Court of Appeal (Criminal Division) Annual Report 2016-17

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Introduction by the Lord Chief Justice

Speaking after his appointment in October 2017 as Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales, Lord Burnett of Maldon said:

“At times of great change the central role of the judiciary upholding the rule of law remains a constant, as do our impartiality and independence. These features are embedded in the oath I have taken. They are fundamental to our justice system and underpin the effective and smooth functioning of our society. I believe we should be better at explaining our role and the vital importance of our independence and impartiality”.

On another occasion he said:

“I doubt whether most people appreciate the nature of the work done by our judges on a day-to-day basis”.

It is hoped that this Review will provide a little insight into the work of judges sitting in the Court of Appeal (Criminal Division). The importance of the Court’s work can be summarised very simply. It is there to ensure that so far as humanly possible convictions which are unsafe are set aside, and sentences which are either manifestly excessive or unduly lenient are corrected. Convictions which are safe and sentences which are appropriate must be upheld. That simple summary of the objective of the Court reveals its importance, and the high level of responsibility which all who work in the Court, whether in the office or in the Court itself, must carry.
Lord Burnett of Maldon

Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales