Public launch of the Westminster Commission report – ‘In the Interests of Justice’
The launch event of the Westminster Commission’s report, In the Interests of Justice, featuring the Westminster Commissioners and a high profile panel, is going ahead on Zoom on Thursday 18 March at 17.30. Register at: https://parliament-uk.zoom.us/meeting/register/u50tdu6qrj4tEtKAAh3HTd1andeIhbmzJ1_l.
Strong participation among MPs is vital if the report is to reach its full potential for change to benefit the victims of wrongful convictions. Write to your MP and convince them to attend, join the APPG and take miscarriages of justice seriously using the email template available here.
Get your MP involved
Broad support for the inquiry’s recommendations is key to ensuring a healthy criminal justice system. Support the APPG and Westminster Commission inquiry by contacting your MP and convincing them to attend and become an APPG member.
- Why? MPs of all parties need to be involved in the APPG to help it thrive.
- How? Write or email to ask them to attend events and to consider becoming a member of the group.
- To find out who your MP is, and their contact details, visit this link.
- A template for a letter or email can be downloaded here.
- Remember to include your own address when you write to your MP so that they know you live in their constituency.
Please get in contact by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to present your research, speak at an APPG event, or have suggestions for issues that you would like to be raised at a future event.
Past APPG events
A look back on the past year of events hosted by the APPG on Miscarriages of Justice https://t.co/JYkCN2eQ2m
— APPG on Miscarriages of Justice (@APPGMJ) December 20, 2018
February 2020: Forensic Science and Miscarriages of Justice
Defective forensic science is one of the biggest causes of miscarriages of justice today. Since the abolition of the government-funded Forensic Science Service, vital forensic investigation is now entrusted to private laboratories, which can put justice after commercial viability. On 4 February 2020, the APPG heard from Louise Shorter (Inside Justice) and Professor Carole McCartney (Northumbria University), Dr Gillian Tully (Forensic Science Regulator), Professor Ruth Morgan (University College London), and Professor Angela Gallop CBE (Forensic Access).
A transcript of the event will follow.
February 2020: Inaugural meeting in the current Parliament
Minutes to be uploaded.
The APPG’s income and expenditure for 2018/19, which was formally approved at the meeting, is available here.
July 2019: Launch of the Westminster Commission on Miscarriages of Justice
May 2019: Visit to the CCRC
Members of the APPG on Miscarriages of Justice visited the Criminal Cases Review Commission in Birmingham. Thank you to everyone who sent in issues to raise or questions to the CCRC. The minutes of the visit are available here. Following the visit, several written questions were put to the CCRC by APPG members. The answers provided to those questions are available here.
April 2019: Business Meeting
Members of the APPG met to discuss the details of the upcoming Commission on Miscarriages of Justice and update colleagues on the recent work of the APPG. The non-verbatim minutes are available here.
Representatives from the APPG met with Minister Edward Argar to discuss the need for compensation and support for individuals who have been wrongfully convicted.
February 2019: Annual General Meeting
During the AGM, members looked back on what the APPG has achieved in the first year and elected a new set of officers. This was followed by a public event. The non-verbatim minutes are available here.
Meeting to discuss ending imprisonment for non-payment of council tax in England
On 17th January, APPG Chair Barry Sheerman MP met with representatives from the Civil Enforcement Agency and APPEAL to discuss how to work together to end imprisonment for non-payment of council tax in England.
Evidence now shows that year after year there have been significant numbers of miscarriages of justice with people being unlawfully imprisoned for non-payment of council tax. A recent high court judgment showed that at minimum, between 9.5% and 18% of people sent to prison for council tax non-payment, are sent there unlawfully.
You can found out more about the campaign via APPEAL.
