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Grand Chamber Judgment In Miscarriage Compensation Cases - 11th June 2024

On 11th June 2024 the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights will give judgment in a case brought by Victor Nealon and Sam Hallam against the UK Government over its miscarriage of justice compensation scheme for the wrongfully convicted on the basis its scheme amended by the Coalition Government in 2014 breaches the Presumption of innocence . The First Claimant in the Case is represented by Mark Newby of QualitySolicitors Jordans LLP



No-one in the UK could currently escape the perfect storm that seems to have arisen in recent months over miscarriages of justice and how we treat the wrongfully convicted , Whether that is the unedifying spectacle of the Post Office and its former Directors / Staff  trying to explain away the persecution of wrongfully convicted Post Office Masters / Mistresses or the significant fall out we have seen from the case of Andrew Malkinson emphasising the failures of all parts of the Justice System not least the Criminal Cases Review Commission [ See BBC Documentary – The Wrong Man 17 Years Behind Bars BBC 2  – 9pm – Thursday 6th June 2024  ]

Yet the issues raised in these shocking cases are not new and for a long time men and women have faced an unprecedented battle to prove they are wrongfully convicted by a system that wants to paper over the cracks of a crumbling justice system . More disturbingly the State has since 2014 been operating an amended miscarriage of compensation scheme which requires the wrongfully convicted to prove their innocence a second time to the Secretary of State for Justice despite the fact that the Court of Appeal in quashing their convictions has already returned their innocence to them . This places the SSJ as Judge , Jury and potential payer on any application which cannot be right .

This was the subject matter of a legal challenge brought by our client Victor Nealon and Sam Hallam which over a significant number of years worked its way through the Uk Courts and ultimately fell to be determined by the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights on 5th July 2023 – See Earlier Statement Below

We are now informed that the Grand Chamber has reached its decision, and that decision will be handed down on 11th June 2024 .

The future of how we deal with the wrongfully convicted is now at stake and without a reversal of the current test it will remain the case that virtually all applicants for compensation will continue to be denied fair compensation for what the state has done to them . For example, just like Andrew Malkinson , Victor Nealon served a 17 year sentence for a crime he did not commit and yet the only thing Victor Nealon has received from the Government was a £46 travel warrant on the day he was released .

It is hoped that the Grand Chamber will recognise the breach that has occurred and find in favour of the Applicants with suitable awards , but whatever the outcome the new Government after the general election must if it believes that the wrongfully convicted are victims take immediate action to change the compensation scheme and ensure that any assessment in the future rests with an independent assessor or tribunal . Such action must include ensuring that Victor Nealon and Sam Hallam are properly compensated for what has happened to them along with any other applicants wrongfully denied compensation .

We will provide further comment after the Judgment is issued next week

Victor Nealon is represented before the Grand Chamber by His Barristers Matthew Stanbury and David Pojur – together with his Solicitor Mark Newby




The Grand Chamber will hear the cases of Victor Nealon and Sam Hallam tomorrow                    (5.7.23) in a long running challenge to the miscarriage of justice compensation scheme which was amended by the coalition government under the then Lord Chancellor Chris Grayling . We represent Victor Nealon.

Section 133(1) of the Criminal Justice Act 1988 (CJA) provides for compensation following a reversal of a conviction or pardon. Section 133(1ZA) defines a “miscarriage of justice” as occurring when a new or newly discovered fact demonstrates that the person did not commit the offence. It requires the person to prove, for the purposes of compensation, that they were innocent. Of course, once a conviction is quashed, an individual should be presumed innocent, as they have no longer been proven guilty. Requiring an individual to prove innocence reverses this fundamental rule of justice, placing a near impossible burden on the applicant for compensation. A further difficulty with such a test is that the quashing court – the Court of Appeal Criminal Division – does not consider whether the appellant is innocent of the crime; it considers whether the conviction is unsafe. This is because the justice system determines guilt rather than innocence.

