54.Until recently there were two possible routes to obtaining compensation from the Home Office for those who had been wrongfully convicted of criminal offences; section 133 of the Criminal Justice Act 1988 (“CJA”) and what was generally known as the “ex gratia scheme”. However, on 9 April 2006, without prior warning the Home Secretary announced the abolition of the ex gratia scheme. This is currently the subject of an application for judicial review in respect of which permission has been granted101.
55.The statutory scheme for providing compensation in respect of wrongful convictions is based on article 14(6) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Section 133 provides that:
(1)Subject to subsection (2) below, when a person has been convicted of a criminal offence and when subsequently his conviction has been reversed or he has been pardoned on the ground that a new or newly discovered fact shows beyond reasonable doubt that there has been a miscarriage of justice, the Secretary of State shall pay compensation for the miscarriage of justice to the person who has suffered punishment as a result of such conviction or, if he is dead, to his personal representatives, unless the non-disclosure of the unknown fact was wholly or party attributable to the person convicted.
(5)In this section “reversed” shall be construed as referring to a conviction having been quashed –
on an appeal out of time; or
on a reference –
under the Criminal Appeal Act 1995; or
under section 263 of the Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act 1975.
on an appeal under section 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000.
(6)For the purposes of this section a person suffers punishment as a result of a conviction when sentence is passed on him for the offence of which he was convicted. “
56.Thus In order to qualify for compensation under section 133 an applicant needs to show:
101 R (Bhatt Murphy & Ors) v Secretary of State for the Home Department & Independent Assessor Co 5932/2006.