We can provide you with advice and representation anywhere in England and Wales.

We are able to advise and assist with appeals to the crown court or the higher courts and have a great deal of experience in challenging cases

in the crown court, the court of appeal, the high court and the Criminal Cases Review Commission.


Appeals to the crown court

Any conviction, most orders or sentence in the magistrates’ court can be appealed to the crown court. You cannot appeal until you have been sentenced for the offence and you then have 21 days from the date of sentence to lodge a notice of appeal with the magistrates’ court and the Crown Prosecution Service (or other prosecuting body).
If the appeal is against conviction, there will be a fresh trial in the crown court and all the witnesses will be called again to give evidence. All appeals in the crown court are heard by a judge sitting with two magistrates.
This is because when there is an appeal to the crown court it is a re-hearing technically called a hearing ‘de novo’ , so the court has the power to re-sentence if it so wishes.
There is no power for the charges to be changed or altered in any way on an appeal to the crown court.
If your appeal is just against sentence, then the court will hear the facts of the case from the prosecution and your advocate will then mitigate on your behalf. If a pre-sentence report was prepared for the sentencing hearing in the magistrates’ court then the court will also consider this report. Expert evidence can also be called.
When an appeal against sentence is heard, the court has the power to raise the sentence as well as reduce it so careful consideration must be given as to whether an appeal is advisable. They can also grant an order for costs.
If you were granted legal aid for the magistrates’ court proceedings, then you will be eligible for legal aid for the crown court proceedings. If you were not eligible for legal aid in the magistrates’ court, you may be eligible in the crown court because the income threshold is higher. However, you may have to pay a contribution to the legal aid costs. Please see our legal aid page for further details.

Appeals to the court of appeal

If you wish to appeal against conviction or sentence from the crown court to the court of appeal, you may only do so if you are granted leave to appeal by the court of appeal. For this to be granted your conviction must be unsafe or the sentence imposed must be manifestly excessive or wrong in law.
If leave to appeal is granted you will not be allowed to call any new evidence and the court will only consider the evidence that was heard at the previous court hearing. There are exceptional circumstances where you can apply to rely on fresh evidence but the tests to do so are quite high.
Only cases where a plea was entered in the crown court can be appealed to the court of appeal. So if you pleaded guilty at the magistrates court you cannot appeal to the criminal court of appeal.

The high court

An appeal to the high court is either [a] an appeal by way of case stated from either a magistrates court or a crown court or [b] by way of judicial review.

(a) Case stated
An appeal to the high court is either [a] an appeal by way of case stated from either a magistrates court or a crown court or [b] by way of judicial review.

(b) Judicial review
Within 3 months of a decision you can invite the high court to review a case. If a public body (which can include a court, police, local authority) made a decision that was unreasonable and wrong in law, then it may be possible to have that decision judicially reviewed. If the application for permission is refused, you can request within 7 days an oral hearing to renew the application.

The high court has powers to make an order to compel a body to do something (known as a mandatory order) or they can make an order prohibiting an action pending the final determination (e.g. prohibiting the destruction of dog pending the outcome of the proceedings). The court also has powers to make a declaration of the law.
Judicial review proceedings are lengthy and can be expensive but we have a great deal of experience in these proceedings and have achieved some impressive results for our clients.

Criminal Cases Review Commission

If all other remedies have been exhausted, it may be possible to appeal to the Criminal Cases Review Commission. They will reconsider all of the evidence on paper and if they think that there has been an irregularity in your case, they will send it back to the court from which it came for a re-hearing. However there must be something ‘new’’ to submit to the Commission.

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