Commissioners of the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC) wanted:

The CCRC’s role is to investigate and review cases where it is alleged that a miscarriage of justice may have occurred in relation to conviction, sentence or both. The CCRC is entrusted with the exercise of wide-ranging, and sometimes intrusive, statutory powers. Commissioners are supported by senior managers, legal and investigations advisers, casework and administrative staff. Investigations are mainly carried out by CCRC staff but CCRC can require others, such as the police, to carry out investigations on its behalf.

Commissioners make casework decisions. This may be as part of a committee of three commissioners (where, for example, consideration is being given to referring a case back to the appeal courts) or more regularly individually, where case working staff, having reviewed and investigated a case, consider that a referral may not be appropriate. Commissioners may also be asked to become involved in the most complex of CCRC cases right at the start where they may decide what investigations staff (or others) will carry out on behalf of the CCRC. The majority of a Commissioner’s time will be focussed on taking decisions in respect of individual cases on his or her own.  

Commissioners may be called on to provide specialist advice depending on their background and expertise. Commissioners may also be involved in the training of staff and of fellow Commissioners; again, depending on the expertise they bring.

The CCRC is located in Birmingham. Staff and Commissioners work in an open plan environment and although it is a long way off from being a paperless office, it is increasingly adopting the digitalisation agenda. Most of their work is carried out electronically so it is essential that all Commissioners are comfortable using IT.

Staff and Commissioners can do work from home via mobile access. As part of the MoJ estates rationalisation agenda, the CCRC may move to smaller accommodation but it will remain important that Commissioners can and do attend the office on a regular basis.

Person Specification and Eligibility

The Act prescribes that at least one third of Commissioners, shall be legally qualified. The Act also prescribes that at least two thirds of Commissioners shall be persons who appear to the Prime Minister to have knowledge or experience of any aspect of the criminal justice system and, of them, at least one shall be a person who appears to him to have knowledge or experience of any aspect of the criminal justice system in Northern Ireland.

We are seeking a number of Commissioners. The precise number will depend on various factors including the skill set of the candidates; the fit across the Commissioner body; and capacity in terms of the number of days candidates can offer. Incoming Commissioners must also have an understanding of, and commitment to, equality and diversity.

Northern Ireland

Our search for new Commissioners also includes appointing at least one Northern Ireland Commissioner. This person does not need to be a lawyer and does not need to be based in Northern Ireland.

While all posts are open to lawyers and non-lawyers alike, the Commission needs to ensure that at least some of the new Commissioners have recent experience of criminal practice to replace those with this experience who are leaving.

The CCRC has recently changed its policy in respect of Commissioners being able to hold posts simultaneously in the criminal justice system. It encourages and welcomes applications from candidates who also hold posts in the criminal justice system which do not raise an issue in respect of conflict. The CCRC considers that posts which do raise an unacceptable level of conflict include lawyers representing those involved in criminal cases or lawyers sitting or working in the Court of Appeal Criminal Division. Our policy can be found at www.ccrc.gov.uk on the Commission’s website.

Person Specification

Eligibility

It is essential that Commissioners are, and are seen to be, independent and impartial; all applicants must clearly set out any perceived conflict of interest in the supporting documents.

 Qualities of a Commissioner

To help you decide if you have the qualities, skills and experience required for this post,

we have listed below the criteria that we will apply when assessing candidates.

Essential criteria

You must:

  • Demonstrate integrity, fairness and independence of mind and sound judgement to make incisive, fair and legally sound decisions.
  • Demonstrate intellectual capacity with the ability to make evidence-based decisions; and high level analytical ability, with experience of analysing complex legal or non-legal issues
  • Demonstrate ability to acquire knowledge and understanding quickly, especially of unfamiliar subject matters
  • Quickly assimilate information to identify essential issues and focus on the relevant issues, encouraging others to do the same
  • Allocate time and prioritise tasks effectively, delegating where appropriate, ensuring efficient completion of workload
  • Communicate succinctly and in a well-reasoned manner, using technical language only when necessary
  • Demonstrate courtesy and authority, instilling confidence in others by using effective communication
  • Demonstrate an ability to work in an intensive IT based environment and engaging with available technology to carry out the role in the most efficient and effective way

Northern Ireland Commissioner

In addition to the above criteria, candidates for the Northern Ireland Commissioner must also have

  • (Essential) experience of stakeholder engagement in Northern Ireland
  • (Essential) a thorough understanding of the political landscape in Northern Ireland and the Northern Ireland criminal justice system especially in relation to The Troubles cases.
  • (Desirable) current or very recent experience of the criminal justice system in Northern Ireland.

Candidates may be invited to complete a critical reasoning test and take part in a casework scenario group exercise as part of the selection process. This will help inform the selection panel’s decision on who to recommend for interview.

You do not need any legal knowledge to complete this exercise which has been prepared so that it is equally accessible to candidates who are not legally qualified. You may, however, benefit from looking at the Criminal Appeal Act 1995 and the Commission’s case working policies which are available at  http://www.ccrc.gov.uk/publications/ccrc-casework-policies/.

How to Apply

To make an application, please send:

  • A CV (maximum two sides of A4) detailing your qualifications, employment history and any appointments or offices you hold. Please also provide your preferred contact number and email address.
  • A personal statement (maximum two sides of A4) providing evidence against the role criteria and your suitability for the post.
      • Please consider the role and criteria carefully in preparing your statements.
      • Information from Advisory Assessment Panels indicates that applications which offer specific and tailored examples against the criteria, making clear the candidate’s role in achieving an outcome, are often the strongest.
  • Structuring the statement around the criteria using relevant headings also aids clarity.
  • If applying for the Northern Ireland role, please make this clear in your statement.

Supporting Documents

Please also complete and return the following supporting documents:

  • conflicts of interest: You should declare any actual or potential conflict of interest or anything which might cause embarrassment should you be appointed. The Advisory Assessment Panel may wish to explore these further with you if you are shortlisted for interview. Conflicts might arise from a variety of sources such as financial interests or share ownership, membership of, or association with, particular bodies or the activities of relatives or partners. If you need further advice, please contact Tunde Alebiosu at PublicAppointmentsTeam@justice.gov.uk.
  • note of public appointments – please list any appointments currently held;
  • referee details – please give names/contact details of two referees who will be contacted if you are shortlisted for interview;
  • the political activity declaration form – in line with the Governance Code on Public Appointments, details of any declared activity will be made public if you are appointed; and
  • the equal opportunities monitoring form – information is requested for monitoring purposes only and plays no part in the selection process. It will be kept confidentially and will not be seen by the Advisory Assessment Panel.

Please send your CV, supporting letter and supporting documents to:PublicAppointmentsTeam@justice.gov.uk quoting reference PAT 150054 in the subject line.

Body: Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC)
Appointing Department: Ministry of Justice
Sectors: Judicial, Prison & Policing, Prison & Policing
Location: Birmingham
Number of Vacancies: Several
Remuneration: £358 per day
Time Requirements: Minimum of 52 days per year

We will acknowledge receipt.

Attachments
Supporting-documents-July-2018-5
CCRC Commissioner Candidate Information Pack 10 August 2018 MG
OCPA Regulated

This post is regulated by The Commissioner for Public Appointments