Supreme Court rules miscarriage of justice compensation law does not breach ECHR

3PB barrister Mathew Gullick was junior counsel for the Justice Secretary in The Queen (on the applications of Hallam and Nealon) v Secretary of State for Justice [2019] UKSC 2 in which the Supreme Court, by a 5-2 majority, has ruled that the definition of “miscarriage of justice” in section 133(1ZA) of the Criminal Justice Act 1988 is not incompatible with Article 6(2) of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) (the presumption of innocence).  The definition provides that a “miscarriage of justice” giving rise to the right to compensation only occurs when an out-of-time appeal against conviction is allowed because a new or newly discovered fact “shows beyond reasonable doubt that the person did not commit the offence”.

A majority of the Supreme Court Justices held that Article 6(2) was not applicable in these circumstances; but that even if it was applicable, the definition (which was introduced with effect from March 2014) did not infringe the presumption of innocence guaranteed by Article 6(2).  The judgment contains extensive analysis of the scope of Article 6(2) and a wide range of the European Court of Human Rights’ jurisprudence.

The judgment and press summary published by the Supreme Court is available here.

Mathew Gullick previously appeared as junior counsel for the Justice Secretary in the earlier hearings in this case in both the High Court and the Court of Appeal.  Please click this link to view Mathew Gullick's profile.