INUK’s Innocence Project Protocols
These Protocols set out the mimimum standards required of member innocence projects in the investigation of cases referred by INUK. They have been adapted from the model standards for live-client work that govern associates of the Clinical Legal Education Organisation (CLEO) and are in line with the Attorney General’s Pro Bono Protocols.
In summary, we believe that member innocence projects should work to agreed minimum standards.
This includes minimum standards for ‘client’ care that keeps in mind at all times the need to inform alleged innocent victims of wrongful conviction of the progress of their case. At a very basic level, this involves regular letters to ‘clients’ to update them on the progress of the investigation into their claim of innocence.
We further recommend that student investigators in member innocence projects follow some basic guidelines, including:
1. As a precursor to case work, they should first familiarise themselves with all of the materials that are available in the public domain on the basis that lack of knowledge of case facts will tend to induce lack of trust and credibility.
2. They should produce a timeline for the case – a detailed chronology of the incident, followed by significant events (hearings etc.) The timeline can be used as a tool to identify discrepancies or find problems with the case.
3. They should early on produce a list of key characters and the names and contact details of anyone who is involved in the case in any way.
4. All casework should be recorded in some form of case management system, listing all the documents on the case, where they are and what they contain. This aids the production of the required annual report to INUK on each case under investigation.
5. Before any approach is made to potential witnesses, innocence projects must seek consent from the ‘client’ and students must always be supervised by their staff director.