Good to discuss how we end the imprisonment for non-payment of council tax in England with the Civil Enforcement Association and @C4CrimAppeals last week. 1/5 of those imprisoned are wrongfully imprisoned. This Dickensian policy must end! #MiscarriagesofJustice @APPGMJ pic.twitter.com/jfXDlmmFqD
— Barry Sheerman (@BarrySheerman) January 24, 2019
The Aftermath of Wrongful Convictions: Addressing the Needs of the Wrongfully Convicted in England and Wales
Dr Laura Tilt from the University of Oxford shared her doctorate findings on the lived experiences of the wrongfully convicted after their conviction has been quashed. She discussed the harms caused by wrongful convictions, the experiences of support received to help address those harms, and what policy change might be required to better address the needs of the wrongfully convicted in England and Wales. Amanda Jenkinson, herself a victim of wrongful conviction and who shared her experiences for the research, engaged in a Q and A with Laura to provide direct insight into life after a wrongful conviction. Please sign up here.
Half of all victims of miscarriages of justice are homeless within 6m of conviction being overturned: Natalie Brownlie on scandalous treatment of the wrongly convicted post-release & new research by @laura_tilt heard by the @APPGMJ https://t.co/VK9Wma7jDG Pix: @otium_Catulle pic.twitter.com/vLCqO2GOk1
— The Justice Gap (@JusticeGap) January 15, 2019
Representatives from the APPG met with Justice Minister Edward Argar MP, who is responsible for miscarriages of justice.
Many thanks to Justice Minister Edward Argar for meeting w APPG on Miscarriages of Justice representatives, where we raised concerns re CCRC’s low referral rate to the C of Appeal. Keen to work with the Minister to ensure an effective system for correcting miscarriages of justice pic.twitter.com/82Utuztg88
— Barry Sheerman (@BarrySheerman) December 6, 2018
The APPG hosted a roundtable to discuss the APPEAL Six Point Plan for an Effective Miscarriage of Justice Watchdog. The meeting was attended by Parliamentarians including Bob Neill MP, Richard Burgon MP and Crispin Blunt MP. Nicky Green, brother of Jamie Green, spoke about her brother’s case, which has been turned down by the CCRC, and representatives from the Criminal Case Review Commission (CCRC) responded to the issues raised by the Six Point Plan.
Bob Neill MP highlighted that the Justice Select Committee had previously taken the view that the real possibility test should be reviewed. The CCRC said they would welcome revisiting whether this is an appropriate test. The CCRC also acknowledged that more resources were needed to enable staff to visit more applicants.
After the meeting, the APPG Chair wrote to every member of the Justice Select Committee to endorse the Six Point Plan.
Before Parliamentarians left for summer recess, Barry Sheerman MP (Chair of the APPG on Miscarriages of Justice) hosted victims, families, campaigners and lawyers in Parliament to hear from a range of speakers.
Speakers included the Journalist Jon Robins; Michael Mansfield QC; the neuropathologist Dr Waney Squier; the mathematician Professor Norman Fenton; JENGBA’s Gloria Morrison; Liam Allan; and Matt Foot, a defence lawyer at Birnberg Peirce.
— APPEAL (@C4CrimAppeals) June 25, 2018
In April, Barry Sheerman MP met with the Secretary of State for Justice, Rt Hon David Gauke MP, where Barry raised the lack of compensation given to exonorees.
At the inaugural event of the APPG on Miscarriages of Justice, the “Say I’m Innocent” campaign presented their film Fallout, screened on the BBC, based on the post-prison lives of four high profile exonerees who were sentenced to death or life imprisonment. The screening was followed by a discussion on the major changes that are needed in the law, as well as the crucial services lacking for Miscarriages of Justice cases. This was led by Paddy Hill of the Birmingham 6, Robert Brown who spent 25 years in prison and Mark Mc Loughlin, the film director. Read more here..
‘When miscarriages of justice happen the state has to ensure effective mechanisms to correct them. Those obligations aren’t being met.’ @BarrySheerman launches APPG with promise to revive tradition of MPs campaigning to highlight cases https://t.co/vOqwmAaAj2 pic.twitter.com/P64YVH8DqH
— The Justice Gap (@JusticeGap) December 3, 2017