In the news: Graham Zellick

January 23, 2004

The attorney-general's decision to review a decade of convictions relating to babies' deaths has put Graham Zellick, chairman of the Criminal Cases Review Commission, in the spotlight. It will be the commission's job to disentangle the role of expert witnesses in such cases, in particular the role played by Professor Sir Roy Meadow.

Professor Zellick, a former vice-chancellor of London University, is no stranger to controversy. Last December, within a month of taking up his new post, he broke his predecessor's policy of not giving interviews. "We can't do our job of promoting confidence in the criminal justice system if nobody knows what we do," he said.

The commission was set up in 1997 in recognition that the job of investigating miscarriages of justice and referring cases to the Court of Appeal should be done by an independent body.

In 2001, Professor Zellick found himself on the front pages of newspapers when he attacked government plans for expansion of higher education, drawing the wrath of former higher education minister Margaret Hodge. "Some people are not suited to going to university, and I would put that at a rate of more than 50 per cent," he said.

In the same year, he argued that the child murderer Ian Brady should be allowed to starve himself to death.

In 1999, he criticised the then Committee of Vice-Chancellors and Principals after its chief executive Diana Warwick accepted a Labour peerage, arguing that this compromised the non-political stance of the CVCP, now Universities UK.

Professor Zellick studied law at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, then went to Stanford University. He was principal of what was then known as Queen Mary and Westfield College, London, before going to London University.

He is an electoral commissioner and a member of the Competition Appeal Tribunal and the Criminal Injuries Compensation Appeals Panel.

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