Sam Hallam and Victor Nealon’s lost supreme court appeal shows up the scandal of British law on miscarriages of justice

If you have the misfortune of being sent to prison for a crime that you didn’t commit, the odds against you clearing your name couldn’t be more vertiginously stacked. To have your conviction overturned, in most cases you have to apply to the miscarriage of justice watchdog, the Criminal Cases Review Commission.

We have a prison population of more than 82,000 and every year about 1,500 people, mainly prisoners, apply to the Birmingham-based group to have their cases looked at. Some 19 cases last year were referred back to the court of appeal, and only a dozen cases the year before. Over its 20-year history, two-thirds of referrals have been successful.

Between 2000 and 2005, 187 successfully applied for compensation. In the last five years, only five received payouts

Related: Miscarriages of justice body is not fit for purpose, lawyers say

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