Identifying miscarriages of justice: why innocence in the UK is not the answer

H S. Quirk

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This article examines two contrasting proposals for the reform of criminal appeals: the government’s recent proposal that the guilty should no longer have their convictions quashed on ‘technicalities’; and calls by campaigners for the Court of Appeal to consider innocence rather than the ‘safety of the conviction,’ together with their associated attempts to establish Innocence Projects in the UK. Despite the rhetorical power of ‘innocence’ as a campaigning tool, it is contended that to import such a standard into the legal system would be retrogressive and counter-productive, both as a safeguard against wrongful convictions and in protecting the integrity of the system. In order to be meaningful, due process protections must apply to all. The government’s proposals attack this principle directly; innocence campaigners risk unwittingly assisting their endeavours.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)759-777
Number of pages19
JournalThe Modern Law Review
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2007


  • Miscarriages of Justice, Innocence, Criminal Cases Review Commission, Criminal Appeal Act 1968, Criminal Appeal Act 1995.


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