HEFCE defined the impact of academic research as ‘an effect on, change or benefit to the economy, society, culture, public policy or services, health, the environment or quality of life, beyond academia’. This page provides information of some of the major impacts of my work.
Research Exercise Framework (REF) 2014: Impact Case Study
The Research Excellence Framework (REF) is the system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions. Research is assessed every 6 or 7 years. The REF 2014 was the first exercise to assess the impact of research outside of academia. Almost 7,000 Impact Case Studies were submitted to REF 2014 by universities in the UK. My work was submitted by the University of Bristol as an Impact Case Study, ‘Innocence: assisting victims of wrongful imprisonment’, and was one of three which collectively were ranked as 2nd in the UK by the Sociology Panel.
UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) British Horizons: British Professional Exchange Programme
2016: Invited visit to Armenia as part of the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) British Horizons: British Professional Exchange Programme to advise various governmental and non-governmental organisations on issues relating to the causation and remedy of miscarriages of justice, Feburay 1-6. Click here for more information.
Invited oral evidence to the Parliamentary Justice Committee
2015: Invited oral evidence to the Parliamentary Justice Committee, House of Commons, on the limitations of the Criminal Cases Review Commission in dealing with applications from alleged innocent victims of miscarriages of justice. January. Click here for a transcript on the Parliament website.
Pioneered a new form of pro bono assistance for alleged innocent victims of wrongful convictions in the UK
2005-2015, founder/director of the University of Bristol Innocence Project (UoBIP), the first innocence project in the UK dedicated to investigating alleged wrongful convictions. Student volunteers investigated alleged wrongful convictions under my supervision on a pro bono basis, with input from criminal appeal lawyers and forensic experts where appropriate. The University of Bristol Innocence Project (UoBIP) contributed to the first ever case referrals by the Criminal Cases Review Commission (R v Hall, 20110) and the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission (Beck v Her Majesty’s Advocate, 2013) back to the Court of Appeal (Criminal Division) and the High Court of Justiciary, respectively, following submissions/applications by a UK innocence project.
Created and inspired a national network of organisations in universities and beyond for investigating alleged wrongful convictions in the UK
2004-2015, founder/director of Innocence Network UK (INUK), which saw me facilitate the setting up, and support the subsequent running, of 36 Innocence Projects in the UK dedicated to investigating and overturning wrongful convictions, like those that originated in the United States. In December 2014, Dwaine George’s conviction for murder became the first case overturned by an innocence project in the UK. It followed a referral by Innocence Network UK (INUK) to a member innocence project to follow up on identified lines of further investigation.
Influenced new rules of access and disclosure of evidence for alleged victims of wrongful convictions
2014: The Supreme Court case of R (Nunn) v Chief Constable of Suffolk Constabulary considered arguments on the limitations on access to exhibits for DNA testing post-conviction. The third party intervention on behalf of Innocence Network UK (INUK) was underpinned by my research on the operations of the Criminal Cases Review Commission in dealing with applications from alleged innocent victims of miscarriages of justice. It succeeded in achieving positive reforms to the existing Attorney General’s rules on disclosure and access to evidence post-conviction for alleged victims of wrongful convictions. Click here for more information.
Invited expert submission on the work of the Criminal Cases Review Commission to the Parliamentary Justice Committee
2014: Invited expert submission on the work of the Criminal Cases Review Commission to the Parliamentary Justice Committee, the content of which contributed to a decision to have a full public consultation. Click here for submission.
Invited expert submission to the Ministry of Justice’s Triennial Review of the Criminal Cases Review Commission
2012: Invited expert submission to the Ministry of Justice’s Triennial Review of the Criminal Cases Review Commission.
Invited international expert at the International Conference on the Issues of Life-term Prisoners in Yerevan, Armenia
2012: Invited international expert at the International Conference on the Issues of Life-term Prisoners in Yerevan, Armenia, November 20-22. Paper entitled: ‘Innocence projects and DNA testing in reviewing claims of innocence by life-sentenced prisoners maintaining innocence’. Click here for more information.
Invited international expert at the International Conference on the Prevention of Wrongful Convictions, China
2012: Invited international expert at the International Conference on the Prevention of Wrongful Convictions, Senior Prosecutors Research and Advanced Study Center of Jilin Province, ChangChun, China, 6-8 August: paper entitled: ‘Preventing Wrongful Convictions in England and Wales: Abortions of Justice versus Miscarriages of Justice’. Click here for more information.
Influenced a new right of appeal against alleged wrongful convictions in South Australia
2011: Consulted by The Hon. Stephen Wade MLC, Shadow Attorney-General, South Australia, as part of the inquiry by the Legislative Review Committee into the Criminal Cases Review Commission Bill 2010. I was cited extensively in the official report to the Parliament of South Australia, which embraced my submissions and recommended a new right of appeal for alleged victims of wrongful convictions rather than the setting up of a Criminal Cases Review Commission-style body in South Australia. Click here for the Report.
Influenced the agenda on wrongful conviction research in the United States
2010: Invited as an international expert by National Institute of Justice (NIJ), the research arm of the US Department of Justice, to participate in two-days of workshops to form the basis for future federal research and policy on wrongful convictions in the US. ‘International perspectives on wrongful convictions’, Washington, D.C., United States, 13-14 September. My research is cited variously in the official report of the proceedings and I was one of a small number of delegates who was invited to provide authored contributions in the official report, and the only delegate invited to have two entries. Click here for the official report.
Invited presentation at the House of Commons
2010: Invited by John McDonnell MP to give a presentation at the House of Commons on the findings of my research on the limits of the criminal appeals system to deal with claims of factual innocence by alleged victims of miscarriages of justice, 2 December.
Influenced a new regime for dealing with prisoners maintaining innocence
2008: I conducted the first (and, to date, only) piece of empirical research on the obstacles and barriers to progression and release for life-sentenced prisoners maintaining innocence. The abridged findings were published in the peer-reviewed Prison Service Journal as: ‘Factual Innocence versus Legal Guilt: The Need for a New Pair of Spectacles to view the Problem of Life-Sentenced Prisoners Maintaining Innocence’ . This article and follow-up exchanges with NOMS/Ministry of Justice influenced a new way of dealing with prisoners maintaining innocence by influencing reforms to Prison Service Order (PSO) 4700, which governs the treatment of indeterminate sentenced prisoners. Crucially, prison and probation staff in prisons in England and Wales are now instructed to recognise, officially, that some prisoners maintaining innocence are, in fact, innocent and to deal with them on this basis rather than seeing them all as merely “deniers”. The full research findings are published in Chapter 5 of The Innocent and the Criminal Justice System.
Invited presentation at the House of Commons
2006: Invited by Bruce Kent, Chair, Progressing Prisoners Maintaining Innocence (PPMI), to give a presentation at the House of Commons based on my research on prisoners maintaining innocence, May.
Consultation with an MP
2005: Consulted by Claire Curtis-Thomas MP, Chair, All-Party Parliamentary Group for Abuse Investigations, on miscarriages of justice and the criminal justice system, July.
Consultation with the Home Office
2005: Invited by the Home Office to consult senior representatives of criminal justice system agencies (Parole Board, Criminal Cases Review Commission, prisons, probation, prison psychology) on my research on the obstacles and barriers to progression and release for prisoners maintaining innocence, Home Office, London, July.