Parliamentary Questions

Members of the APPG continue to raise specific issues and apply pressure on the government through Parliamentary questions and debates.

Below are Parliamentary written questions regarding miscarriages of justice which have been tabled by MPs, sorted by topic. An up-to-date list of all written questions can be found here.
Awaiting responses
Asked by Mr Barry Sheerman (Huddersfield) 21 October 2019 to Ministry of Justice 2678
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many (a) prosecutions and (b) convictions there were for the non-payment of TV licence fees (i) in total and (ii) of women in each year from 1999 to 2009.
Asked by Mr Barry Sheerman (Huddersfield) 21 October 2019 to Ministry of Justice 2679
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many (a) people and (b) women have been imprisoned by Magistrates’ Courts in England and Wales for the non-payment of TV licence evasion fines in each month in (i) each year since 1995 and (ii) 2019 to date.
Asked by Mr Barry Sheerman (Huddersfield) 21 October 2019 to Ministry of Justice 2680

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what number and proportion of committal orders made by Magistrates’ Courts in England and Wales for default of payment of fines have arisen from a TV licence evasion conviction in each year since 1995.

 

Asked by Mr Barry Sheerman (Huddersfield) 21 October 2019 to Ministry of Justice 2681
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many committal orders were made by Magistrates’ Courts in England and Wales against women for default of payment of fines (a) in total (b) in relation to a conviction for the non-payment of (i) a TV licence fee fine and (ii) council tax in each year since 1995.
Asked by Mr Barry Sheerman (Huddersfield) 21 October 2019 to Ministry of Justice 2682
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many and what proportion of TV licence fee evasion cases have been dealt with under the single justice procedure in each year since 2015.
Asked by Mr Barry Sheerman (Huddersfield) 21 October 2019 to Ministry of Justice 2683
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many defendants charged with TV licence fee evasion entered (a) a guilty plea, (b) a not guilty plea and (c) no plea in each year since 1999.
Asked by Mr Barry Sheerman (Huddersfield) 21 October 2019 to Ministry of Justice 2684
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many female defendants charged with TV licence fee evasion entered (a) a guilty plea, (b) a not guilty plea and (c) no plea in each year since 1999.
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Imprisonment for Poverty: Council Tax Imprisonment and TV Licence Evasion
Asked by Mr Barry Sheerman (Huddersfield) 09 November 2018 to Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government Council Tax: Non-payment 189834
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what plans he has to bring England in line with the rest of the UK by ending the use of imprisonment for non-payment of council taxdebt.
Answered by: Rishi Sunak 19 November 2018

Imprisonment should only ever be the last resort for non-payment of council tax. Before a magistrates’ court commits someone to prison for failure to pay their council tax, it must inquire as to the debtor’s means, and satisfy itself that failure to pay is due to “wilful refusal or culpable neglect”. This is to prevent persons who are genuinely unable to pay their council tax from being committed to prison. The Government does not have any plans to change the current arrangements.

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Disclosure
Asked by Ellie Reeves (Lewisham West and Penge) 06 July 2018 to Ministry of Justice, Criminal Proceedings: Evidence 161588
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what steps his Department is taking to reduce the number of criminal cases where evidence has not been fully disclosed.
Answered by: Lucy Frazer 16 July 2018

I refer the honourable member to the answer given by the Attorney General on March 7th of this year to a parliamentary question posed by Thangam Debonnaire MP on this topic; and to the answer I gave on March 14th of this year to a question posed by the honourable member for Ashfield. I reiterate what I said in March: this is an issue that the Government takes extremely seriously. Compliance with disclosure requirements is vital if there is to be a fair trial, in the interests of both complainant and accused. To that end, the police and CPS are already taking steps to improve disclosure through the National Disclosure Improvement Plan. In addition, the Attorney General has been conducting a wide-ranging review of the practices and procedures around the disclosure of unused material in criminal cases.

