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Keywords:

  • miscarriage of justice;
  • compensation;
  • s133 Criminal Justice Act 1988

The Supreme Court determined that a ‘fresh approach’ was needed in an attempt to bring some clarity to the issue of the eligibility for compensation of those who have had their convictions quashed by the Court of Appeal. The definition that the majority agreed upon was that ‘a new fact will show that a miscarriage of justice has occurred when it so undermines the evidence against the defendant that no conviction could possibly be based upon it’. This article argues that the judgment suffers from a failure to consider the purpose of the legislation; that it is unclear whether the test is normative or historical and that this presents a particular problem in cases relating to the Northern Ireland conflict. The Court focuses on the guilt of the appellant and excludes from its consideration any notion of culpability by the state, which is a cause for concern.