Justice hands over casework to criminal cases appeals body

Justice is winding down one of its core activities: the campaigns it has waged for 40 years against individual miscarriages of justice.

Instead the group will concentrate its limited resources on scrutinising the new Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC) to ensure it does its job effectively.

Justice legal officer Razia Karim said the setting up of the CCRC had prompted the group to change its approach to the large amount of individual casework it had traditionally handled.

Instead of pursuing individual miscarriage of justice cases – last year it handled 99 cases in detail – it will focus on issues such as disclosure, the right to silence and public interest immunity certificates.

Meanwhile, it plans to follow closely selected cases which have been referred to the CCRC, to ensure the body it campaigned long and hard for is functioning properly.

“We want to see how it interprets its statutory powers, whether it uses them widely and robustly, or it is too cautious,” said Karim.

Justice is also preparing to survey solicitors' attitudes to the CCRC.

Glenys Stacey, CCRC chief executive, welcomed Justice's move. In a prepared statement said she had met with it to discuss its plans. But Stacey warned that the CCRC was not permitted to release certain information, which will make external monitoring difficult.

However, Stacey pointed out: “We are providing Justice with details of our policies and procedures as they are developed, and we look forward to continuing to work with Justice on its detailed monitoring proposals.”

The CCRC has received 659 cases since its April opening, while another 300 cases have been transferred to it from the Home Office.

Among the high-profile miscarriages of justice Justice has helped to expose is the case of the Darvell brothers, whose conviction for a brutal murder in a Swansea sex shop was overturned by the Court of Appeal.