Appeals process

For those who do not win their case, there is normally a right of appeal. However, this is based purely on the decision reached in the case.

How to appeal

If you are unhappy about the decision made by the judge in your case, you may be able to appeal against the decision to a judge in a higher court or in the case of tribunals to the Upper Tribunal or Employment Appeal Tribunal.

There must be proper grounds for making an appeal and there are strict time limits within which to do so.

It is not possible for court staff or other government officials to review a judgment made by the courts. This is because the judiciary are entirely independent and must be free to decide the outcome of cases without fear of interference from Government or its administration.


There are several ways in which you may challenge magistrates’ decisions. The most appropriate method will depend upon the type of case and its particular circumstances. Before you lodge an appeal, you are strongly urged to seek legal advice as to the procedure, merit and cost.

Appeals against the decision of the magistrates’ court in criminal cases are heard by the Crown Court. The appeal is made to the magistrates’ court and the papers sent by the magistrates’ court staff to the Crown Court.

Crown and county courts

For Crown and county courts you can appeal both civil and criminal cases, but it would be necessary to seek permission or ‘leave’ from a judge before an appeal can be made against a conviction in a criminal case.

Applications for leave to appeal against decisions made by the Crown Court are dealt with by the Court of Appeal Criminal Division.

Appeals against the outcome of a hearing in a county court or a High Court are mostly dealt with by the Court of Appeal Civil Division.

Although HMCTS court staff will be happy to offer procedural guidance, they are not permitted or trained to give legal advice or discuss whether you can or should appeal. For legal assistance a solicitor should be contacted. Alternatively, you may prefer to contact a Citizen’s Advice Bureau or other advice agency, where advice is generally provided free of charge.