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Appeal a Magistrates' Court Verdict

In some cases you can appeal a verdict by a Magistrates' Court in the United Kingdom. This page explains how to appeal a criminal conviction or sentence.

MAGISTRATES COURT APPEALS: This guide explains which Magistrates Court appeal form you need.

There is further information explaining exactly what the Magistrates’ Court appeal process involves.

How to Appeal a Magistrates’ Court Decision

If you pleaded not guilty at your trial you can appeal against your sentence, conviction, or both.

Note: You can only appeal against your sentence if you pleaded guilty.

When Can You Appeal a Sentence?

You must appeal a sentence within 21 days of the date that you got sentenced. If you appeal after 21 days you must ask the Crown Court for permission before you can make an appeal.

You should contact the magistrates’ court where you had your trial. They can give you advice about getting the permission to appeal. It is best to get a legal adviser before you appeal a Magistrates’ Court verdict.

Appealing Against a Magistrates Court Decision

The method used for your appeal will depend on whether you were present at your trial or not.

If You Attended Your Trial

In this case you should send a ‘magistrates’ court appeal notice form’ to the same magistrates’ court where your actual trial took place.

What if you got convicted at a magistrates’ court but got sentenced at a Crown Court? In this case you should follow the rules for appealing a Crown Court verdict.

If You Did Not Attend Your Trial

In this case you should contact the magistrates’ court that convicted you or passed the sentence. There are several reasons why you may not have attended your trial including:

  • You did not realise you got convicted of an offence (e.g. for a speeding fine).
  • You could not enter a plea or mitigation at the time.

Note: The court will confirm whether your case can get reopened or not.

The Court Hearing Procedures

The court makes a decision on your appeal at a hearing. You will receive a letter within 80 days of making your appeal. The letter informs you where and when the hearing will take place. As a rule court hearings get held at your nearest Crown Court facility.

What Happens at the Court Hearing

You have an opportunity to present your case to the judge and magistrates at the hearing. Note that representatives from the prosecution will also present their case against you.

In some cases the judge may also ask you certain questions during the hearing.

They will inform you whether you won or lost your appeal at the court hearing. You will also receive a copy of the decision made by the judge sent to you by post.

How to Stop Your Appeal at Magistrates’ Court

You can apply to abandon or stop your appeal before the hearing date. But, your appeal cannot get restarted once it gets stopped.

You should send a ‘notice of abandonment of appeal’ to the same magistrates’ court where your trial took place. You must also send the form to the Crown Court where your hearing will take place. Remember to send copies to any other parties involved in the case such as a prosecutor.

Winning Your Appeal

What happens if you win your appeal against your conviction? In this case your sentence will no longer apply. Depending on the circumstances you may also apply for a ‘miscarriage of justice compensation‘ claim.

If you win your appeal against a sentence by a Magistrates’ Court your sentence gets reduced.

The court may also adjudge that some of your legal costs should get paid back to you. An example could be the recovery of fees charged by your solicitor.

Losing Your Appeal

If you lose your appeal then the original sentence or conviction might get changed. You should check with your legal adviser to see if you can appeal again. But, be aware that you might have to pay extra costs if you choose to make another appeal.

Appeal Against Conviction or Sentence by Magistrates Court in the United Kingdom