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Role details

Criminal Cases Review Commission - Commissioners

Application deadline 26 April 2024


Criminal Cases Review Commission
Sponsor department
Ministry of Justice
Judicial, Prisons & Policing
Technology / Digital, Legal, Judicial, Casework and Complaints Handling
Number of vacancies
Time commitment
52 day(s) per annum
£460 per day
Length of term
3 years
Application deadline
11:59pm on 26 April 2024

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Timeline for this appointment

  1. Opening date

    5 April 2024

  2. Application deadline

    11:59pm on 26 April 2024

  3. Sifting date

    14 June 2024

  4. Interviews expected to end on

    11 October 2024

Timeline dates are only an estimate and can change

About the role


The CCRC is looking for a mix of Commissioners in terms of background and experience. 
​Under the Criminal Appeal Act 1995, at least two thirds of Commissioners need to have knowledge or experience of any aspect of the criminal justice system; and at least one third need to be legally qualified. ​
​This means that one third of Commissioners do not need any legal qualification or current knowledge or experience of the criminal justice system. This means that we can appoint from a very broad base of skill and experience. ​
​The CCRC welcomes applications from people of all backgrounds. This includes people from all socio-economic backgrounds; those who may challenge and think differently, bringing a fresh perspective. We welcome, in particular, applications from people with a disability and those from a black or ethnic minority background. ​
​The CCRC would also like to appoint a Commissioner who has knowledge or experience of any aspect of the criminal justice system in Northern Ireland (whether or not a lawyer).

Introduction from the Chair

From time to time, a criminal case ends with a wrongful conviction or sentence – there may have been errors at trial, or fresh evidence may have emerged. Sometimes, there are wider systemic problems which affect whole groups of cases and result in wrongful convictions. Over the last 26 years the CCRC has referred more than 820 cases for a fresh appeal.
Thank you for your interest in becoming a Commissioner of the CCRC, a public appointment made by His Majesty The King on the recommendation of the Prime Minister.
The CCRC is seeking Commissioners who are committed to remedying miscarriages of justice and who share the CCRC’s absolute commitment to ensuring a fair and open system of justice for all.
The CCRC wants Commissioners who are intelligent, astute, dedicated, hardworking and fair; people who combine independence of mind with the ability to work as part of a team.
The CCRC welcomes applications from people of all backgrounds. This includes people from all socio-economic backgrounds; and those who may challenge and think differently bringing a fresh perspective. We welcome, in particular, applications from people with a disability and those from a black or ethnic background. We are interested in hearing from people at the earlier stages of their careers and particularly from those who would not ordinarily consider a public appointment. We are also keen to hear from those who are well established in their chosen profession, including lawyers.
In addition to lawyers, we would welcome applications from scientists, those with experience of mental health, the medical profession, people with experience of working in the police, prison or probation sectors, and people with experience of working with community and voluntary groups. This is not an exhaustive list; we are determined to expand our Commissioner group in terms of experience, potential and diversity.
We would also like to appoint at least one Commissioner with experience of Northern Ireland's criminal justice system.
If you share the CCRC’s passion for doing the right thing, and its abiding commitment to fairness and the rule of law, then we would like to hear from you.
I do hope you will consider applying for these important positions.
Helen Pitcher OBE
Chairman, Criminal Cases Review Commission

Role description

Commissioners decide whether to refer a case for an appeal, applying the statutory 'real possibility' test. This may be as part of a committee of three Commissioners, where a reference is contemplated, or more regularly as an individual, where case working staff, having reviewed and investigated a case, consider that it does not meet the test for referral.

