Practice and Procedure


PUBLISHED November 24, 2003

It would be wholly wrong for the court to make a mandatory order requiring the Criminal Cases Review Commission to refer the applicant's case to the Court of Appeal as Parliament had decided that it was the Commission who should review cases and look into the facts.Application for an order requiring the defendant ('the CCRC') to refer the case of the applicant prisoner ('B') to the Court of Appeal. B was convicted in March 1997. His conviction was twice reviewed by the CCRC. On 31 March 2003, Henriques J gave B permission to apply for judicial review of the CCRC's decision refusing to refer his case to the Court of Appeal. The judge took the view that there were strongly arguable grounds that the CCRC had erred in reaching its conclusion. He indicated that a full hearing might not be necessary and the CCRC might agree to reconsider the matter. In June 2003, the CCRC accordingly agreed to look at the matter again and drafted a consent order. B was not happy to consent. He sought an order requiring referral because: (i) the matter had been so long delayed; and (ii) the material on which he relied was so strong that the CCRC was bound to refer.HELD: (1) Even assuming that it was possible for such a mandatory order to be given, it would be wholly wrong to do so. Parliament had decided that it was the CCRC who should review cases and look into the facts. The court did not have the investigatory or fact-finding powers to properly reach any concluded view. It would be quite wrong for the Court of Appeal to be landed with another appeal without proper investigation into the issues raised by B. (2) The matter had suffered some delay, particularly between the March 2003 judgment and the CCRC's decision to look at the matter again. However, since June 2003 the CCRC had been viewing the matter urgently and would continue to do so. (3) An order was to be made in the terms of the consent order, ordering a fresh review of B's case by the CCRC.Judgment accordingly.

[2003] EWHC 2305 (Admin)