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Appeals

Appeals

What if I disagree with the magistrates’ court verdict?

If you disagree with a magistrates' court verdict, you can appeal against the decision. You can appeal against your conviction, sentence or both, and must apply for an appeal within 21 days.

If you pleaded ‘not guilty’ at your original trial, you can appeal against your conviction and/or your sentence.

If you pleaded ‘guilty’ at your original trial, you can appeal against your sentence.

If you're appealing a decision by a magistrates' court your appeal will be dealt with by the Crown Court. The decision whether or not to agree with (uphold) the original verdict will be made by a judge and at least two magistrates. Appeal hearings are normally in public without a jury and vary in length, normally lasting between one to three days.

If you’re appealing against your conviction, the same evidence from the original trial can be used. Alternatively, if you have new evidence – such as a witness who was not at the original trial – this could be used to support your case.

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What if I disagree with the Crown Court verdict?

You should take legal advice before you appeal, but you need to apply for an appeal within 28 days. You may be able to appeal to the Court of Appeal if:

  • you’re convicted in a Crown Court and disagree with its verdict

OR 

  • you were originally convicted in a magistrates’ court, appealed at the Crown Court and then lost this appeal

There are two situations in which you can appeal:

Appeals against conviction

If you pleaded ‘not guilty’ at your trial, you can appeal against your conviction and/or your sentence if something went ‘wrong’ at the trial. This normally means an important court procedure was not followed properly, the Judge got the law wrong or applied the law wrongly.

If you’re appealing against your conviction, you normally need new evidence or facts, such as a witness who was not at the original trial whose evidence could help support your case.

If you win your appeal against your conviction it will be ‘quashed’. This means that you’re treated as innocent of the crime you were tried for and your sentence will no longer apply. You usually have any legal costs refunded and you may be able to apply for compensation.

Appeals against sentence

If you pleaded ‘guilty’ at your trial, you can normally only appeal against your sentence. You must be able to demonstrate that your sentence was clearly excessive or wrong in principle. This is based on examples of previous similar cases and sentences.

If you win your appeal against your sentence, it will be reduced – for example, a shorter prison sentence. You usually have any legal costs refunded and you may be able to apply for compensation. Your legal adviser can help with this.

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What if I lose my appeal, or am not given permission to appeal?

If you lose your appeal, your original conviction will ‘stand’ (not change). You may have to pay extra court costs. If you are refused permission to appeal, the process ends here.

Sometimes new evidence is found which was not raised during the appeal hearing or at the time you were refused permission to appeal. If this happens, you could apply to the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC). The CCRC is not connected to the Court of Appeal, but it could decide that your case should be sent back to the Appeal Court. You should take legal advice about this.

Contact us now in confidence. To appeal a Magistrates' Court verdict or a Crown Court verdict contact IBB's criminal defence solicitors today by calling  our emergency number: 0330 999 4999 or email criminaldefence@ibblaw.co.uk.

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