No real criticism of CCRC’s decision not to refer


Re: R (Charles) v Criminal Cases Review Commission [2017] EWHC 1219 (Admin)

The Claimant, a prisoner serving a life sentence for murder, challenged the decision of the Criminal Cases Review Commission not to refer his conviction to the Court of Appeal. The Court held that the CCRC retained the discretion not to refer a case to the Court of Appeal Criminal Division even where the threshold conditions were satisfied, however such decisions are subject to judicial review. The Court reviewed the case law on the unique powers of the Commission, which reflect a balance between residual safeguard against miscarriage of justice and the otherwise important principle of finality. Following this, the Court concluded that no real criticism could be made of the CCRC’s conclusion and there was no apparent misunderstanding of the law. Furthermore, the Court agreed with the CCRC’s decision and dismissed the claimant’s challenges upholding that the Commission’s conclusion had been tenable and right. It reiterated that the power to refer was a matter of judgment of the CCRC and it should not be usurped by the Court.

Danny Friedman QC was involved in this case.