Adams, Regina (on The Application of) v Secretary of State for Justice: SC 11 May 2011

The three claimants had each been convicted of murders and served time. Their convictions had been reversed eventually, and they now appealed against the refusal of compensation for imprisonment, saying that there had been a miscarriage of justice.
Held: The appeal of Adams was denied, but those of MacDermott and McCartney allowed (by majority). The phrase ‘miscarriage of justice’ admitted of several meanings. The Covenant intended to allow compensation for those who had not committed the offence, but to deny it to those who had in fact committed the crime. Section 133 was not restricted to allow compensation only to those shown to be innocent, but should also (by majority) extend to those in fact innocent but could include a situation where ‘A new or newly discovered fact will show conclusively that a miscarriage of justice has occurred when it so undermines the evidence against the defendant that no conviction could possibly be based upon it.’
Lord Phillips (agreeing with Lady Hale, Lord Kerr and Lord Clarke) held that the phrase ‘new or newly discovered fact’ should be read generously to give effect to Article 14(6) and include facts the significance of which was not appreciated by the defence team at trial.
Lord Hope said: ‘The principle that is applied is that it is not open to the state to undermine the effect of the acquittal. What article 14(6) does not do is forbid comments on the underlying facts of the case in subsequent proceedings of a different kind, such as a civil claim of damages, when it is necessary to find out what happened. The system that article 14(6) of the ICCPR provides does not cross the forbidden boundary. The procedure laid down in section 133 provides for a decision to be taken by the executive on the question of entitlement to compensation which is entirely separate from the proceedings in the criminal courts.’
Lady Hale said: ‘I agree that a ‘miscarriage of justice’ in section 133 of the [1988 Act] should be interpreted as proposed . . The phrase is clearly capable of bearing a wider meaning than conclusive proof of innocence. Both the inspiration for section 133, in article 14(6) of the ICCPR . . and the meaning of ‘miscarriage of justice’ in domestic law in 1988 support a wider meaning. The drafters of article 14(6) rejected all attempts to confine it to proof of innocence.’
Lord Judge (dissenting) said: ‘as a matter of construction the operation of the compensation scheme under section 133 is confined to miscarriages of justice in which the defendant was convicted of an offence of which he was truly innocent. In my judgment nothing less will do, and no alternative or half-way house or compromise solution consistent with this clear statutory provision is available.’