Turning to the cases under review: Mr Hallam served over seven years for a murder. His conviction was quashed on the basis of evidence that had not been disclosed to him at his trial which suggested he was not involved.  Mr Nealon served 17 years for an attempted rape. His conviction was quashed on the basis of DNA evidence on an unknown male found on the victims clothing not his. Despite the strong evidence that they did not commit these crimes, they were denied compensation as they were unable to produce evidence that satisfied the Secretary of State beyond reasonable doubt that they did not commit these offences.

The cases have been through several hearings which culminated in a refusal by the Supreme Court in 2019 in a split decision in which the current President of the Supreme Court Lord Reed  and the Late Lord Kerr both concluded the applicants appeals should have been allowed . There was a suggestion that the previous ruling so the ECHR were confused, yet in a previous case of Allen the Court gave a clear lead as to when a compensation scheme could call the innocence of a person in to question, and the applicants argue that the current legislation does exactly that.

Mark Newby, Solicitor for Victor Nealon said:

“How we treat the wrongfully convicted says everything about the sort of society we want to be. It should not be forgotten that the hurdle to even quash a wrongful conviction is set impossibly high and for those who have climbed that mountain it is just wrong to ask them to then scale the same mountain again and prove to the government beyond reasonable doubt that they are innocent.If you weren’t at the scene of a murder or the DNA on a victims clothing wasn’t you but somebody else, what more should have to be said?That is why we must now ask the European Court of Human Rights to intervene. Justice depends on it.”

And of Course, as Justice the Human Rights Charity have highlighted this is not just about compensation

Miscarriages of justice destroy lives, with individuals facing numerous difficulties on release from prison. JUSTICE’s report Supporting Exonerees: Ensuring accessible, consistent and continuing support (2018), highlights that there is no automatic accommodation, social security assistance or psychiatric assessment available to victims of miscarriage of justice. The report also records the hardship, difficulty in adjustment and trauma that victims of miscarriage of justice face for years after their release.

Justice are again intervening in this case and have made written submission to the Court as have the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission highlighting the unique problems the test causes in Northern Ireland.

The case is advanced on a number of detailed and complex arguments but effectively it is maintained that the test does breach the presumption of innocence,

Overall it is unsustainable to reach an artificial distinction between proving innocence on the basis of the newly discovered fact and as a whole it requires the same assessment.

As Lord Kerr [ dissenting indicated ]noted there will be many who are truly innocent but are unable to establish their innocence as a positive fact, and that this must form part of the backdrop to the proper approach to the application of Article 6(2) (paragraph 202); that there is a “clear and constant” line of jurisprudence from that court which establishes that the relevant question is “whether there was a link between the concluded criminal proceedings and the compensation proceedings; and that if there is doubt as to whether he should have been acquitted, the individual will not be able to avail of the Article 6(2) protection, but if he can show that he ought never to have been charged or convicted, he will (paragraph 205).

The Court hearing in front of a panel of 17 Judges from convention countries can be watched online from tomorrow by following this link : Nealon v. the United Kingdom and Hallam v. the United Kingdom (nos. 32483/19 and 35049/19) – ECHR – ECHR / CEDH ( .

If any greater insight is required to why these cases are so important …..when you go to sleep tonight open your eyes and imagine you are in a prison cell , then think about doing the same thing for 6205 days knowing you are innocent , then imagine during those 6205 days your family and friends dying around you and not even being able to go to close family members funerals , finally imagine being suddenly told it’s all over , given a travel warrant for £46 and dumped at a railway station with no help or support or any apology  …………..

We argue not only is this law inhumane, but it breaches the presumption of innocence, it was a law intended to stop legitimate claims for compensation and we hope the Court will agree that it should not stand.


Victor Nealon is represented before the Grand Chamber by His Barristers Matthew Stanbury and David Pojur – together with his Solicitor Mark Newby

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