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How to appeal the courts decision


Lawdit Solicitors - Expert Author

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10 June 2012

It is not often that this firm loses a case, but when we do our clients' first question is "how can we appeal and which court?". With this in mind I supply you with the following information on the process of appeal.

It happens - decisions are made in error, and the system of appeals is designed to ensure that these are corrected. There is a strong public interest in regarding judicial decisions as final and binding, and an appeals system with no end would undermine this by encouraging unsuccessful litigants to have 'another bite at the cherry'.

Striking the balance between giving closure and correcting mistakes is not easy, and explains some of the complications that arise in the appeal process.

Careful consideration must be given before an appeal is filed. In the annual review back in 1989-1990, Lord Donaldson of Lymington MR said the following when considering appeals made to the Court of Appeal:

"The question which the adviser may ask himself is whether, looking at the matter objectively, there are sufficient grounds for believing not only that the case should have been decided differently, but that in all the circumstances it can be demonstrated to the satisfaction of the Court of Appeal that there are grounds for reversing the judge's findings. In considering this question the adviser must never forget the financial risk which an appellant undertakes of having not only to pay his own costs of the appeal, but those of his opponent and, for this purpose, the adviser has two clients if the litigant is [publicly funded]. Nor must he underrate the effect upon his client of the emotional and other consequences of a continued state of uncertainty pending an appeal. In a word, one of the most important duties of a professionallegal adviser is to save his clients from themselves and always to remember that, whilst it may well be reasonable to institute or to defend particular proceedings at first instance, a wholly new and different situation arises once the claim has been fully investigated by the court and a decision given."

The basic civil appeals structure is governed by the Access to Justice Act 1999 (Destination of Appeals) Order 2000 (SI 2000/1071) (the Destination of Appeals Order), PD 52, para. 2A.1, and the Appellate Jurisdiction Acts 1876 and 1887, and states that:

(1) decisions of county court district judges may be appealed to the county court circuit judge.

(2) decisions of High Court masters, district judges and registrars may be appealed to a High Court judge.

(3) decisions of county court circuit judges may be appealed to a High Court judge.

(4) decisions of High Court judges may be appealed to the Court of Appeal.

(5) Court of Appeal decisions may be appealed to the House of Lords.

These basic routes of appeal also apply in relation to deputy judges and their equivalents, such as recorders sitting as county court circuit judges. Appeals from county court district judges (category (a) above) are the simplest administratively, with the claim remaining within the same court for the appeal, and simply being listed for the appeal before the judge. Appeals to High Court judges (categories (b) and (c)) may involve the appeal being heard in a new court. The Court of Appeal is located at the Royal Courts of Justice and its administrative office is known as the Civil Appeals Office.

Riyaz Jariwalla is a solicitor who specialises in intellectual property law and commercial litigation.

About the Author

Lawdit Solicitors offer services and advice for litigation, commercial contracts, Intellectual Property and IT legal agreements. We are experts in commercial law with a heavy emphasis on Intellectual Property, Internet and e-commerce law. Lawdit is a member of the International Trademark Association, the Solicitors' Association of Higher Court Advocates and we are the appointed Solicitors to the largest webdesign association in the world, the United Kingdom Website Designers Association.

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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2012-07-23 09:05:00 in Legal Articles

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