Miscarriage of Justice

This service delivers support specifically to individuals who have experienced a miscarriage of justice. Victims experience serious issues when they are released that can continue for a lifetime due to the trauma they experience.

Clients are referred to us by the Criminal Cases Review Commission when the Commission has supported their appeal against their sentence in the Court of Appeal. Our service then supports the client during their appeal against conviction, immediately following release and subsequently for as long as they need it.

Once referred, we provide a range of advice including:

  • Securing  accommodation

  • Maximising income through assisting and appealing benefit claims

  • Applying for National Insurance credits

  • Registering with a GP and accessing appropriate healthcare and counseling

Our service is free, confidential, impartial, and independent of the judicial system. Funding for this service comes from the NOMS Commissioning Unit within the Ministry of Justice.

To contact the service email mjss@rcjadvice.org.uk

We recently commissioned a baseline study of 60 MJSS clients we have worked with over the 12 years we have delivered the service. The research found:

  • Majority  were convicted of homicide offences and received life sentences.
  • Most had served approximately four years in prison prior to their conviction being quashed.
  • Clients had practical and emotional needs relating to housing, benefits and other financial support, employment, and their psychological health.
  • Just over half were  either homeless or living with friends or relatives six months after release, with just a quarter in social housing.
  • Within two years of release from prison, almost 80% were given priority need status for housing following assistance from the MJSS service, with 1 in 5 clients struggling to secure priority need status.
  • While 49% of the valid sample were receiving some benefits prior to the wrongful conviction, almost all (94%) were in receipt of benefits after their conviction was quashed or they were released from prison (whichever was earlier).
  • 88% received National Insurance credits within two years of release.
  • Of the clients who applied for a Community Care Grant, 85% were successful.
  • Just over three quarters of our valid client sample were employed prior to their wrongful conviction, but just a third were employed in some capacity after they were released from prison.
  • A third of MJSS clients have been subject to psychiatric assessment, primarily for the purposes of establishing need for benefits applications or demonstrating harms for compensation applications.
  • Most clients of the MJSS (61%) were married or had a co-habiting partner at the time of conviction, but just 29% remained married or co-habiting at the time their convictions were quashed.
  • After release from prison, many clients had little or no contact with their children.