Appeal Courts

The following cards will help understand the appeal courts and in what scenarios cases can be appealed. 


Appeals from Magistrates Court


Court for initial Trial      First appeal Court     Final Appeals

Magistrates                  High Court (QBD)      Court of appeal

                                    Crown Court



Crown Court                 Court of appeal          House of lords

                                                                       (aka supreme court)


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Route 1 Magistrates to Crown court

This route is only available to the defence where he feels he has been wrongly convicted. 

If the defendant pleaded guilty in the magistrates court then he can only appeal against the sentance, but if he pleaded not guilty the appeal can be against the conviction and/or the sentance

The defendant has an automatic right to appeal and does not need permission.

The appeal is heard by a judge and 2 magistrates.

If the appeal is against the the sentence the court can confirm or increase/decrease the sentence however not beyond the the magistrates maximum powerful. Where the appeal is against the conviction the court can confirm or reverse the decision and in some limited cases it is possible to vary the conviction.

If there is a point of law to be decided the crown can decide on this point or there is a possibility of passing it on for further appeal to the QBD.

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Route 2 Magistrates to the QBD

This route of appeal is called a CASE STATED APPEAL

These are types of appeal where the defendant or prosecution is unhappy on the way that the law has been applied.

The magistrates would be required to present the case and how they reached their decision before a panel of 2 or 3 high court judges.

The QBD can may do one of three things:

  • Vary the decision
  • Reverse the decision
  • Confirm the decision

From the QBD their is a possibility of a further appeal to the house of lords (supreme court) but only if it concerns a point of law of public importance and the house of lords certifies this. 

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Appeals from Crown Court by Defendant

This is and appeal against the conviction and/or the sentence to the court of appeal (criminal division) but only if permission is granted by the crown court.

Grounds for appeal:        (Criminal Appeals Act 1995)

  • Unsafe conviction (Mistake in the way the law is applied or where there is a lack of evidence)
  • Appeal Dismissed in any other case

If appeal on conviction is granted the court of appeal can: 

  • Order a Re-trial
  • Dismiss Appeal
  • Decrease Sentence
  • Quash Conviction
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Appeals from Crown Court by Prosecution

There are two ways by which the prosecution can appeal

1) Against an acquittal of a defendant (defendant not guilty)

  • Case stated- Error in process of trial
  • Relaxation of the double jeopardy rule where new evidence has come to light
  • Jurors or witnesses have been threatened and this has led to the acquittal 

2) Against a too lenient sentance


In all of these cases the appeal will be reffered to the court of appeal (criminal division)

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