Innocence Network UK (INUK) was established in September 2004 by Dr Michael Naughton, an academic expert on miscarriages of justice and wrongful convictions. It is a practical response to the limitations of the criminal justice system to overturn wrongful convictions identified in academic research. Put simply, there are many known causes of wrongful convictions to which innocent individuals can fall prey, both intentional and unintentional. However, neither the criminal appeals system nor the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC) can guarantee that all innocent victims of wrongful convictions will have their convictions overturned. In consequence, innocent people can languish in prison and some may never be released.
Important Note: For almost ten years between January 2005 until September 2014, INUK acted as an umbrella organisation that facilitated the establishment of, and supported the subsequent running of, 36 member innocence projects in the UK – 35 in UK universities and one in a corporate law firm. In 2014, however, lack of resources and a general lack of input and compliance by the majority of member innocence projects with the caseworking protocols prompted INUK to be restructured to revert back to its original form and for all efforts and energies to be focused on achieving its programmatic goals as an independent project for research and public engagement on wrongful convictions. It was also felt that the innocence projects that were set up under the auspices of INUK that were working well were sufficiently on their own feet and well equipped to operate as truly independent projects in their own right and this aspect of INUK’s original aims had been successfully achieved. Click here for more information on why INUK did this and why INUK ceased this role.
INUK has three broad interrelated educational purposes:
INUK provides access to a repository of academic researches on a range of different aspects relating to wrongful convictions and miscarriages of justice.
INUK employs an array of public engagement strategies to draw attention to the intentional wrongs and unintentional ‘errors’ of the criminal justice system that cause the wrongful conviction of the factually innocent and the limitations of the criminal appeals system and the CCRC to overturn convictions given to innocent individuals.
Overall, INUK seeks to influence public discourse, reforms of the criminal justice system and changes to prison and parole practices so that the factually innocent can overturn their convictions and/or make progress or achieve release from prison.
It is important to note that INUK does NOT undertake casework into alleged wrongful convictions, it does NOT give legal advice and it is NOT a campaign or victim support group.
However, if you feel that you have been a victim of a wrongful conviction and have exhausted the normal criminal appeal system (i.e. failed in your normal appeal) or had a refusal by the CCRC you can apply directly to the University of Bristol Innocence Project (UoBIP), also founded and directed by Dr Michael Naughton, for your case to be considered for investigation on a pro bono basis (free).
Please send a letter with a brief outline of your claim of innocence to:
Dr Michael Naughton
Founder and Director
University of Bristol Innocence Project (UoBIP)
University of Bristol Law School
Wills Memorial Building
Bristol BS8 1RJ
You will then be sent an introductory letter that sets out the scope of the University of Bristol Innocence Project (UoBIP) and a Preliminary Questionnaire to be completed and returned to the UoBIP at the above address.
UoBIP will assess if your case is eligible for investigation based on the details provided in your Preliminary Questionnaire