CRIMINAL CASES REVIEW COMMISSION
For someone still fighting to overturn their conviction after an unsuccessful appeal, the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC) is their last chance.
The CCRC was set up in 1997 as an independent body to consider suspected miscarriages of justice and wrongful convictions. It also reviews sentences where it can be shown that a fresh point of law or fresh information exists relevant to the sentence passed that was not raised or available at the point of sentence.
You can only apply to the CCRC if all appeal avenues have already been exhausted, unless exceptional circumstances can be found for not having appealed previously. In other words, ordinarily you must have already appealed to the appeal court and had an appeal dismissed before you can then make an application to the CCRC.
The CCRC can refer a case back to the Court of Appeal if it concludes that the new evidence/information presented to it is such that there is a ‘real possibility’ that if the conviction is referred back to the court of appeal, the court of appeal would regard the conviction as unsafe. The CCRC does not apply a test of guilt or innocence, but instead considers the likelihood that the court of appeal would doubt the safety of the conviction and look to overturn it.
Applications to the CCRC require skill. In conviction cases, they require a forensic analysis of the earlier proceedings and carefully drafted written submissions.