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Miscarriages of justice and expert psychiatric evidence: lessons from criminal appeals in England and Wales

  • Nicholas Hallett (a1), Nadine Smit (a2) and Keith Rix (a3)

Miscarriages of justice occur as a result of unsafe convictions and findings and inappropriate sentences. In cases involving expert psychiatric evidence it is possible that the way evidence is presented by experts or interpreted by the courts has a direct bearing on the case. Using illustrative cases from the Criminal Division of the Court of Appeal, advice is offered to expert psychiatric witnesses on ways to reduce the likelihood of contributing to such miscarriages of justice and on how they may assist in rectifying such miscarriages, should they occur.


After reading this article you will be able to:

  • understand the place of criminal appeals in the criminal justice system in England and Wales
  • understand what may go wrong in the provision of psychiatric evidence and how expert psychiatric evidence can assist in the administration of justice
  • be able to reduce the risk of unsafe convictions and inappropriate sentences when providing expert psychiatric evidence, including for cases referred to the Court of Appeal and the Criminal Cases Review Commission.



Corresponding author
Correspondence Dr Nicholas Hallett, Brockfield House, Kemble Way, Runwell, Wickford SS11 7FE, UK. Email:
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Based in part on a presentation by N.S. at the 17th Annual Grange Conference, Ripley Castle, Harrogate, UK, in September 2018.

See commentary, this issue.

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BJPsych Advances
  • ISSN: 2056-4678
  • EISSN: 2056-4686
  • URL: /core/journals/bjpsych-advances
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Miscarriages of justice and expert psychiatric evidence: lessons from criminal appeals in England and Wales

  • Nicholas Hallett (a1), Nadine Smit (a2) and Keith Rix (a3)
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