Commissioners sit as a committee of three when exercising the Commission’s powers under sections 15, 16 and 19 of the Criminal Appeal Act 1995.​
Commissioners may be involved during the review of the most complex cases, working with Case Review Managers and others to agree the investigation plan. ​
Occasionally, Commissioners may be called on to provide specialist advice or training depending on their background and expertise.​
Commissioners also form the Body Corporate which meets twice a year. The Body Corporate has delegated governance to the CCRC Board which comprises 10 members, 4 of whom, including the Chair, are Commissioners. The non-Commissioner members of the Board are the Chief Executive, Casework Operations Director, Finance & Corporate Services Director and three Independent Non-Executive Directors. More information on the Board’s members can be found on the CCRC website along with other useful information, including the most recent annual report and corporate and business plans: 
​The CCRC is a 'remote first’ organisation, with a small office located in central Birmingham. Commissioners, like the majority of CCRC staff, work from home, attending the office only when there is a business need to do so. Their work is carried out electronically via Microsoft O365 and Teams so it is essential that all Commissioners are enthusiastic about using IT.​

Organisation description

The CCRC reviews complex criminal cases and has investigated some of  the most serious miscarriages of justice of the last fifty years.
The CCRC is the independent public body that finds, investigates and refers suspected miscarriages of criminal justice to the appeal courts. We deal with cases from magistrates’ courts, the Crown Court in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and the Court Martial and Service Civilian Court.
The CCRC was created by the Criminal Appeal Act 1995 to investigate criminal cases where people believe they have been wrongly convicted or wrongly sentenced.
We work in the interests of justice, and we are independent.  We don’t represent the police, prosecution, court or government.  We don’t represent the person applying for a review of their case. Staying independent helps us investigate alleged miscarriages of justice objectively and impartially. 
We are entrusted with the exercise of wide ranging, and sometimes intrusive, statutory powers. We have the power to obtain material from public and private bodies, including information that would normally be confidential or subject to disclosure restrictions. We have the power to interview witnesses and instruct experts.
We receive over 1,600 applications a year, many of which are at the most serious end of the criminal spectrum.  There is no time limit on applications to the CCRC.  Some of the cases that we deal with date back to the 1970s or earlier.
We can refer a case for a fresh appeal if there is a real possibility that the conviction or sentence will not be upheld. Usually, it must be based on some evidence or argument that was not raised at trial or appeal and usually the convicted person must have exhausted the normal appeal process.
Investigations are usually carried out by CCRC staff, but we can require others, such as the police, to carry out investigations on our behalf.
After thorough review by our UK-wide team of Case Review Managers, Commissioners make the final decision on whether or not an application is referred to the courts for an appeal.
CCRC Commissioners are the only people who can send a case back to court for a second or subsequent appeal.
Further information on the CCRC may be found at

Regulation of appointment

This post is regulated by the Commissioner for Public Appointments. For more information, please refer to the Commissioner’s website 

Person specification

Essential criteria

  • Integrity, fairness and independence of mind and sound judgement to make incisive, fair and legally sound decisions.
  • Strong intellectual and analytical capacity with the ability to make sound, logical, reasoned and evidence-based decisions from complex and often unfamiliar material.
  • The ability to acquire knowledge and understanding quickly, especially of unfamiliar subject matters and the ability to assimilate information quickly, to identify essential issues and to focus on the relevant issues, encouraging others to do the same.
  • The ability to work at pace, allocating time and prioritising tasks effectively, delegating where appropriate, ensuring efficient completion of workload.
  • The ability to communicate clearly, succinctly, courteously with an open mind and with authority in a well-reasoned manner that allows for challenge and instils confidence in others, using technical language only when necessary.
  • Strategic awareness and experience of considering organisational reputation and risk and stakeholder engagement.

Desirable criteria

  • An understanding of and commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion.
  • At least one Commissioner will have knowledge or experience of the criminal justice system in Northern Ireland.

Application and selection process

How to apply

In order to apply you will need to create an account or sign in.

Once you are logged into your account, click on 'apply for this role' and follow the on-screen instructions. To apply, all candidates are required to provide:

  • a Curriculum Vitae (CV)
  • a supporting statement
  • equality information
  • information relating to any outside interests or reputational issues

We will ask you to check and confirm your personal details to ensure your application is accurate.

