Two-thirds of cases referred to the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC) for suspected miscarriages of justice have succeeded on appeal, the government has revealed.

Responding to a parliamentary question from shadow justice secretary Lord Falconer (pictured) yesterday, justice minister Lord Faulks confirmed that, up until 31 March, the commission had referred 619 cases to the relevant court.

As at 31 March, 596 referrals had been heard by the relevant court. Of these, 406 appeals were allowed, 178 were dismissed and 12 were abandoned.

The commission was set up in 1997 as an independent organisation to investigate suspected miscarriages from magistrates’ courts, the Crown court in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and the Court Martial and Service Civilian Court.

It has the power to send, or refer, a case back to an appeal court if it considers that there is a real possibility the court will quash the conviction or reduce the sentence in that case.

Since its creation, the CCRC has received 20,367 applications, excluding 279 that were transferred from the Home Office, its previous sponsor department.

Figures show application numbers reaching a peak of 1,599 in 2014/15, dropping to 1,480 in 2015/16.

Since sponsorship function transferred to the Ministry of Justice in 2007/8, the commission has seen its net levels of funding fall from £6.7m in 2007/8 to £5.2m a year since 2013/14.