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Appeal against sentence or criminal conviction

The criminal trial process is one that depends on human endeavour and judgement. Inevitably, mistakes are made. To be convicted of a crime you did not commit is a devastating experience, both for you and your family. Overturning that conviction is not easy.

Our specialist appeals team have a national reputation for investigating cases and have successfully appealed both convictions and sentences before the Court of Appeal. Not every case is ultimately successful, but we thoroughly explore any potential appeal points to ensure those issues are fully considered.

Please see a list of some of our successful appeal cases.

If you or a family member have been convicted of an offence in the Crown Court, please do not hesitate to contact our specialist appeals team on 0161 696 6188 or complete our online enquiry form and we will contact you directly.

Funding an appeal

We are unable to undertake appeal work on a legal aid basis. However, we do offer competitive fixed fee rates. Please do contact us for a quotation.

Our approach to criminal appeals

Conviction

Once instructed, a video link or telephone conference will be arranged to discuss the points of concern to focus our investigation of your case. If concerns are identified, a detailed action plan will be formulated and you will be advised of our costs moving forward.

In some cases, we may need to obtain a copy of the summing up transcript or instruct an expert. We have established an effective professional relationship with leading expert witnesses, not just in the UK but internationally. We will also instruct the most experienced and able counsel and have strong links with many of the leading barrister's Chambers in the UK.

If you have already been unsuccessful in the Court of Appeal we can still assess whether there are grounds to prepare an application to the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC) arguing that your case should be referred by them back to the Court of Appeal.

Sentence

When assessing sentence, we will liaise with your previous legal representative to obtain the key documents for consideration. We will then finalise our assessment, taking into account the sentencing guidelines and relevant case law and finalise a comprehensive written advice addressing the merits of an appeal on sentence.

How does the criminal appeals process work?

If grounds of appeal are identified, the solicitor will complete the relevant forms (Form NG) and will submit all the paperwork to the criminal division of the Court of Appeal.

Do I need a specialist solicitor to lodge an appeal?

No. However, a person only has one opportunity to appeal directly to the Court of Appeal and therefore it is imperative that the appeal is fully prepared.

Are there time limits when submitting an appeal?

A Crown Court appeal application usually has to be submitted within 28 days after the date of conviction or sentence. There are exceptions to this rule where a request can be made for the Court of Appeal to allow an appeal ‘out of time’. This type of application must be justified and the full reasons why the application is out of time must be explained.

Can I lodge an appeal if I have had negative advice from my legal representative at trial?

Yes, we have successfully quashed convictions and reduced sentences when our clients have received negative advice from their trial representatives. However, it is strongly recommended that specialist advice is sought before lodging any appeal.

What happens after an appeal has been lodged?

The application to appeal either the conviction and/or sentence is known as an application for ‘leave to appeal’ and that application is initially considered by a single appeal judge. The judge decides whether or not the application has a reasonable chance of succeeding and is designed to filter out all of the applications that will probably end up being unsuccessful. All applications will go through this process and the single judge will always provide reasons for the decision in writing.

If an application for 'leave to appeal' is granted (by the single judge) the application will proceed to the ‘full court’. This is where the application will be heard in full, witnesses can give evidence and legal arguments can be advanced. The full court will then make its decision whether to quash the conviction and/or reduce sentence.

What happens if the single judge refuses to grant leave to appeal?

In the case where grounds of appeal has been rejected at the first stage there is an option available to request that the application is still put forward to the full court regardless. However, this option needs to be considered very carefully as it can carry harsh penalties if the appeal is ultimately refused. Such penalties include the potential for any time already spent in custody (up until the point of the refusal by the Court of Appeal) to not be counted as part of the sentence. In other words, there is a risk that you would have to start your sentence again from scratch. This is very unlikely to be the case if counsel advised that your application should still be put forward despite a rejection by the single judge.

What happen if the full court of appeal refuses an appeal?

If an application reaches the full court and is not successful, you still have the option to submit an application to the CCRC if you disagree with the full court’s decision.

Examples of successful appeal cases

R v B – An appeal against a murder conviction based on fresh evidence and non-disclosure. Conviction quashed.

R v S – An appeal against a murder conviction based on the unreliability of confession evidence. Conviction quashed.

R v N – An appeal against convictions for sexual offences based on fresh evidence and non-disclosure. Conviction quashed.

R v H – An appeal against a drugs conviction based on material non-disclosure. Conviction quashed.

R v K – Convicted for murder after falsely confessing to having committed the murder. Our client’s conviction was quashed after it was determined the confession was made under duress.

R v C – Misdirection identified within the trial judge’s summing up which resulted in the conviction for sexual offences being overturned and our client was immediately released from custody.

R v P – Murder conviction reduced to manslaughter based on fresh medical evidence.

R v M – Successful appeal on sentence as the sentencing judge had failed to account for our client’s mitigating circumstances.

R V A – Successful appeal on sentence based upon the disparity in sentence given to our client’s co-accused.

To speak to a member of our appeals team call us on  0161 696 6188 or complete our online enquiry form and we will contact you directly.

4.6out of 10
4.6 score on Trustpilot Based on count 1315

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