What is the Innocence Project?
The University of Leeds Innocence Project is an educational project for our law students. The project investigates cases of suspected wrongful conviction. It provides free assistance to applicants, who maintain that they have suffered a wrongful conviction, in completing an application to the Criminal Cases Review Commission.
If you are a law student at Leeds, the project gives you the opportunity to do investigative work into real cases, supervised by academics and in conjunction with practicing solicitors. Investigating real cases provides insight into the workings of the criminal justice system.
The Project gives you the chance to develop your creativity, and hone your communication, teamwork and negotiation skills. It will also give you experience of resource management and networking.
About the Innocence Project
We founded the University of Leeds Innocence Project in October 2005 with funding from the White Rose Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning in Enterprise.
The Innocence Project provides our law students with unique extra-curricula educational opportunities. Working with the project fosters contacts throughout the local legal community, and helps to ensure that the University of Leeds plays an important role in meeting local community and regional legal needs.
The work done by the students on UoLIP is supervised by an academic member of staff and a solicitor from McKay Law - Solicitors and Advocates.
The 'Innocence Movement'
Innocence Projects have a successful international heritage. Such projects were initiated in the United States in the 1980s, and have brought about a large number of exonerations -- a number of which have involved inmates on Death Row. Innocence projects now exist across the US, Australia, Canada, and England and Wales.
The University of Leeds Innocence Project (UoLIP) is part of the Innocence Network. The Innocence Network is an affiliation of organisations dedicated to providing pro bono legal and investigative services to individuals seeking to prove innocence of crimes for which they have been convicted and working to redress the causes of wrongful convictions.
They hold an annual Innocence Network Conference during which ideas are discussed, problems shared, and policy priorities set for the coming year.
As part of the international network, UoLIP promotes and supports the establishment of Innocence Projects throughout England and Wales. It also seeks to promote awareness of, and research into, wrongful convictions.
For further details, see McCartney, C.,  3 Web JCLI 'Liberating Legal Education? Innocence Projects in the US and Australia' .
University of Leeds Innocence Project report
Law students Naomi Speechley and Paul Sheppard have won the 2012 ‘Project of the Year Award’ at the LeedsforLife Citizenship Awards for their work on the University of Leeds Innocence Project (UoLIP). Read more
The Innocence Project
University of Leeds
Our current law students wishing to volunteer for the Innocence Project, can find more details on the VLE.
“UoLIP has provided me with invaluable experience as well as skills which are transferable to any profession and any area of law. Each group presents once every 5 weeks at the weekly project meetings in front of the Director, an advisory solicitor and other volunteers. These presentations have definitely developed my confidence and public speaking.”
Aneesa Rafiq, LLB Law