Asked by Gloria De Piero (Ashfield) 06 March 2018 to Ministry of Justice, Rape: Trials 131127

What steps his Department is taking to reduce the number of prosecutions of rape which collapse due to a failure to disclose evidence; and what support his Department provides to the alleged victims in such cases.
Answered by: Lucy Frazer 15 March 2018

This is an issue that the Government takes extremely seriously. The Attorney General is leading a wide-ranging review of disclosure procedures that aims to report in the summer.On 26 January the Crown Prosecution Service and National Police Chiefs’ Council published their joint National Disclosure Improvement Plan. The police and Crown Prosecution Service have reviewed all live rape and serious sexual offence cases, to provide assurance that disclosure is being handled appropriately.My Department is providing £12.5m in funding for services for victims and survivors of sexual violence. This includes £7.2m of funding for rape support services. Where proceedings are discontinued or no evidence offered, the Code of Practice for Victims of Crime requires the CPS to explain to complainants why this has happened. The CPS must also inform complainants of how they can seek a review under the Victims’ Right to Review Scheme.

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Joint Enterprise

Asked by Lord Beecham 12 March 2018 to Ministry of Justice: Aiding and Abetting HL6221 

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of concerns about the application of the principle of joint enterprise in criminal cases; and whether they intend (1) to initiate a review of the state of the law in this area, and (2) to collect and publish statistics of murder and other cases in which that principle has been applied since 2014.

Answered by: Lord Keen of Elie, 21 March 2018

This Government does not believe that any changes to the law on joint enterprise are currently needed, but will keep the matter under review. The Supreme Court judgment in R v Jogee amended the law in this area and it is for our independent courts to interpret the law, as laid down by the Supreme Court. The Crown Prosecution Service has amended its guidance on secondary liability for prosecutors in line with the Jogee judgment, and has consulted on that guidance which aims to provide a clear direction for prosecutors in this area of law.

The Ministry of Justice only collects information on how many defendants are prosecuted and convicted for each offence in any given year. Information is not collated on whether a prosecution or conviction relied on the law of joint enterprise. Such information may be held on court records, but could only be obtained at disproportionate cost.

Going forward the collection of data on joint enterprise cases is being considered as part of the Common Platform Programme. The Common Platform aims to provide a single case management system that will enable the sharing of evidence and case information across the Criminal Justice System.

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Support and compensation for miscarriage of justice victims

Asked by Mr Barry Sheerman 18 April 2018 to Ministry of Justice, Miscarriages of Justice: Compensation 136315

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what guidance on accessing Government compensation his Department provides to prisoners released after a wrongful conviction.

Answered by: Rory Stewart 27 April 2018

The Miscarriages of Justice Support Service (MJSS) provides support to people leaving prison via the Court of Appeal following a miscarriage of justice and who therefore do not not fall within the scope of probation services or benefit from their ongoing support. The MJSS, funded by a grant from Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service, provides advice and assistance with accommodation and employment, clarifying National Insurance and credits, and securing local health care services. Information, guidance and application forms for anyone wishing to claim compensation for a miscarriage of justice is available on the gov.uk website.

 

Asked by Mr Barry Sheerman 18 April 2018 to Ministry of Justice, Miscarriages of Justice
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what social, psychological and educational support services the Government makes available to prisoners released after a wrongful conviction.
Answered by: Rory Stewart 27 April 2018

The Miscarriages of Justice Support Service (MJSS) provides support to people leaving prison via the Court of Appeal following a miscarriage of justice and who therefore do not not fall within the scope of probation services or benefit from their ongoing support. The MJSS, funded by a grant from Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service, provides advice and assistance with accommodation and employment, clarifying National Insurance and credits, and securing local health care services. Information, guidance and application forms for anyone wishing to claim compensation for a miscarriage of justice is available on the gov.uk website.

 

Asked by Mr Barry Sheerman 13 December 2017 to Ministry of Justice, Miscarriages of Justice: Compensation 119274

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many successful applications for compensation following a conviction being quashed there were in (a) 2014, (b) 2015, (c) 2016 and (d) 2017; and what the average compensation award was for those claims in each of those years.
Answered by: Dominic Raab 21 December 2017
In the table below, the second column gives the number of applications received in the financial years 2013/14 to 2016/17 and the number received so far in the financial year 2017/18. The third column gives the number of applications made in a particular year that were awarded compensation, though the decision to award compensation may not have been made in the year in which the application was made.
Year ending 31 March Number of applications received Of which, the number of successful applications
2013/14 45 1
2014/15 43 1
2015/16 29 2
2016/17 51 1
2017/18 27 0

The average award among the five successful applications was £73,629.68. It would be inappropriate to provide figures for awards by year because recipients would be potentially identifiable.