Lord Phillips, President, Lord Hope, Deputy President, Lord Rodger, Lord Walker, Lady Hale, Lord Brown, Lord Judge, Lord Kerr, Lord Clarke
[2011] UKSC 18, UKSC 2010/0012, 31 BHRC 71, [2012] 1 AC 48, [2011] 3 All ER 261, [2011] NI 42, [2011] 2 WLR 1180
Bailii, Bailii Summary, SC Summary, SC
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights 1966 14(6), Criminal Justice Act 1988 133, European Convention on Human Rights 6(2)
England and Wales
At First InstanceRegina (Adams) v Secretary of State for Justice Admn 2009
. .
Appeal FromAdams, Regina (on The Application of) v Secretary of State for Justice CA 27-Nov-2009
The claimant sought compensation for his imprisonment after the overturning of his conviction, on the basis that evidence had emerged which undermined the conviction.
Held: Such a claim could not succeed where the reason for the non-use of the . .
Appeal fromMacDermott and Another, Re Judicial Review CANI 8-Feb-2010
The applicants had been convicted of murders and had served terms of imprisonment, but had been released when their convictions had been overturned. They now appealed against a refusal of judicial review of a decision not to award them compensation . .
CitedMullen, Regina (on the Application of) v Secretary of State for the Home Department HL 29-Apr-2004
The claimant had been imprisoned, but his conviction was later overturned. He had been a victim of a gross abuse of executive power. The British authorities had acted in breach of international law and had been guilty of ‘a blatant and extremely . .
CitedSalomon v Customs and Excise Commissioners CA 1966
Diplock LJ said: ‘The Convention is one of those public acts of state of Her Majesty’s Government of which Her Majesty’s judges must take judicial notice if it be relevant to the determination of a case before them, if necessary informing themselves . .
CitedAllen (formerly Harris), Regina (on the Application of) v Secretary of State for Justice CA 15-Jul-2008
The claimant appealed against refusal of a review of the defendant to allow her compensation after her conviction for manslaughter of her infant son was quashed.
Held: The conviction had been based on flawed expert evidence.
Article 6(2) . .
CitedHammern v Norway ECHR 11-Feb-2003
The claimant was acquitted by a jury at trial and he then sought compensation for the period of his detention on remand. The test applied was whether ‘it is shown to be probable that he did not perform the act that formed the basis for the charge’. . .
CitedSiddall, Regina (on the Application of) v Secretary of State for Justice Admn 16-Mar-2009
The claimant had been imprisoned then released after his conviction for sexual assaults. He appealed against rejection of his claim for compensation. The criterion for compensation was demonstrating that something had ‘gone seriously wrong in the . .
CitedTaliadorou And Stylianou v Cyprus ECHR 16-Oct-2008
One of the functions of article 6(2) is to protect an acquitted person’s reputation from statements or acts that follow an acquittal which would seem to undermine it. . .
CitedFothergill v Monarch Airlines Ltd HL 10-Jul-1980
The plaintiff, on arriving at the airport found that his luggage had been lost. The defendant denied liability saying he had not notified his claim within the requisite period.
Held: Elementary justice requires that the rules by which the . .
CitedOrr v Norway ECHR 15-May-2008
The national High Court had dealt with the acquittal of the now complainant and the payment of compensation to the complainant in two clearly distinct parts of its judgment, but in several places highlighted that the standard of proof for civil . .
CitedRegina v Mullins-Johnson 19-Oct-2007
(Court of Appeal for Ontario) The appellant had been convicted of murder of his 4 year old niece and served 12 years in prison. His conviction was based on expert evidence that the autopsy indicated that the young girl had been sexually abused and . .
CitedRegina v Adams, T CACD 9-Apr-2008
. .
CitedSekanina v Austria ECHR 25-Aug-1993
The applicant was detained on remand for about a year on suspicion of murdering his wife. He was acquitted by a jury. He applied for compensation for costs incurred in his defence and pecuniary damage sustained during his detention under the . .
CitedClibery, Regina (on the Application of) v Secretary of State for the Home Department Admn 30-Jul-2007
The claimant sought judicial review of a decision of the Home Secretary, to refuse his application for compensation. He had first been convicted and imprisoned and then had his conviction quashed. The respondent did not think that the conviction was . .
CitedIn Re Boyle’s Application for Judicial Review CANI 28-Apr-2006
Appeal from a decision dismissing an application for judicial review of the decision of the Director of Public Prosecutions whereby he refused to provide detailed reasons for his decision not to prosecute two police officers for perjury. . .
CitedLeutscher v The Netherlands ECHR 26-Mar-1996
Lack of jurisdiction (complaint inadmissible); No violation of Art. 6-2 – The Commission distinguished cases in which there has been no acquittal on the merits of the accusation. . .
CitedRegina (Murphy) v Secretary of State for the Home Department; Regina (Brannan) v Same Admn 10-Feb-2005
The appellants sought compensation for their imprisonment having been (Mr Brannan’s father) wrongly convicted. They sought to bring in new evidence. The first appellant and the second appellant’s father had been convicted of murder. The second . .
CitedRushiti v Austria ECHR 21-Mar-2000
The right of every person under the Convention to be presumed innocent, includes the general rule that no suspicion regarding an accused’s innocence may be voiced after his acquittal: ‘In any case, the Court is not convinced by the Government’s . .
CitedY v Norway ECHR 11-Feb-2003
The applicant was acquitted by the Norwegian High Court of serious criminal charges, but the same court then went on to make an order for him to pay compensation to the victim’s relatives on the ground that it was clearly probable that he had . .
CitedWeixelbraun v Austria ECHR 20-Dec-2001
Hudoc Judgment (Merits and just satisfaction) Violation of Art. 6-2; Costs and expenses partial award – Convention Proceedings . .
CitedRegina v Hetherington CANI 1975
Lowry LCJ discussed the rule against the admission of evidence obtained under mistreatment and said: ‘It is not for the defence to prove but for the prosecution to disprove beyond reasonable doubt in relation to each accused that he was not subject . .
CitedMcIlkenny v Chief Constable of the West Midlands CA 1980
The appellant had been convicted of an IRA bombing, causing loss of many lives. The appellant and his other co-accused alleged that their confessions had been induced by police violence. The trial judge ruled that their confessions were voluntary . .
CitedBateman and Howse, Regina (on the Application Of) v Secretary of State for the Home Department CA 17-May-1994
The plaintiff had been convicted of several counts of receiving stolen goods and sentenced to six years’ imprisonment. He had appealed to the Court of Appeal on the ground that he had been convicted on the basis of evidence in statement form given . .
CitedRegina v Fergus CACD 29-Jun-1993
A judge should withdraw a case which was based on poor identification evidence, and the prosecution must be sure to disclose all identification evidence. ‘In a case dependent on visual identification, and particularly where that is the only . .
CitedRegina v Smith; Regina v Taylor; Regina v Nicholson; Regina v Johnson CACD 25-May-1999
Where a court had wrongly rejected a submission of no case to answer, a subsequent admission of guilt by the defendant under cross-examination, was not sufficient to deny an appeal. Such an appeal is judged as at the time the submission is made. The . .
CitedBok v The Netherlands ECHR 18-Jan-2011
. .
CitedRegina v James Hanratty (Deceased) CACD 10-May-2002
Posthumous Appeal – Clear Purpose and Care Needed
An appeal was presented against the conviction for a murder many years earlier. The prosecution sought to introduce DNA evidence to support its case. The appellant party objected.
Held: The purpose of the appeal was to achieve justice, and . .
CitedHodgson, Regina v CACD 18-Mar-2009
The defendant appealed against his conviction for murder.
Held: The appeal succeeded. After many years in prison, the original exhibits had been located and subjected to DNA analysis which proved that the defendant could not, despite his . .

Cited by:
CitedAR, Regina (on The Application of) v Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police and Another SC 30-Jul-2018
The appellant had been tried for and acquitted on a criminal charge. He now challenged the disclosure by the respondent of the charge in an Enhanced Criminal Record Certificate.
Held: His appeal failed. The critical question was whether the . .
CitedHallam, Regina (on The Application of) v Secretary of State for Justice SC 30-Jan-2019
These appeals concern the statutory provisions governing the eligibility for compensation of persons convicted of a criminal offence where their conviction is subsequently quashed (or they are pardoned) because of the impact of fresh evidence. It . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Northern Ireland, Criminal Practice, Damages

Updated: 31 December 2021; Ref: scu.439646