The Innocence Project London aims to undertake thorough and objective investigations into alleged wrongful convictions of individuals who maintain their innocence and have exhausted the criminal appeals process.

About the IPL


The Innocence Project London (IPL) was established in 2010, it became a registered charity in 2020. Run by Director Dr Louise Hewitt, law and criminology students work in small groups alongside a practising lawyer, to review and investigate claims of innocence from convicted individuals who have exhausted the criminal appeals process. In January 2016, the IPL became a member of the Innocence Network, which is based in the United States of America. The global Innocence Network (IN) also based in the USA, is an affiliation of 67 innocence organisations from several different countries, all of which offer pro-bono legal and investigative services to convicted individuals who have maintained their innocence.

The majority of clients that apply to the IPL will have already appealed their conviction or sentence, so the aim of our work is to submit an application to the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC). The CCRC is an independent body which reviews possible miscarriages of justice in the United Kingdom. They have the ability to decide whether a conviction or sentence should be referred back to the Court of Appeal. The CCRC will only refer a case back to the Court of Appeal if they find a new piece of evidence or a new legal argument that was not put forward at the time of the trial, which would render the conviction unsafe in the context that it would have changed the decision of the jury had they had been aware of it.

Students working on the IPL learn through the “innocence project model” of clinical legal education which developed in the United States of America (USA), where the first innocence project was founded in 1992. They analyse the evidence that led to conviction, develop legal theories that could reopen the case and search for factual evidence of innocence. Both law and criminology students can apply to work on the IPL as volunteers or for Criminology students they can apply as part of a credit bearing module.

Innocence Project London

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Learning through clinical legal education

The innocence project model has been adapted to be used with the English criminal justice system where individuals have their convictions found unsafe, unlike in the USA where individuals are exonerated.

Working on the IPL, students deconstruct the criminal cases, analyse the evidence that led to conviction, develop legal theories that could reopen the case and search for factual evidence of innocence.  Globally, the deconstruction of a conviction to support a claim of innocence operates at the end of the criminal justice system, unlike clinical legal education in its traditional form. The process identifies the evidence that convicted the client and searches for gaps in the evidence provides a significant opportunity to develop reflective practice, alongside creative problem solving.

The IPL provides students with a unique opportunity to critically reflect on how the criminal justice system has worked, and how it might work differently and more effectively. The learning pedagogy that has been developed combines experiential or practical learning as a result of direct involvement with a case, with elements of work-based learning to create an employer/ employee environment for students. The learning activities students experience are the same as that found in the legal workplace such as performance related tasks, solving problems, learning from work activities, work teams and enhancing performance, which reflected the learning from putting together bundles under the constraints of time, drafting directions to experts and sorting through case files .


Applications for student volunteer caseworkers

The IPL currently only accepts student volunteers from the University of Greenwich. Students from other universities should consider applying for an unpaid internship more detail can be found on the IPL website.

The IPL places a call for volunteers at the end of March/beginning of April each year. Law students in year 1 and year 2 of their degrees and Criminology students in year 1 are encouraged to apply.

There is a two- part application process. The first part consists of the submission of a CV and investigative report.  There will then be a shortlisting process and the successful candidates from part one will proceed to part two and be asked to take part in an interview where they will present their investigation.

More details are provided when the call for volunteers is a announced on 1 April each year - open to University of Greenwich students only.


Disclaimer

Any information on the web page of the Innocence Project London should not be construed as legal advice, it is merely providing information as to the Project. The Innocence Project London reserves the right to cancel, suspend or modify in any way the contents of this website.

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