Appeal from Crown Court: Your Questions Answered
I want to appeal from crown court – what should I do?
Q: Do I have the right to appeal from crown court?
A: Yes, you can appeal against sentence and conviction (if you pleaded not guilty) and, if you pleaded guilty, you can appeal against sentence and possibly against conviction. This is not an automatic right, however.
Q: Do I need to have grounds to appeal?
A: Yes. You can normally only appeal if something went ‘wrong’ at the trial (i.e. if an important court procedure wasn’t followed properly) or if there is new evidence (i.e. a witness who wasn’t at the original trial – for appeals against conviction only). You cannot simply appeal from crown court because you consider that the decision made was wrong.
Q: It sounds complicated. Should I get legal advice first?
A: Yes, it is complicated! We would strongly urge you to get expert advice before you make a decision about whether or not to appeal from crown court.
Q: How do I appeal from crown court?
A: You need to apply to the Criminal Appeal Office to get permission to appeal. They will put your application before a judge. There is a form to complete. This is not a simple process and you will certainly require a legal team to do this work for you. Forrest Williams are specialists in this area and we are happy to help. Give us a call on 01623 397200.
Q: Is there a deadline for an appeal?
A: Yes. For an appeal against conviction, you must appeal within 28 days of the date of your conviction – even if you were sentenced at a later date. If you wish to appeal against sentence only, the 28 day period starts from the date you were sentenced. Out of time applications are considered in some circumstances.
Q: What happens next if I get permission to appeal?
A: If permission is granted, your appeal will be heard by the Court of Appeal. You will be notified of the hearing date and location a few weeks before the appeal.
Q: What if I am refused permission to appeal?
A: You will receive a letter to say you have not been granted permission to appeal.
Q: What if I am refused permission, but I still want an appeal to take place?
A: You have the right to renew your application and ask a ‘full court’ of 2 or 3 judges to give you permission. The letter will explain how to do this.
Q: What if the ‘full court’ refuses permission to appeal?
A: You can contact the Criminal Cases Review Commission.
Q: What happens if I am granted an appeal, and it is successful?
A: If you win your appeal, your conviction and sentence will no longer stand. You may receive compensation.
Q: What if I lose my appeal?
A: Your original conviction will stay the same. You won’t be able to appeal again unless the Criminal Cases Review Commission refers your case back to the Court of Appeal.
Q: What if I start the appeal process – then decide I want to stop it?
A: You can stop your appeal at any time. There is a form for this.
If you are unhappy with a crown court decision, and are considering lodging an appeal, please speak with us first. We are happy to offer free initial advice on 01623 397200.