Law students work to overturn Miscarriages of Justice through the Manchester Innocence Project

Tue, 04 May 2021 15:49:00 BST

The Manchester Innocence Project (MIP) is one of only 13 organisations outside of the US to join the Innocence Network. Law students volunteering with MIP have the opportunity to take on live criminal appeals for those who maintain their innocence.

The Manchester Innocence Project provides our students with opportunities to tackle difficult subject matters whilst utilising skills learnt on the LLB (Law) degree.

Our student volunteers help those who have fallen through the cracks in the justice system, whilst working on and strengthening their own practical skills and gaining valuable experience of the criminal justice system in action. Through legal research, interviews with clients and witnesses and case management, our student volunteers are able to directly affect the lives of clients by providing unique insight into legal advocacy and criminal justice.

The Manchester Innocence Project’s underlying aim is to ensure justice. Unfortunately, the criminal justice system, as it stands, suffers from innate flaws with life changing consequences. As a result, the criminal justice system requires exceptional scrutiny from dedicated individuals if it is to operate as it is intended to. Autonomy and responsibility are at the core of investigations into serious criminal appeals. The student-led pro bono work, though difficult with frustrating dead ends and slow progress, is thoroughly rewarding.

Our place in society seeks to work with other bodies concerned with miscarriages of justice to tackle injustices on a case-by-case basis and to influence policy in this area. This case-by-case approach enables us to fulfil our aims, whilst developing deep, meaningful rapports with our clients, which further enhances our chances of success in overturning wrongful convictions.

Involvement in the Innocence Project allows those that care most about the injustices of our legal system to play their part in the improvement of that system, and work towards a system that works better for everyone, regardless of extraneous factors.

Professor Claire McGourlay from the Law Department, said: "The Innocent Project is a brilliant way to get students involved in experiential learning. Working together with our staff also forms a community of learning that is invaluable experience for students."