The Criminal Justice Review Project is committed to the generation of research examining how the sources of miscarriage of justice facilitate error (in isolation or in combination) at each stage of the criminal justice process.
The purpose of this research is to remedy error by facilitating change to policy and practice and by seeking law reform. The research conducted will contribute to the generation of theoretically informed relevant knowledge that informs decision making.
For the purpose of generating a research agenda, miscarriage of justice has been defined as “the failure to attain the desired end result of justice” (Walker, 1991, p 31). Although this definition is literal in meaning, it acknowledges that miscarriages of justice can occur at each stage in the justice system process and that certain sources of miscarriage of justice have the capacity to eventuate in wrongful conviction and wrongful acquittal. It also acknowledges that research facilitates justice or fairness in terms of process and outcome.
The Criminal Justice Review Project’s research agenda for 2010 will be developed in consultation with a Research Reference Group consisting of representatives from each arm of justice and the Director of the Sellenger Centre for Research in Law, Justice and Policing. Research will target two critical areas:
- Police investigative practices.
- Factors that impact on legal decision making.
The first year of operation has been devoted to the development of the Criminal Justice Review Project. During this phase of development, research focus has been informed by:
- Difficulties encountered developing a process of case review that is consistent with the aims of the Criminal Justice Review Project.
- Ethical issues associated with inclusion and exclusion criteria.
- The factors identified as potential sources of miscarriage justice during the process of case review to date.