Important note: Innocence Network UK (INUK) is no longer running. For further information click here and click here
Innocence Network UK (INUK) operated between September 2004 and July 2015. It was established because innocent people are routinely wrongly convicted and imprisoned in the UK and the way that the criminal appeal system and the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC) work means that those wrongful convictions can fail to be overturned. As such, innocent people can be, and are, languishing in prison unable to overturn their convictions, achieve their freedom and clear their names.
INUK was established with three purposes:
INUK educated widely on the potential of innocence projects in the UK in response to the apparent limitations of the criminal appeals system and the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC) in dealing with appeals and/or applications from alleged innocent victims of wrongful convictions and how such wrongful convictions might be successfully challenged and overturned.
INUK’s newsletter INQUIRY is a rich resource of articles on established and alleged wrongful conviction cases and guides on how to investigate and challenge alleged wrongful convictions from leading experts in the field, victims, practitioners and academics.
INUK’s main mission was to assist in the setting up, and subsequent successful running, of innocence projects in universities and beyond to investigate alleged wrongful convictions.
In practical term, INUK received all applications for assistance from alleged innocent victims of wrongful convictions and imprisonment, assessed them for eligibility (1. is it possible that the applicant could be innocent?; and, 2. is there anything that can be done to determine whether they are innocent or not?) and referred eligible cases to member innocence projects to further investigate identified lines of investigation that can settle the claim of innocence one way or the other.
36 Innocence Projects were established in the UK under the auspices of Innocence Network UK, 35 in universities and one in a corporate law firm, dedicated to investigating and overturning wrongful convictions.
It is important to note that if you do seek the services of one of the projects on the list that INUK helped to set up that: (1) some of these projects are no longer operating; (2) INUK does not vouch for any projects that are still operating; and, (3) INUK be held responsible or accountable in any way for their work and/or wider activities as they are no longer members of INUK.
Training and mentoring
To support its member innocence projects in investigating alleged wrongful convictions INUK provided:
- Training conferences and workshops on all aspects of understanding the causation of wrongful convictions and how they might be challenged and/or prevented.
- One-to-one mentoring sessions to help individual leaders in universities, law firms and/or third sector organisations to design and manage innocence project-type operations that investigate alleged wrongful convictions.
One-to-one training was delivered as a discrete half/full-day course, or as a comprehensive package of sessions over a number of weeks/months.
Tailored to individual needs, speakers, training and mentoring covered such things as understanding the law on criminal appeals and the law and working practices of the Court of Appeal (Criminal Division) and the Criminal Cases Review Commission, devising intake and eligibility systems for dealing with often mountains of applications, compliance with data protection law, office procedures and caseworking protocols, devising methods of investigation, team working and managing large teams of caseworkers, understanding evidence and its fallibilities and writing applications to the CCRC and/or SCCRC.