What is the Innocence Project London?
The Innocence Project London (IPL) was established in 2010, it became a registered charity in 2020. Law and criminology students work in small groups alongside a practising lawyer, to review and investigate cases of convicted individuals who have maintained their innocence but have exhausted the criminal appeals process. In January 2016, the IPL became a member of the Innocence Network, which is based in the United States of America. The global Innocence Network (IN) also based in the USA, is an affiliation of 67 innocence organisations from several different countries, all of which offer pro-bono legal and investigative services to convicted individuals who have maintained their innocence.
The majority of clients that apply to the IPL will have already appealed their conviction or sentence, so the aim of our work is to submit an application to the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC). The CCRC is an independent body that reviews possible miscarriages of justice in the United Kingdom. They have the ability to decide whether a conviction or sentence should be referred back to the Court of Appeal. The CCRC will only refer a case back to the Court of Appeal if they find a new piece of evidence or a new legal argument that was not put forward at the time of the trial, which would render the conviction unsafe in the context that it would have changed the decision of the jury had they had been aware of it.
Students working on the IPL learn through the “innocence project model” of clinical legal education which developed in the United States of America (USA), where the first innocence project was founded in 1992. They analyse the evidence that led to conviction, develop legal theories that could reopen the case, and search for factual evidence of innocence. Both law and criminology students can apply to work on the IPL as volunteers or for Criminology students they can apply as part of a credit bearing module.
The Innocence Project London does not provide legal advice, if you require legal advice please consult a qualified solicitor or barrister.