You will also have the opportunity to make a reasonable adjustment request or apply under the disability confident scheme before you submit your application.

Overview of the application process

Public appointments are made on merit following a fair and open competition process which is conducted in accordance with the Governance Code for Public Appointments. We will deal with your application as quickly as possible and will keep you informed at key stages. We aim to conclude the appointment process within three months of the deadline for applications – this is in accordance with the Governance Code.

The assessment process

  1. Ministers are responsible and accountable to Parliament for the public appointments made within their department. As a result, they must be consulted at every stage of the appointments process.

  2. An Advisory Assessment Panel (“Panel”) is appointed by Ministers to assist them in their decision making. The role of the Panel is to decide, objectively, which candidates meet the eligibility criteria for the role.

  3. At the shortlisting meeting the Panel will assess applications against the eligibility criteria and decide which candidates have best met the criteria, who should be recommended for interview. Ministers will then be consulted on the Panel’s recommended shortlist. If you have applied under the Disability Confident Scheme and you meet all the essential criteria, then you will also be invited for an interview.

  4. Candidates may be invited take part in a casework scenario group exercise as part of the selection process. This will help inform the selection panel’s decision on who to recommend for interview. You do not need any legal knowledge to complete this exercise which has been prepared so that it is equally accessible to candidates who are not legally qualified. You may, however, benefit from looking at the Criminal Appeal Act 1995 and the Commission’s case working policies which are available at

  5. Once the shortlist has been agreed by Ministers, you will be advised (by e-mail) whether you have been shortlisted. Those shortlisted will be invited to an interview.

  6. The Panel will meet again to interview candidates and determine who is appointable to the role. The Panel may invite you to make a brief presentation at the start of the interview and will go on to question you about your skills and experience, including asking specific questions to assess whether you meet the criteria set out for the post. The Panel will also explore with you any potential conflicts of interest or any other issues arising from your personal and professional history which may impact on an appointment decision.

  7. Details of the panel’s assessment of interviewed candidates are provided to Ministers, including whether they have judged a candidate to be appointable to the role. It is then for Ministers to determine merit and decide who should be appointed. In some circumstances, Ministers may choose not to appoint any candidates and re-run the competition.

  8. Ministers may choose to meet with candidates before deciding the outcome. Candidates should therefore be prepared for a short time gap between interview and a final appointment decision being made. Candidates who have been interviewed will be kept informed of progress.

  9. Once the decision on the appointment has been made, interviewed candidates will be advised of the outcome of their application, including whom they may approach for feedback. Successful candidates will be issued with their Terms & Conditions and a letter of appointment should they agree to take up the position.

Further information about appointments, including tips on applying, can be found on our guidance pages on

Advisory Assessment Panel (AAP)

Ben Archibald - Deputy Director, Miscarriages of Justice Policy, MoJ (Panel Chair)
Helen Pitcher OBE - Chair, CCRC
Independent Panel Member TBC
Advisory Assessment Panels (AAP) are chosen by ministers to assist them in their decision-making. These include a departmental official and an independent member. For competitions recruiting non-executive members of a board (apart from the Chair), the panel will usually include a representative from the public body concerned.
AAP’s perform a number of functions, including agreeing an assessment strategy with ministers, undertaking sifting, carrying out interviews in line with the advertised criteria and deciding objectively who meets the published selection criteria for the role before recommending to ministers which candidates they find appointable. It is then for the minister to decide who to appoint to the role.

