The Right to Appeal

If someone is convicted in a magistrates’ court, they will have the right to appeal. Most appeals are dealt with by the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC). In order to appeal successfully, certain steps need to be taken.

Before an appeal is put forward, the defendant must take the following steps:

  • have the solicitor check that the offence is a criminal offence and that they have been convicted of that crime
  • ensure the court where the trial was held was within the jurisdiction of the CCRC
  • complete the relevant paperwork.

It is fairly straightforward to apply for appeal from the magistrates’ court, and there is a set of procedures to follow.

1) Conviction

After being convicted of a criminal offence it is vital that you make your mind up quickly whether you want to appeal or not. In the case of a guilty plea, it is only the sentence given that can be appealed against.

2) Send in an appeal notice within 21 days

There is no official form to complete, however it must be put in writing to the magistrates’ court that you wish to appeal. Certain information will need to be included like a name, address, and date of conviction. There is no need to explain why you wish to appeal. This letter then becomes the official notice of appeal. It must reach the magistrates’ court within 21 days of the conviction and can be done without a lawyer and of your own accord.

3) Re-hearing in the Crown Court

If the appeal is acknowledged and valid, the Crown Court will hold a re-hearing of the case. There will be no jury and the appeal case will be heard by the Crown Court judge, who will usually be sitting with two magistrates. If the appeal the decision is same, the original conviction will stand but extra court costs may occur. There is also a chance that the sentence could be extended. If the appeal is successful, legal costs will probably be paid back to you, the conviction will be removed and the sentence will fall.

4) Decision

If the appeal is rejected or unsuccessful, there is another chance to appeal again through the court. However, this is only really advisable if something relevant has changed in the case that could alter the sentence or conviction.