The Centre for Criminal Appeals is dedicated to challenging the recurrent and systemic unfairness of the criminal justice system by overturning unsafe convictions arising out of the courts of England and Wales. We identify and litigate criminal appeals cases that demonstrate the justice system’s failings and provide the hard evidence needed to achieve vital systemic reforms. While we register with the Solicitors' Regulation Authority as a not-for-profit law firm, we are working under the auspices of Scot Moncrieff and Associates' criminal appeals legal aid contract.
We are not just driven by what we do, but by how we are doing it. We use a methodology known as defence-initiated investigation, developed by attorneys defending people on death row in the USA, and which goes back to scratch with the evidence, carrying out boots on the ground investigation into DNA, CCTV, fingerprints, witnesses, the crime scene etc in search of fresh evidence. The effectiveness of defence initiated investigation will be demonstrated through casework, and by training and supporting others in the sector to utilise this tool.
We represent people in prison with serious convictions who have evidence to suggest that they did not commit them (currently under the auspices of Scott Moncrieff and Associates while we go through the registration process with the SRA and wait for the new legal aid contracts to be made available).
We highlight the issues of strategic importance that arise from these cases and seek systematic change in various ways, including submitting evidence to select committees and other similar inquiries, using our expertise to contribute to other strategic litigation, and publishing work on the issues.
Our third strand of work is that of training and educating the profession and others in the field. This is currently focused on a criminal appeals clinics programme that we are developing with a number of universities around England and Wales. We are also looking to develop the work we do with pro bono lawyers who take on criminal appeal cases, or who are interested in supporting our work.