Eligibility criteria

This appointment is open to British or Commonwealth citizens, British Dependent Territories citizens, British Nationals (Overseas) citizens, British protected persons, citizens of the Republic of Ireland, European Economic Area (EEA) nationals or to those of other member states, and to certain non-EEA family members. Applicants must have right to work and reside in the UK.​

However, as the CCRC was established to carry out an independent function at arm’s length from the Government, we are mindful that appointing someone who is employed by a government department might compromise that independence - or perception of independence - as well as diminishing the confidence of stakeholders and the general public. ​

If you are in receipt of a salary from a government department and wish to apply, you should expect that - if selected for interview - the Advisory Assessment Panel will explore whether any perceived or real conflicts of interest might exist if you were to be appointed and, if so, how this might be managed or mitigated. The latter might include an undertaking to resign from government employment, if appointed, and - if considered appropriate - for there to be an interval between resignation and taking up appointment to the CCRC.​

The CCRC welcomes applications from candidates who also hold posts in the criminal justice system which do not raise an issue in respect of conflict. The CCRC considers that posts which do raise an unacceptable level of conflict include lawyers representing those involved in criminal cases or lawyers sitting or working in the Court of Appeal Criminal Division.

Security clearance

The successful candidate will be required to undertake Baseline Personnel Security Standard checks in line with the Civil Service guidelines. Additional Security Clearance may also be required for certain roles. However, where this applies, candidates will be notified during the appointment process. Further information on National Security Vetting can be found on the website here.

Additional information for candidates

Equality and diversity

We encourage applications from talented individuals from all backgrounds and across the whole of the United Kingdom. Boards of public bodies are most effective when they reflect the diversity of views of the society they serve and this is an important part of the Government’s levelling up agenda.
We collect data about applicants’ characteristics and backgrounds, including information about people’s educational and professional backgrounds, so that we can make sure we are attracting a broad range of people to these roles and that our selection processes are fair for everyone. Without this information, it makes it difficult to see if our outreach is working, if the application process is having an unfair impact on certain groups and whether changes are making a positive difference.
When you submit your application, your responses are collected by the Cabinet Office and the government department(s) managing your application. The data is used to produce management information about the diversity of applicants. You can select “prefer not to say” to any question you do not wish to answer. The information you provide will not be seen by the Advisory Assessment Panel who review applications against the advertised criteria and conduct interviews.

Disability confident

We are a member of the Government’s Disability Confident scheme. We use the Disability Confident scheme symbol, along with other like-minded employers, to show our commitment to good practice in employing people with a disability. The scheme helps recruit and retain disabled people. 
As part of implementing the scheme, we guarantee an interview for anyone with a disability whose application meets the essential criteria for the role, set out in the advert, and who has asked that their application is considered under the scheme. Indicating that you wish your application to be considered under the scheme will in no way prejudice your application. By ‘minimum criteria,’ we mean that you must provide evidence which demonstrates that you meet the level of competence required under each of the essential criteria, as set out in the job-advert.
When you apply you will have the opportunity to select if you would like your application considered under this scheme.

Reasonable adjustments

We are committed to making reasonable adjustments to make sure applicants with disabilities, physical or mental health conditions, or other needs are not substantially disadvantaged when applying for public appointments. This can include changing the recruitment process to enable people who wish to apply to do so.
Some examples of common changes are:
  • ensuring that application forms are available in different or accessible formats;
  • making adaptations to interview locations;
  • allowing candidates to present their skills and experience in a different way;
  • giving additional detailed information on the selection / interview process in advance to allow candidates time to prepare themselves;
  • allowing support workers, for example sign language interpreters;
  • making provision for support animals to attend.
When you apply you will have the opportunity to request reasonable adjustments to the application process.

Principles of public life

Holders of public office are expected to adhere to and uphold the Seven Principles of Public Life. These are:
  1. Selflessness - Holders of public office should act solely in terms of the public interest.
  2. Integrity - Holders of public office must avoid placing themselves under any obligation to people or organisations that might try inappropriately to influence them in their work. They should not act or take decisions in order to gain financial or other material benefits for themselves, their family, or their friends. They must declare and resolve any interests and relationships.
  3. Objectivity - Holders of public office must act and take decisions impartially, fairly and on merit, using the best evidence and without discrimination or bias.
  4. Accountability - Holders of public office are accountable to the public for their decisions and actions and must submit themselves to the scrutiny necessary to ensure this.
  5. Openness - Holders of public office should act and take decisions in an open and transparent manner. Information should not be withheld from the public unless there are clear and lawful reasons for so doing.
  6. Honesty - Holders of public office should be truthful.
  7. Leadership - Holders of public office should exhibit these principles in their own behaviour and treat others with respect. They should actively promote and robustly support the principles and challenge poor behaviour wherever it occurs.

