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Research published on the barriers for women overturning unsafe convictions

New research published

07 July 2020
Research published on the barriers for women overturning unsafe convictions

The Griffins Society has published research into the barriers faced by women seeking to overturn unsafe convictions or unfair sentences in the Court of Appeal (Criminal Division) (CACD).

In a sample of appeals heard by the CACD, only 19 (7%) were women. The research looked into this underrepresentation of women in the appeal process, and states that:

  • There are significant barriers to appealing convictions in the Court of Appeal, for both men and women
  • However, these barriers are higher for women because of the experiences of trauma and victimisation that are prevalent in the women’s prison population
  • Acknowledging women’s different experiences raises fundamental questions about the legitimacy of the CACD as a legal body capable of righting wrongs done to women

The report makes several recommendations, including:

  • The Ministry of Justice should revise the terms of the Standard Crime Contract 2017 to include:
  1. funding to case closing meetings with client face-to-face
  2. a reversal of the policy that does not allow second opinions on the merits of appeals within six months of the first
  3. an extension of legal aid to renewal hearings when permission has been refused by the single judge
  • Parliament should revise the Criminal Appeal Act 1968 to revoke the 28-day restriction and substitute a 6-month deadline to bring an in-time appeal, and discard Section 29 of the Criminal Justice Act 1968 allowing for loss of time orders to be made
  • The Law Society should provide an online course for criminal practitioners on building trust with vulnerable and traumatised clients, and should consider offering Continuing Professional Development accreditation to incentivise uptake

The full report can be found here.

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