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Magistrate Court Appeals

By: Lorna Elliott LLB (hons), Barrister - Updated: 22 Apr 2018 |
 
Appeal Magistrates Court Crown Court

The magistrates’ courts hear a wide variety of lower level criminal cases in England and Wales. When charged with a criminal offence for which you appear before the magistrates’ court, (or Youth Court) a number of things can happen. You may plead guilty to the offence with which you are charged, or be found guilty after a trial, after which you will have a conviction. In less common situations, the Crown may decide that they have insufficient evidence to continue to prosecute you, or that proceeding with the case against you is not in the public interest. It is possible for magistrates to proceed to try your case in your absence, so you can be found guilty of an offence even if you don’t attend your trial.

Sentencing - Once Convicted

Once you are convicted of an offence the magistrates may sentence you on the same day, or decide that they want further information about you before they decide how to sentence you (usually by way of a report compiled by the Probation Service, or if you are a youth, by the Youth Offending Team). If they consider that their powers of sentencing are insufficient to deal with your case in the magistrates’ court they may decide to commit you to the Crown Court for sentence.

Appealing Against Sentence or Conviction

You have a right to appeal against the decisions of the magistrates’ courts. If you were found guilty after a trial, you can appeal to the Crown Court against your conviction. However, if you pleaded guilty and were sentenced in the magistrates’ court you will not be able to appeal against your conviction, but you can still appeal against the length or nature of your sentence.

Procedure When Appealing

You must provide the prosecutor with your notice to appeal against your conviction or sentence within 21 days. It is possible to apply to the legal services commission for legal representation at your appeal. The Crown Court will give you a date when you must attend for your appeal, which will be heard by two magistrates and a Crown Court judge. There is no jury, but your entire case will be heard again. If your appeal is against sentence only, the prosecutor will tell the court details of your conviction and you or your lawyer will then tell the court about your personal and financial circumstances, if appropriate, and ‘mitigate’ in relation to the offence itself. If your appeal is against conviction, the witnesses who gave evidence at your original trial in the magistrates’ court will be required to give evidence again.

However, it is important to note that as well as quashing a conviction and reducing a sentence, the judge and magistrates are also entitled to impose a harsher or different sentence and may also make you liable to pay the prosecution’s costs if they consider that you shouldn’t have brought the appeal in the first place. There is no further right of appeal after you have appealed to the Crown Court from the Magistrates’ Court.

Appeals to The Divisional (High) Court From The Magistrates’ Court

In certain circumstances if you or your lawyer considers that the magistrates’ court has got the law wrong you can appeal to the Divisional Court ‘by way of case stated’. This procedure can be complicated and you should always consult a lawyer before embarking on this process. It should be noted that this type of appeal can only consider decisions relating to the law, rather than any evidence relating to facts (for which you should use the Crown Court process.) This type of appeal is only available for cases that have concluded. If you succeed, your case is usually sent back to the Magistrates’ Court with directions as to how to proceed.

Judicial Review

For appeals relating to decisions on points of law prior to the conclusion of a case, the procedure is called Judicial Review. In this type of appeal, the magistrates are asked to ‘stay the proceedings’ pending an application for Judicial Review (or JR.) The High Court considers the decision making process of the Magistrates’ Court to determine whether or not they made an error in law. Again this is a complex procedure and you should always consult a lawyer before embarking on this process.

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[Add a Comment]
SH - Your Question:
Recently received a NIP for speeding - 43 in a 30, was given the choice of 3 points and a £100 fine or to take a speed awareness course - pleaded guilty and opted for the speed awareness. Later received a letter saying that a mistake had been made and the speed awareness course was not available, Due to personal commitments, I didn't see this letter until after the matter had been passed to the Magistrate's Court. I opted for the matter to be dealt with in my absence, explaining all of the circumstances on the online form and expecting the courts to apply common sense. I've just received a very short email telling me that the fine is now £315 including £30 to a victim support fund and 4 points, with no information as to my rights, only how to pay. Is this is reasonable for an offer to be made in writing only for the offer to be withdrawn after I had accepted it and to be fined so much extra when I had already pleaded guilty within the time limits?

