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Public Appointments

Commissioners for the Criminal Cases Review Commission

Employer
Ministry of Justice
Sector
Central Government
Location
Birmingham
Salary
£93,796 pro rata - Full or part time

Welcome

Dear Candidate,

Thank you for your interest in becoming a Commissioner of the Criminal Cases Review Commission.

The Commission is an independent body, set up by Act of Parliament, to investigate possible miscarriages of justice in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.  We are looking for new Commissioners.             

The right to a fair trial is fundamental to the rule of law.  We help safeguard the rights of the individual and the integrity of the trial process by considering whether convictions are safe and sentences appropriate and, where we judge they may not be, referring them back to the courts so that injustices can be rectified.  We are an important part of the system of constitutional checks and balances.   

We are looking for people who are committed to remedying miscarriages of justice, who understand the importance of what we do and who share our absolute commitment to ensuring a fair and open system of justice for all.  We want Commissioners who are astute, energetic, fearless, dedicated, hard working and fair; people who combine independence of mind with the ability to work as part of a team.

You do not need to be a lawyer but you do need to have, or be willing to acquire, an understanding of the criminal justice system.  We welcome applications from people of all backgrounds and from all walks of life. This is not a job for the fainthearted. If you share our passion for doing the right thing, and our abiding commitment to the rule of law, then we would like to hear from you.

I do hope you will consider applying for this important position.

Richard Foster, Chair, Criminal Cases Review Commission

Overview of the Commissionís role

The Criminal Cases Review Commission was the first statutory body in the world created to investigate possible miscarriages of justice and, where appropriate, to refer cases back to the appeal courts. We remain one of only three such bodies in the world and cover England, Wales and Northern Ireland.  The others are in Scotland and Norway.

Created by Parliament in 1997, the Commission's role is to look into cases where a miscarriage of justice is alleged or suspected and to decide if there is any new evidence or new argument which raises a real possibility that an appeal court would quash a conviction or reduce a sentence.

Commissioners are the Commission's decision makers.  They decide whether or not particular convictions or sentences should be referred back to the courts.   They also act as Board members and, under the Chair's leadership, help decide the Commission's governance, set its strategic direction and oversee its management. 

Commissioners oversee investigations and decide cases involving individual applicants and also, oversee investigations carried out at the instigation of the Court of Appeal Criminal Division. 

The Commission, and therefore Commissioners, are entrusted with the exercise of wide-ranging, and sometimes intrusive, statutory powers.  Commissioners are supported by senior managers, legal and investigations advisers, casework and administrative staff.  Investigations are mainly carried out by Commission staff but the Commission can require others, such as the police, to carry out investigations on the Commission's behalf.  Commissioners remain directly responsible for decision taking with regard to individual cases as set out in the Criminal Appeal Act 1995.

The appointment of up to four full or part-time Commissioners, one of whom has knowledge or experience of the Northern Ireland criminal justice system.  Commissioners would usually expect to work for at least three days a week. The appointments will be from July 2012 for a period of up to five years.

Qualities Required

The Criminal Appeal Act prescribes that at least one third of the members, i.e. Commissioners, shall be legally qualified. The Act also prescribes that at least two thirds of the members shall be persons who appear to the Prime Minister to have knowledge or experience of any aspect of the criminal justice system.

The Commission is therefore seeking applications from candidates who are legally qualified and those who are not, and also from those with, and without knowledge or experience of the criminal justice system.

The Commission is also looking to replace its Commissioner with knowledge or experience of any aspect of the criminal justice system in Northern Ireland.

To help you decide if you have the qualities, skills and experience required for this post, we have listed below the criteria that we will apply when assessing candidates.  You must have:

Essential Criteria

  1. Independence of mind and sound judgment, experience of evidence based decision-making, plus the ability to prioritise, assimilate and analyse large quantities of complex data promptly, painstakingly and thoroughly;
  2. The ability to direct investigations, seek and challenge information and bring a fresh perspective;
  3. Ability and willingness to contribute corporately and to work constructively with others including Commission staff, fellow Commissioners and key stakeholders, and to provide advice and direction in a way that inspires confidence and direction to case review managers and fellow Commissioners;
  4. A demonstrable concern for and interest in the criminal justice system whether in England, Wales or Northern Ireland and the ability to act only and always in the interests of justice; and
  5. An understanding of, and commitment to, equality and diversity, plus strong communication and advocacy skills and a personal style that demonstrates authority, commitment and consistency and inspires trust and confidence.

If you are successful and are asked to interview, you will be given a casework example and asked to argue the point for or against referral to the Court of Appeal. This will form part of the interview. 

Eligibility

It is essential that Commissioners are, and are seen to be, independent. Therefore no Commissioner can be involved in any work or activity which may call that into question. In particular if the applicant is either a solicitor or a barrister in criminal practice or where the firm or chambers concerned is engaged in criminal work; or the applicant is the holder of a judicial office in the criminal courts, they would be required to cease practice and end affiliation to a firm or chambers, or relinquish the judicial office prior to appointment as a Commissioner.

Recruitment timetable

Timetable of the recruitment process
Closing dateNoon 2 April 2012
Shortlisting 10th May 2012
Interviews23rd, 29th & 30th May 2012
Successful CandidateMid July 2012

How to apply

All applicants are required to complete an application form. You are also asked to supply your CV as part of your submission. Your CV must be a maximum of 4 pages.  Your application must address the criteria set out in the Qualities Required section above, using examples to demonstrate how you meet the essential requirements.  You should also provide the names, positions, organisations and contact details for two referees, one of whom should be your current or most recent employer. If you do not wish us to approach your referees without your prior permission, please state this clearly.

PLEASE NOTE:
You will be asked to complete an online Equal Opportunities Monitoring Form, after you have uploaded your completed application form.

If you consider yourself to have a disability as defined under the Equality Act 2010 and would like to apply under the Guaranteed Interview Scheme then please complete the Guaranteed Interview Request form and upload with your application as a supplementary document. Braille and large print formats of the application pack and the application forms are available on request from: GatenbySanderson on 020 7426 3994.

Once you have submitted your application, you will receive an automated e-mail to confirm that you have applied. If you do not receive this, please first check your email Spam/Junk folders and then make contact with GatenbySanderson.

Information you provide in your application may be made available to the Commissioner for Public Appointments and the Commissioner’s auditors on a confidential basis in order to help fulfil the Commissioner’s formal complaints investigation role and for audit purposes.

Contact details

Contact
Katrina Paget
Telephone
020 7426 3994
Contact
Mark Turner
Telephone
0207 426 3983
Contact
Sophie Rees
Telephone
0113 205 6280

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