these cases effectively within the resources available, whilst also ensuring that applicants are not screened out of the process prematurely. Our research aims to provide information on the nature of NA cases that come to the CCRC and why there are so many of them. Applicants are encouraged by the CCRC to pursue their appeal, and this evaluation will track whether Court of Appeal processes facilitate this and whether there are other barriers, such as a lack of legal representation.

Having developed a template reflecting the issues outlined in the research questions, we have already collected data on 250 NA cases. We are currently in the process of sampling some non-NA cases, for comparative purposes, before beginning analysis at the end of the summer.

(This information was provided by Warwick University 31 July 2017.)