It’s possible to appeal in a court of law upon conviction. It’s hard to believe that few people know how to appeal against a conviction in the UK even after pleading not guilty. When you appeal from a magistrates’ court, the crown court becomes the appellate court. An appeal from a crown court provides three options for the appellate court:
• The High Court
• The Court of Appeal (criminal division)
• The Criminal Court of Appeal
The process of filing an appeal
After your conviction, your barrister or solicitor will counsel you on whether there is possibility of a successful appeal. There are relevant forms to be filled by you and your solicitor to apply for leave to appeal against your conviction or sentence.
The complete paperwork is submitted to the convicting/sentencing court. The application should be done in writing within 28 days from the date of the verdict.
A judge goes through the papers and makes a decision. If it’s rejected, the judge gives the reasons in writing. The appellate court deals with the case and the application heard in full if the judge grants leave to appeal.
Leave to Appeal
The application moves to full hearing when the grant to appeal is granted. The appellate court can;
1. Decide that the original verdict was right and dismiss the appeal
2. Decide that the original verdict was wrong and
• Direct the acquittal of the appellant
• Reduce the conviction to a lesser charge
• Direct retrial
If the appeal was against a sentence, the appellate court can
• Dismiss the appeal
• Reduce the sentence imposed in the original verdict.
It’s also possible to appeal to a decision made by the court of appeal. How to appeal against a conviction in the UK is easy, but appealing from an appellate court is complicated. It happens only in limited circumstances. It has to be of importance to the general public. The case is taken to the House of Lords.