High Court clarifies entitlement to compensation on the grounds that there has been a “miscarriage of justice”

The High Court has heard several judicial reviews following the decision of the Supreme Court in R (Adams) v Secretary of State for Justice; Re MacDermott, and Re McCartney [2011] UKSC 18, which examined issues to do with compensation claims for those wrongly convicted.

The question faced by the High Court was whether and, in what circumstances, a person whose conviction has been set aside or who has been pardoned should be so compensated which was said by Lord Bingham in Re McFarland [2004] UKHL 17 at [7] to be “a difficult and sensitive one”. This is because of (a) the need to distinguish those who are the innocent victims of mistake or misidentification and those who are fortunate to have escaped their just deserts, (b) the difficulty in some cases of doing so, and (c) the “interaction, in this field, of judicial and executive activity” with the consequent need for each of these two branches of the State to recognise and respect the proper role of the other.

The judgement which can be read here is also useful because it attempts to define what is meant by ‘miscarriage of justice’.


This item has been sourced from the British and Irish Legal Information Institute (BAILII) website, where you can find British and Irish case law & legislation, European Union case law, Law Commission reports, and other law-related British and Irish material.