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Exploring the UK innocence movement: tension, reconfiguration and theorisation

Greenwood, Holly ORCID: 2017. Exploring the UK innocence movement: tension, reconfiguration and theorisation. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.
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This is the first in-depth empirical research into the UK “innocence movement,” which refers to the establishment of innocence projects (IPs) across the UK. IPs are university clinics in which students investigate cases of alleged miscarriages of justice. The Innocence Network UK (INUK) was founded in 2004 and assisted in the development of thirty-six IPs across the UK. This thesis utilised empirical methods undertaking semi-structured interviews with past and present leaders of IPs and other criminal appeal units. It provides three original insights into the UK innocence movement. First, it explored the distinctive model of IPs offered in the core literature and identified several underlying tensions within it. However, the research found the majority of sampled IPs did not conform to this model. Thus for heuristic purposes, and to examine the contrasting aims and objectives of criminal appeal clinics, the thesis sets out two ideal types and uses the evidence from interviews to place the sampled projects along a continuum between these. This section illustrated that the tensions within the literature model of IPs resulted in the sampled projects either evolving away from this approach, or not adopting it in the first place. Secondly, the thesis asks whether the innocence movement can be seen to follow a “rise and fall” trajectory, as the initial expansion of INUK was followed by its closure and the demise of several IPs. Instead, it is argued that the movement is better understood as having undergone a reconfiguration, and that the future landscape for miscarriage of justice work looks likely to be very different from that portrayed in the literature. Finally, the thesis adapts Luhmann’s Social Systems theory as a theoretical framework for examining the evolution of the UK innocence movement. The analysis concludes that this can provide theoretical insights into why the original aims and objectives of IPs were not realised. Insight is also drawn from Nobles and Schiff and their account of systems theory, which is used to further explore the tensions within the IP concept. The thesis conclusion reflects on the findings and offers suggestions for future research opportunities in these areas of legal education and analysis.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Date Type: Completion
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Law
Subjects: K Law > K Law (General)
K Law > KD England and Wales
Funders: Economic and Social Research Council
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 13 April 2017
Last Modified: 02 Nov 2022 10:49

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