Helping the Innocent – Symposium on the Reform of the Criminal Cases Review Commission

Date:      30 March 2012
Time:      9.30 am – 5.00 pm
Venue:   Norton Rose LLP, London
Prices:    Members – £40-£50  / Non-members – £100 / Lawyers – £150 (5 CPD Hours).

Click here for programme.

Click here to book.

The Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC) is the public body established to review alleged miscarriages of justice. Set up under the Criminal Appeal Act 1995, the CCRC is the only gateway back to the Court of Appeal for convicted persons who have failed in their first appeal. 15 years since the CCRC began its operations there is a growing list of cases which have been refused by the CCRC despite serious doubts about the reliability of the evidence that led to their convictions. This has prompted a real concern amongst academics, criminal law practitioners, third sector organizations and ex-Commissioners at the CCRC that the body is an inadequate solution to the problem of wrongful conviction of the innocent and radical reforms to the body are urgently needed.

With the support of Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust, the Innocence Network UK is organising a Symposium which will be hosted by Norton Rose LLP in London. The Symposium will discuss how the CCRC should be reformed to ensure that it could better assist the innocent. The Symposium will be chaired by Dr Eamonn O’Neill, an award-winning investigative journalist who contributed to overturning the convictions of Robert Brown and Stuart Gair who each spent 25 and 11 years of wrongful incarceration respectively.

A report will be produced following the Symposium which will contain submissions by the speakers and other contributors.


   Dr Eamonn O’Neil (Chair of Symposium) –Dr O’Neill’s work on miscarriages of justice includes the 11 years he spent investigating the Robert Brown case which ended with a 25-year wrongful murder conviction being overturned in 2002. His work has been honoured in national and international awards. He was the first British journalist to be awarded an American IRE (Investigative Reporters and Editors) honour in the Special Award (Tom Renner Award) category for his lifetime’s investigative work on miscarriages of justice.

 Dr Michael Naughton – Dr Naughton is the Founder and Director of the Innocence Network UK (INUK). He established INUK in the School of Law, University of Bristol, in September 2004 as a practical response to the needs of alleged victims of wrongful conviction that he identified in his academic research. He has written extensively on issues related to miscarriages of justice and the wrongful conviction of the innocent for leading academic journals and is the Editor of Criminal Cases Review Commission: Hope for the Innocent?

  David Jessel – David Jessel was an investigative journalist and presenter for Channel 4’s Trial and Error and BBC’s Rough Justice. He went on to become a Commissioner at the CCRC before retiring in 2010. 

 Laurie Elks – Laurie Elks is a former Commissioner at the CCRC. He is also author of Righting Miscarriages of Justice? Ten Years of the Criminal Cases Review Commission

 Professor Richard Nobles– Richard Nobles joined Queen Mary University in September 2006 as a Professor in Law, having previously held the position of Reader in Law at the LSE. Together with his colleague David Schiff, he has written extensively on miscarriages of justice and the limitations of the CCRC. 


 Mark Newby– As a Solicitor Advocate, Mark Newby has overturned several high profile wrongful convictions, notably, the cases of Ian Lawless and Anver Sheikh who overturned his conviction on his third appeal.

Dr Andrew Green – Chair, United Against Injustice and INNOCENT which were established to provide support for alleged victims of miscarriages of justice.  


 Chris Mullin– Before commencing his long-standing career as a Labour MP, Chris Mullin was a journalist working for Granada’s World in Action. His investigations into the Birmingham Six’s convictions for IRA bombings became pivotal in securing their eventual release.

 Professor Michael Zander QC– As a leading academic on criminal justice, Professor Zander was a Member on the Royal Commission on Criminal Justice (RCCJ) whose Report in 1993 formed the blueprint for the creation of the CCRC. 

  Paddy Joe Hill– One of the Birmingham Six who was convicted of IRA-related bombings in Birmingham, Paddy Hill spent 16 years in prison before overturning his conviction in 1991. On the day the Birmingham Six overturned their convictions, the Royal Commission on Criminal Justice (RCCJ) was set up whose recommendations led to the establishment of the CCRC. 

 Susan May and Eddie Gilfoyle– alleged innocent victims of wrongful convictions, both Susan May and Eddie Gilfoyle have failed to overturn their convictions for murder despite presenting to the CCRC on multiple occasions evidence that strongly support their claims of innocence. 

 Bruce Kent– Chair of Progressing Prisoners Maintaining Innocence, Bruce Kent has been an active supporter of Ray Gilbert who has maintained innocence in prison for over 30 years. Ray Gilbert’s application was recently refused by the CCRC despite numerous flaws in the evidence that led to his conviction. 

 Gabe Tan– As Executive Director of the Innocence Network UK, Gabe Tan oversees all of the organisation’s casework, including eligibility assessment of applications from prisoners and the referral of cases to member innocence projects. She also assists with the day-to-day running of INUK, including executing INUK’s various policy/communication initiatives.

  Mark George QC – Mark George Q.C. is a highly experienced defence trial advocate of more than 30 years call. He has considerable experience in judicial review work relating to prison law and criminal law, including challenges to decisions of the CCRC.      




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