Should you appeal a court decision?
Usually the courts get it right, but sometimes they don’t. That’s why we have the right of appeal. However, it’s important to act quickly as usually the Notice of Appeal must be lodged within a short time after the original decision.
The application has to be made to a higher court than the original decision making court. For example appeals from Magistrates’ Courts are made to the Crown Court. Public Inquiry appeals from the Traffic Commissioner are made to the Upper Tribunal Administrative Appeals Chamber (or Transport Tribunal – as it was formerly known).
What are the time limits for lodging an appeal against a court decision?
The notice has to be lodged within 21 days of the court decision (28 days in the case of a public inquiry) unless there’s a very good reason. Therefore it’s vital that you get in touch with us quickly or you may lose your right to appeal.
Are there different types of appeal?
Yes, in the criminal courts there are three main types:
• An appeal against conviction
• An appeal against sentence
• An appeal by way of case stated (ie. on a point of law)
If you want to appeal a court decision, it’s important that you know which type of appeal is appropriate. This will depend on your plea and why you think the court has got it wrong.
If you were found guilty after a trial, but believe you are not, then an appeal against conviction may be appropriate. You cannot appeal against your conviction if you pleaded guilty.
If you were found guilty or pleaded guilty but believe that the penalty imposed was unduly harsh, an appeal against sentence could be worth considering.
Can I get my legal fees back if I win?
It can be expensive to appeal a court decision, particularly if you lose. Therefore it’s worth getting advice before taking it any further.
At Pragma Law, we have extensive experience in this area and can advise you whether an appeal is likely to succeed. We will also be honest with you about the likely costs of making and pursuing such an application.
Of course, in an ideal world, those who are truly subject of a wrong decision by the courts should be able to get the decision reviewed without ending up ‘out of pocket’. Unfortunately that’s not usually the case. Therefore the decision to appeal must be given careful consideration.
We will advise you whether you are likely to have to pay costs if you are not successful. That way you can make an informed decision as to whether to proceed, or whether you would rather save your money.
What about appeals from traffic commissioner decisions?
If you want to appeal a court decision made made by a traffic commissioner, you must apply to the Upper Tribunal Administrative Appeals Chamber. A form UT12 ‘Notice of Appeal against a decision of a traffic commissioner’ must be completed and sent to the Chamber within 1 month of the traffic commissioner’s written decision. Of course we can assist with this. Appeals are generally then heard in London.
Can I get the original decision reversed until the appeal hearing?
This will depend on what it is. However, in many cases, an application can be made for a ‘stay’ of a decision from a traffic commissioner or for a penalty (such as a driving ban) to effectively be lifted pending the new hearing. Usually the court that made the original decision will consider whether this is appropriate, but if you aren’t successful, you can often ask the court to whom you’re appealing.