Appealing a criminal conviction?

Our Criminal barristers are specialist criminal appeal lawyers. We provide a comprehensive appeal service for appealing a conviction, appealing a sentence or both. If you were convicted in the magistrates court or in the crown court we can provide expert advice and assistance on appealing a verdict and the procedure.

We can also provide “second opinions” on your case. We can advise and consider any legal or procedural errors or new evidence which was not available at the original trial or evidence which was missed and has the ability to cast doubt on an important aspect of the case.

Our appeals advisory service is usually fixed fee. We can arrange for conferences, consultations, written advices and legal opinions and conduct paper reviews of the evidence used to convict.

Our aim is to make the appeals process as simple to understand as possible – it is your appeal therefore you need to understand how it works.

We can advise on:

  • Whether you have grounds to appeal.
  • Advice on any new grounds, points of law or evidence which was not available in the trial.
  • Consideration of any forensic, scientific and DNA evidence which in some cases can provide new and compelling evidence giving rise to a successful appeal.
  • Criminal law advice.
  • We can provide a second opinion if you are dissatisfied with the advice and representation of your previous solicitor or barrister and conduct an independent review of your case.
  • Advice and assistance if you were unrepresented at trial and were convicted in the Magistrate’s Court or Crown Court.
  • Preparing the appeal; Drafting the necessary appeal documents and complying with the procedures.

False Imprisonment & blackmail. The client was one of 6 Defendants.  The evidence of the alleged victim was given via live video link from India. The client was found not guilty following submissions regarding the reliability of evidence given over video live link.

Outcome: The trial Judge discharged the jury and ordered a not guilty verdict as none of the defendants could have a fair trial because of the video link evidence.

R v P (Old Bailey – Central Criminal Court)

more case studies...

Appeal a Conviction: How do I appeal?

The route to an appeal depends on whether the trial took place in the Magistrate’s Court or the Crown Court.

Appeals to the Crown Court (from the Magistrates Court)

If you were convicted and sentenced in the Magistrate’s Court there is an automatic right to appeal, within certain time limits. Appeals from the Magistrates Court are usually made to the Crown Court, exceptionally a case can be appealed to the High court on a point of law by stating a case or judicial review

The right to appeal sentences also includes appeals against driving disqualifications and bans. In some cases the sentence and disqualification can be suspended pending the outcome of the appeal in the Crown Court, once the appeal has been lodged.  Appeals in the crown court are heard by a crown court judge sitting with two lay magistrates. The case would be a complete rehearing of all the evidence from the prosecution and defence. The crown court is not bound by the decision of the magistrates court.

According to the Ministry of Justice between 2004-2008 there were 26,670 appeals from the Magistrates Court to the Crown Court. Of these a staggering 40% of appeals resulted in the conviction being successfully overturned on appeal to the Crown Court.

Mr S was a licensed taxi driver (with no previous criminal convictions). He was charged with assaulting a female passenger following a dispute over a fare. There was CCTV of the incident, despite this he was convicted in the Magistrates Court. He was represented on appeal by our direct access barrister, the CCTV was played in the Crown Court during both the cross examination of prosecution witnesses by the barrister and during the defence case.The same CCTV evidence which was used to convict him, was effectively used to successfully overturn the conviction on appeal through skillful cross examination and analysis of crucial facts and timings. The client was also awarded his legal costs through a defence costs order.
more case studies...

See our case studies for further examples of our work.

Many trials in the Magistrate’s Court are conducted by solicitors. Our appeals are conducted only by experienced crown court barristers. Our services include:

  • Reviewing your case for appeal

Advise and make tactical decisions on which evidence to call and considering any additional evidence, witnesses that could be called that may assist your case on appeal.

  • Preparing your case for appeal

Prepare your appeal, which includes drafting any appeal notice which is required, taking your detailed instructions, making arrangements for witnesses to have statements taken from them, preparing legal arguments and submissions (for example to applications to exclude illegally obtained evidence, evidence which is prejudicial or otherwise inadmissible).

  • Representation at the Appeal

Expert Cross examination of witnesses and police officers.

Making legal submissions to exclude evidence which may been unlawfully or illegally obtained or is inadmissible as evidence.

Arguing your appeal in court and making submissions on your behalf.

Appeals against Sentence

Similarly, an appeal against sentence is a rehearing of the sentence. The Crown Court will  hear the facts of the conviction and can vary or amend the sentence. This can include appealing driving disqualifications and bans and other orders imposed as part of the sentence.

Fixed fees

Because a trial or sentencing hearing would have already been conducted in the Magistrate’s Court we are usually able to offer you a fixed fee service to include advice, drafting any application and representation at the appeal hearing in the Crown Court.

If you believe that you were wrongly convicted in the magistrates court, call us for straightforward advice on (020) 8123 9999 or e-mail us at  Remember if you have been recently convicted you have a time limit in which to appeal, so call today for legal advice and assistance from a criminal barrister direct.

Appeals from the Crown Court (following jury trial)

Unlike appeals from the magistrates court, there is no automatic right to appeal to the Crown Court.  The criteria for appealing is limited  to whether something went ‘wrong’ at the trial  or if there is new evidence, which cast doubt on the reliability of the conviction.   Appealing a Crown Court verdict is complicated and should not be attempted without proper legal advice. Appeals are heard by the Court of Appeal (Criminal Division) which sits at the Royal Courts of Justice in London. We are conveniently based just a few minutes walk from the Royal Courts of Justice.

Common conviction appeal grounds are:

  • Failures by the prosecution to disclose evidence or documents to the defence.
  • New evidence or the discovery of evidence which was not presented at trial.
  • Police of prosecution misconduct.
  • Inadequate or poor representation by a solicitor or barrister at trial.
  • Flawed expert or scientific evidence relied upon by the prosecution at trial.
  • Where the trial judge has made a wrong decision on a issue of law which include:
    • Where evidence has been wrongly admitted or excluded.
    • Misdirecting a jury on the law.
    • Incorrectly rejecting a submission of no case to answer
    • Failing to deal with an essential element during the summing up of the case.
    • Improper interventions by the judge during the course of the trial.
    • A significant irregularity during the course of the trial.

Appealing a Sentence from the Crown Court.

Grounds upon which a sentence can be appealed:

  • The Sentence was too long for the offence (manifestly excessive).
  • The Sentence wrong in principle or unjust.
  • Inconsistent with the sentence of a co-defendant.
  • Where the judge took the wrong approach to sentencing or followed the wrong procedure.
  • The Judge had no legal power to impose the sentence.

In order to appeal to the Court of Appeal a barrister must provide a written advice or opinion that there are properly arguable grounds for appeal either against the conviction sentence or both. There are strict rules and procedures as to which documents need to accompany the advice and which must be lodged with the Court of Appeal Registrar.

Criminal appeals can be complicated and require care and precision. If you or someone close to you was convicted and you would like an experienced criminal barrister to pursue your appeal or give a second opinion on your case call now to discuss the options available to you.

For initial free confidential advice from a criminal barrister call us on 0208 123 9999
or e-mail us at

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