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Appeals Against Conviction or Sentence

Concerned about appeals against conviction or sentence in the UK? If you have been convicted of an offence in the Magistrates’ Court, you have the right to appeal to the Crown Court within 21 days of the date of conviction. Appeals to the Crown Court are a complete re-hearing of the original trial with the same or other witnesses and evidence being given. The appeal will be heard by a Crown Court Judge and at least one magistrate.

The court has the ability to confirm the conviction or substitute a not guilty result.

You also have the right to appeal against the sentence imposed by a Magistrates’ Court. Again, this must be done within 21 days of the sentence being imposed. The sentencing exercise will be completely re-heard in front of the Crown Court. It is important to note that the Crown Court has the power to confirm, reduce or increase any sentence imposed.

If your appeal against conviction or sentence is unsuccessful, the court may order that you pay additional prosecution costs.

Appeals against conviction from the Crown Court may only be made to the Court of Appeal, Criminal Division. Before any appeal is actually made, leave (or permission) has to be applied for from the Criminal Appeals Office. This will mean that a single High Court judge will consider the merits of your appeal and make a decision on whether you are to be given leave to appeal or not. If you are granted leave, your appeal will in due course be heard by the full Court of Appeal. Any appeal from the Crown Court must be made within 28 days of either conviction or sentence, whichever came first.

Making any appeal to a senior court is a very serious business and should only be done once you have taken legal advice on the merits of the appeal and all of the consequences of doing so.

Legal aid may be available for some appeals or we are able to offer suitable funding arrangements. Please see our separate page on this aspect of your case.

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