Update on CCRC’s review of disclosure

The CCRC has now completed phase one of the disclosure review announced on 25 July 2018. This update details the overall methodology and arrangements for the review, and sets out our proposed timescales for the remaining work on the review.

 

Methodology

The review will look at 306 rape cases which were closed by the CCRC between April 2016 and March 2018. For each case reviewed the CCRC will:

  • Consider the approach of and the interaction between the CPS and the relevant police force regarding disclosure in the prosecution itself.
  • Consider the CCRC’s own previous approach to the disclosure process in the prosecution in question. The CCRC’s previous approach to disclosure in these cases will be assessed against current best practice, as set out in the CCRC’s published casework policies and also in its latest internal guidance.

The review will be a substantial piece of work, which will be conducted in three phases:

Phase 1:

Each of the 306 cases will be the subject of an intial review of core documentation, to compile basic information about the prosecution and the previous CCRC review, and the extent to which disclosure featured as an issue in the case. The information from this exercise will then be collated, and any case considered to warrant closer attention will move to phase 2.

Phase 2:

The CCRC will take a sample of 20% of the 306 cases (61 cases) and conduct further more detailed investigations. The sample will include any cases identified in phase 1 as warranting closer attention.

Each phase 2 case will be reviewed in more detail, in line with the objectives identified above. At the start of phase 2 the CCRC will use its powers under section 17 of the Criminal Appeal Act 1995 to obtain the CPS and police files for each of the phase 2 cases. Once these files have been reviewed, the CCRC will consider whether any other materials are required, and will obtain those as necessary.

Phase 3:

The CCRC will report on its findings. We will, in a suitably anonymised way, publish the results of the disclosure review, and will address any learning points directly with the relevant Criminal Justice System organisation(s).

Once the results of the review are available, the CCRC will consider whether any further steps are necessary, for example (but by no means an exhaustive list) whether the CCRC needs to:

  • increase its sample size and look again at disclosure in a larger pool of cases.
  • move on to review cases featuring other types of offence, and/or
  • move on to review cases from a different time period. 

Staffing

A CCRC Commissioner will lead the review and will have overall control and responsibility. The Commissioner will lead a casework team comprising two CCRC Case Review Managers, an intern and a Casework Administrator.

 

Timeframe

24/09/18: Phase 1 completed.

26/10/18 Initial 10 phase 2 cases reviewed (1).

15/02/19: Remaining phase 2 cases reviewed.

29/03/19: Report on conclusions.

 

Guidance on disclosure for applicants

In light of the current high profile of disclosure issues, the CCRC has produced some specific words of guidance for applicants and potential applicants who think that disclosure may be an issue in their case. That guidance can be found here.

 

Next update

The CCRC will issues a further update on progress when the first ten cases of phase two have been considered.

 

(1) The CCRC will issue a further update on progress when the first ten cases of phase two have been considered. The Commission aims to complete the stages of review in the timeframe discussed here. Our ability to achieve those targets will depend in large part on the prompt compliance with our requirements for other bodies to preserve and supply relevant material under section 17 Criminal Appeal Act 995. We look forward to close cooperation with relevant bodies in the Criminal Justice System, and we believe that the above timeframe is achievable.