The report prepared by the House of Commons Justice Committee about the operation of the Criminal Cases Review Commission has now been published.
It is interesting to note a number of important points:
a) The CCRC faced a 30 per cent budget cut alongside a 70 per cent increase in applications. The result has been that it has become under-resourced, leading to increasing and unacceptable delays. The Committee recommends that it be given an extra £1 million of annual funding until these delays are reduced.
b) The Committee has also identified a number of areas where the CCRC could improve, including in its investigations and in improving public awareness and understanding of its work and place in the criminal justice system.
c) The CCRC has the power to require public bodies to disclose documents to it for its investigations, but this power has never applied to private bodies. With private bodies performing more functions traditionally performed by public bodies, this lack of power has hindered the CCRC in some of its investigations. It should be a matter of urgency for the next Government to extend the power to private bodies. The CCRC’s enforcement options for this power should also be increased.
More in the report which can be read here: www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201415/cmselect/cmjust/850/850.pdf.