Overview of the Appeal process

Posted: 07 March 2023

Appeal against a conviction in the Magistrates’ Court:

If someone has a Trial or/and Sentence in the Magistrates’ court and they disagree with the verdict, an appeal can be made against the decision of the Magistrates’.

How to make an appeal?

The defendant is required to fill out a form called a Notice of appeal against Conviction (and/or sentence).  This form must contain as much information as possible and served on the Magistrates’ Court. This appeal must be made within 21 days after a defendant’s sentence hearing. This applies to whether the defendant pleaded either ‘guilty’ or ‘not guilty’.

Once an appeal is applied for, it will be dealt with by the Crown Court, and the decision to agree or disagree with the original verdict. When a defendant appeal’s, they become what is known as the ‘Appellant’ and the prosecution are referred to as the ‘Respondent’.


What happens?
New hearing

The new hearing date at the Crown Court, will be a complete re- hearing of the case before a Crown Court Judge and two magistrates’ who did not previously hear the case on the last occasion. The trial will follow the same format as the previous hearing at the Magistrates’ Court.

Present evidence

Both the Respondent and the Appellant will present their evidence. They are entitled to call more or less witnesses than at the previous hearing. Plus, if they would like to rely upon further evidence submitted, they can do so. However, the prosecution cannot change the charges that the appellant faces.

The Court’s decision

Following the re- hearing, the Crown Court can either allow the appeal and find the appellant ‘not guilty’ or dismiss the appeal and find the appellant ‘guilty’. Overall, the court will present their reasons for making the decision they present.

If the appeal is dismissed

If the appeal is dismissed, the Crown court also has the power to change their sentence outcome compared to what the magistrates’ presented. Therefore, they can possibly increase up to the maximum sentence if they find it necessary to do so.

Furthermore, the appellant will most likely face an application made by the prosecution for the costs of the appeal that has taken place. This will be in addition to the costs that were awarded at the Magistrates’ Court.

Successful appeal

However, if the appellant is successful at their appeal, they can apply for recovery of their costs. Although, the amount recoverable rarely covers their legal expenses if they are paying privately for the appeal process.

Can the process be stopped?

If an appellant wishes to stop the process of appeal, they make an application and send a ‘notice of abandonment of appeal’ to the magistrates’ court where their application was originally made, and the Crown Court where their hearing was due to be heard. A copy of this application must also be sent to the other parties involves (respondent). However, once you have made this application, the appeal cannot be restarted.

If you have any queries concerning an application for an appeal against your conviction or/and your sentence, please contact our criminal defence solicitors call  01245 493959  or email

Suspended Sentences

What is a Suspended Sentence? A suspended sentence is a custodial sentence where the...

- 07 June 2024

Deprivation of Liberty Applications within Family Proceedings

“Liberty” is a right conferred by Article 5 of the European Convention of Human...

- 07 June 2024

The Leasehold and Freehold Reform Act 2024

Everything there is to know about The Leasehold and Freehold Reform Act 2024 In...

- 07 June 2024