Information relating to miscarriage of justice: FOI release

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002

Information requested

  1. In each of the last six financial years (2018-2023 inclusive) how many cases sent to the Appeal Court have resulted in decisions of miscarriage of justice? Please break the figures down to show the types of crime that those concerned had been wrongfully convicted of.
  2. Of these, how many people in each year were released from prison?
  3. In each year, how much has been paid in compensation for wrongful imprisonment over that same period? If possible, please provide details showing bandings for the payments made, i.e. tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, millions.


Questions 1 and 2

This information is not collected by the Scottish Government. This is a formal notice under section 17(1) of FOISA that the Scottish Government does not have the information that you have requested.

However, you may wish to contact the following organisations who may be able to help you. For Part 1, you may wish to contact the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service, Email: You may also wish to note that information on cases which were 'out of time' appeals, which is to say appeals heard following a reference by the Scottish Criminal Cases Commission after the time limit for appealing a conviction has elapsed, can be found on their website at

For Part 2, you may wish to contact the Scottish Prison Service, Email:

Question 3

You have requested information about the total amount paid in compensation for a miscarriage of justice in each financial year between 2018-19 and 2023-24 to people who have been imprisoned as a result of a miscarriage of justice and, if possible, bandings for the payments made.

The Scottish Government operates two schemes for compensation following a miscarriage of justice. As a general point, it should be noted that the fact of having had one's conviction overturned following an appeal is not sufficient, in itself, to qualify for compensation and there are further conditions that require to be met. More information about the two compensation schemes, including the conditions that require to be met for a person to be eligible for compensation under each of these schemes, can be found at

It should also be noted that the statutory compensation scheme at section 133 of the Criminal Justice Act 1988 does not require that someone seeking compensation must have spent a period of time in prison as a result of their wrongful conviction, though the ex gratia scheme is restricted to those who have spent a period of time in custody as a result of wrongful charge or conviction. As such, the information held by the Scottish Government about compensation paid to people who have suffered a miscarriage of justice does not necessarily relate only to those who have spent time in prison as a result of that miscarriage of justice.

An exemption under section 38(1)(b) of FOISA (personal information) applies to this information because it is personal information about the amount paid in compensation to people found eligible for compensation for a miscarriage of justice.

While you have not requested information about the names of the individuals, it is considered that, because of the small number of people to whom compensation has been paid to over this time period, there is a real risk that information about the amounts paid to individuals could be identified from information about the amount paid in compensation and the year in which that payment was made to them. This exemption is not subject to the 'public interest test', so we are not required to consider if the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the public interest in applying the exemption.

However, I can inform you that the total amount paid in compensation to people who have experienced a miscarriage of justice in the financial years between 2018-19 to 2023-24 is £2,057,968.

About FOI

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Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road

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