Code of conduct for board members

The Government expects all holders of public office to work to the highest personal and professional standards. In support of this, all non-executive board members of UK public bodies must abide by the principles set out in the Code of Conduct for Board Members of Public Bodies. The Code sets out the standards expected from those who serve on the boards of UK public bodies and will form part of your terms and conditions of appointment.

Management of outside interests and consideration of reputational issues

Holders of public office are expected to adhere and uphold the Seven Principles of Public Life and the Code of Conduct for Board Members of Public Bodies. Before you apply you should consider carefully: 
  • any outside interests that you may have, such as shares you may hold in a company providing services to government; 
  • any possible reputational issues arising from your past actions or public statements that you have made; 
  • and/or - any political roles you hold or political campaigns you have supported; 
which may call into question your ability to do the role you are applying for.
You will need to answer relevant questions in relation to these points when making an application. Many conflicts of interest can be satisfactorily resolved and declaring a potential conflict does not prevent you from being interviewed. If you are shortlisted for an interview, the panel will discuss any potential conflicts with you during that interview, including any proposals you may have to mitigate them and record that in their advice to ministers. Alongside your own declaration, we will conduct appropriate checks, as part of which we will consider anything in the public domain related to your conduct or professional capacity. This may include searches of previous public statements and social media, blogs or any other publicly available information. The successful candidate(s) may be required to give up any conflicting interests and their other business and financial interests may be published in line with organisational policies. 
Details of declared political activity will be published when the appointment is announced, as required by the Governance Code (political activity is not a bar to appointment, but must be declared).

Status of appointment

As this is an office holder appointment, you will not become a member of the Civil Service. You will not be subject to the provisions of employment law.

Appointment and tenure of office

Appointments are for the term set out in this advert, with the possibility of re-appointment for a further term, at the discretion of Ministers.  Any re-appointment is subject to satisfactory annual appraisals of performance during the first term in the post. There is no automatic presumption of reappointment; each case should be considered on its own merits, taking into account a number of factors including, but not restricted to, the diversity of the current board and its balance of skills and experience. In most cases, the total time served in post will not exceed more than two terms or serve in any one post for more than ten years

Remuneration, allowances and abatement

Remuneration for this role is treated as employment income and will be subject to tax and National Insurance contributions, both of which will be deducted at source under PAYE before you are paid. 
You can claim reimbursement for reasonable travel and subsistence costs which are properly and necessarily incurred on official business, in line with the travel and subsistence policy and rates for the organisation to which you are applying. 

Pension and redundancy

This is an office holder appointment and does not attract any benefits under any Civil Service Pension Scheme. You will not be eligible for redundancy pay as you are not an employee. No other arrangements have been made for compensation upon the end of your term of appointment because an office holder who is appointed for a limited duration would have no expectation of serving beyond that period.

Application feedback

We will notify you of the status of your application. We regret that we are only able to offer detailed feedback to candidates who have been unsuccessful at the interview stage.

How to complain

We aim to process all applications as quickly as possible and to treat all applicants with courtesy.
Please contact the MoJ public appointments team in the first instance if you would like to make a complaint regarding your application at They will acknowledge your complaint upon receipt and respond within 15 working days.

How to complain to Office of the Commissioner for Public Appointments (OCPA)

If you are not content with the appointing department’s response you may wish to further complain to the Commissioner at information on how the Commissioner handles complaints can be found on the Commissioner for Public Appointments’ website

Data protection

The Cabinet Office will use your data in line with our privacy policy.

Contact details

For further details please contact