University of Bristol Innocence Project (UoBIP)

Between 2005-2015, Michael was Founder and Director of the first innocence project in the UK dedicated to investigating alleged wrongful convictions, the University of Bristol Innocence Project (UoBIP) (see here and here), which saw him pioneer the introduction of a new form of clinical legal education in the UK based on the innocence projects that originated in the United States. Under his supervision, student volunteers investigated alleged wrongful convictions on a pro bono basis, with input from criminal appeal lawyers and forensic experts where appropriate. In terms of “successes”, the University of Bristol Innocence Project contributed to the first ever case referrals by the Criminal Cases Review Commission (see R v Simon John Hall) and the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission (see William Beck v Her Majesty’s Advocate) back to the Court of Appeal (Criminal Division) and the High Court of Justiciary, respectively, following submissions or applications by a UK innocence project. It assisted two over tariff life-sentenced prisoners maintaining innocence to be progressed to open conditions. It, also, finally settled several claims of factual innocence by alleged victims of wrongful conviction and imprisonment when they were proven to be factually guilty. The University of Bristol Innocence Project (UoBIP) became the template for the setting up of over 30 innocence projects in other universities in England, Scotland and Wales under the auspices of Innocence Network UK (INUK) (click here and here).