Don't mention the war: The Court of Appeal, the Criminal Cases Review Commission and dealing with the past in Northern Ireland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • Authors:
  • Hannah Quirk


Despite the vast transitional justice scholarship relating to prisoner release, amnesties and prosecutions when conflicts end, there is a significant gap in practice and academic literature regarding wrongful convictions. Uniquely amongst post-conflict societies, Northern Ireland has a body for investigating miscarriages of justice, albeit one designed for 'ordinary' appeals. In the absence of a formal truth-recovery process, criminal appeals are becoming a proxy for addressing the role of the state during 'The Troubles,' as well as remedying individual injustices. This article examines the approach of the Northern Ireland Court of Appeal during the conflict. It charts the developments in its decision-making following the cease-fires and the establishment of the Criminal Cases Review Commission. It concludes that the current system is unsatisfactory as it ignores the effects of the conflict on the appeal process and offers no insights into the role of the Court during the conflict. Alternative models are suggested. © 2013 The Modern Law Review Limited.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)949-980
Number of pages31
JournalModern Law Review
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2013