How do I appeal a Crown Court conviction? Task
How you appeal will depend on whether you went to your trial. It will also depend on whether you were sentenced at a magistrates’ court or a Crown Court.
You can appeal against your conviction, sentence, or both. It does not matter if you pleaded guilty or not guilty.
No, you don’t always have a right to appeal a Crown Court conviction. You must first apply for permission to appeal. A judge will look at your application and decide whether to give you permission.
You should talk to your legal representative (if you have one) or get help from a legal adviser before you apply.
You must apply within 28 days of either:
- The date you were convicted (even if you were sentenced at a later date) if you’re appealing against your conviction
- The date you were sentenced if you’re appealing against your sentence
If you apply later, you’ll need to explain why you could not send your application in on time. You may get an extension.
Send the form by post or email. The address is on the form.
If you’re in prison, you can get help from a legal services officer to fill in the form and ask about the appeals process.
This will depend on what happened during your case. There are three main examples:
- The judge has wrongly directed the jury on a legal issue – this is known as an “error of law”
- Something happens that impacts your trial, such as a member of the jury contacting witnesses or researching your case outside the courtroom. This can be known as ‘a matter amounting to material irregularity’
- If new evidence becomes available that was not available during the original trial, or where there is a strong reason for not relying on specific evidence
Your appeal will be heard by the Court of Appeal Criminal Division.
You’ll get a letter before the hearing to let you know when and where the appeal will take place.
Your legal representative (for example, your barrister) will present your case to the judges.
If you’re appealing a conviction, representatives from the prosecution will present the case against you. This will not always happen if you appeal against a sentence.
You’ll get a letter to let you know you have not been given permission. It’ll explain how the judge made their decision.
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 tell you how to do this.
You can apply to stop your appeal at any time.
You should send your completed form to the Criminal Appeal Office:
Customer Service Officer
Criminal Appeal Office
Royal Courts of Justice
It’s important to know that you usually cannot restart your appeal once it’s been stopped.
Your appeal will be heard by at least three judges.
At the appeal hearing in the Court of Appeal, the judges will consider your appeal and listen to your case. Representatives from the prosecution, known as ‘the Respondent’, will present the case against you. Most of the time, if you are in custody, you are allowed to be present at the hearing, except where the only matter being considered is the interpretation of the law. This is known as a point of law.
Your conviction may be overturned, or your sentence may be reduced (or both).
Your original sentence or conviction will not change but you might have to:
- Restart your sentence from the beginning and/or
- Pay the court costs
Contact the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC) if you think the court has failed to treat you fairly or you’ve been wrongly convicted; this is known as a ‘miscarriage of justice. An example is when you are convicted without any evidence being presented.