Our Response:
A speed awareness course is offered up to 42 MPH in a 30MPH speed limit. While there was a mistake on the notice (by offering you a speed awareness course and then retracting the offer) it does not render the charge ineffective. The reason it went to court is the fact you did not reply to the letter. If the matter goes to court, then the fine is always higher if guilty.Unfortunately, there is little you can do regarding this matter.
CourtroomAdvice - 23-Apr-18 @ 11:48 AM
Recently received a NIP for speeding - 43 in a 30, was given the choice of 3 points and a £100 fine or to take a speed awareness course - pleaded guilty and opted for the speed awareness. Later received a letter saying that a mistake had been made and the speed awareness course was not available, Due to personal commitments, I didn't see this letter until after the matter had been passed to the Magistrate's Court. I opted for the matter to be dealt with in my absence, explaining all of the circumstances on the online form and expecting the courts to apply common sense. I've just received a very short email telling me that the fine is now £315 including £30 to a victim support fund and 4 points, with no information as to my rights, only how to pay. Is this is reasonable for an offer to be made in writing only for the offer to be withdrawn after I had accepted it and to be fined so much extra when I had already pleaded guilty within the time limits?
SH - 22-Apr-18 @ 10:32 AM
My son is 18 and was convicted yesterday for failing to return a police notification letter regarding a road traffic accident in 2017. Firstly only one letter was ever received addressed to me as I am the registered keeper of his car. The police wanted me to make a statement which I did but even til this day my son has not been interviewed, made a statement or his side represented in the court erena. My son was sick and has a gp letter to support his non attendance at the trial but the case was heard in his absence and he was found guilty recieving 6 points and £650 fine. Can we appeal given he would have attended if we was fit to and that I was prepared to give evidence as per my statement. He has a solicitor
Nia - 11-Apr-18 @ 9:02 PM
Hello I received fixed penalty notice of £100 and 3 points to my driving licence. Initially I paid for the penalty and sent filled in form they posted to me. But then they withdrew my payment and then sent me court letter asking me to plead guilty or not. In addition I had to pay £420. So I paid and did not question that. I just realised that the reason they withdrew £100 and sent my case to court is that I did not sent my driving licence. I was not aware that I should send them my driving licence to endorse the penalty points, also if it was requested on the letter I would have known that I should send it. Could you advice me if I can appeal to receive some money back?
Damiano - 15-Jan-18 @ 9:45 PM
Hi my wife was recently convicted for 2 cases of theft, shes pleaded not guilty twice as she's innocent but doesn't plan to appeal as the whole ordeal has left us both on antidepressants and we'd struggle to cope with it mentally, she worked in the care industry and accused of taking on the initial charge sheet £360 which later got dropped to 2 charges of £15 at the first court hearing which she wasn't aware of. The evidence that convicted her was 2 pieces of cctv both showing her 'in the vicinity of the bag' although only one shows a bag handle which appears to move and freeze while she's by it it then shows her putting was is alleged money in her pocket, she is of good character and supplied references supporting her defence and maintained her innocence throughout. I also wrote as her husband a letter to the court explaining what we'd endured and raising suspicions on the evidence which wasn't answered. Anyway since her conviction she has visited her employer where she has had to tend her notice or face the sack. She asked why she hadn't received a formal letter informing her of the reason for suspension and was told that if they had formally suspended her she would have received a lot less money and as they fully believed her they didn't feel it right she suffered financially too during the whole process. Can this be considered new evidence as it's a company showing their faith in her honesty?
Postie611 - 25-Dec-17 @ 7:54 PM
Minority report - Your Question:
Examiner failed me on my driving test. The person was moody and silence from start to finish at times telling me to turn left/right with a rude tone of voice and no please or thank you. At the end of the test he told me unfortunately I did not pass, handed me the form and began to walk away from the vehicle. I had to ask him why I failed to get an explanation. He told me that I hesitated coming out of a junction.(Got a serious fault) I explained to him that cars tuning left into my junction were being overtaken by cars going straight ahead as there was a queue. His response was "I'm sure your instructor will tell you why you failed" and walked away.He did not explained the report (had 11 faults in total which we could not explain) and I was also asked to pull over six times on the left randomly which my instructor said was very unusual (never happened).I felt discriminated and cheated of a driving test result after hours of study and dedication.

Our Response:
You do have recourse to complain, please see gov.uk link here .
CourtroomAdvice - 19-Dec-17 @ 12:40 PM
Examiner failed me on my driving test. The person was moody and silence from start to finish at times telling me to turn left/right with a rude tone of voice and no please or thank you. At the end of the test he told me unfortunately I did not pass, handedme the form and began to walk away from the vehicle. I had to ask him why I failed to get an explanation. He told me that I hesitated coming out of a junction.(Got a serious fault) I explained to him that cars tuning left into my junction were being overtaken by cars going straight ahead as there was a queue. His response was "I'm sure your instructor will tell you why you failed" and walked away. He did not explained the report (had 11 faults in total which we could not explain) and I was also asked to pull over six times on the left randomly which my instructor said was very unusual (never happened). I felt discriminated and cheated of a driving test result after hours of study and dedication.
Minority report - 19-Dec-17 @ 3:40 AM
Mattt - Your Question:
Got pulled over for no insurance and turned out it didn't go frow on internet so insured car on spot police let me drive off got 8 point s ?

Our Response:
Normally when you insure a car on the internet, you get immediate confirmation that your insurance is up to date. If you did not get the confirmation, then you should not have driven the car until the confirmation came through. There isn't really any excuse not to be insured. Driving without insurance is a serious offence which can result in an immediate disqualification from driving. For first offences, the court would normally impose between six and eight penalty points, but no ban.
CourtroomAdvice - 1-Dec-17 @ 11:05 AM
Got pulled over for no insurance and turned out it didn't go frow on internet so insured car on spot police let me drive off got 8 point s ?
Mattt - 30-Nov-17 @ 6:02 PM
Hi my husband and I got sentenced I got 2 year suspended he ft 6years for fraud. But it wasn't even us who did any fraud but anyway as my husband did speak up he just took it and let the fraudsters out. Ignoring that he got sintemced jully2017 we have appealed as the type of thing he got done with was only worth like 3 years sentence so we r speaking it. How long does it take for appeal to get bk
Hai - 26-Oct-17 @ 3:48 PM
@John - you'd have to make an official complaint to the courts and the council. I've never heard of anything like this happening before.
ENH - 23-Oct-17 @ 12:52 PM
A while ago i was taken to court by our council for non payment of council tax. Whilst i admit i owed some money I was disputing the amount of benefits i received. when I arrived at Court i was met by 2 council officers. They wanted to know what my dispute was so I explained. They said they could sort the problem out and I did not to go in front of the judge. The next thing I know is that they got a judgement against me and did Nothing to sort my problem out. They lied to me and they knew I was disabled. What can I do now help please
John - 22-Oct-17 @ 6:20 PM
Hi my nephew was in court a week ago for a criminal case which he pled no guilty, three witness who all lied under oath who are his family. He has ADHD and involuntary ticks which he has no control over, the judge took and instand dislike to him and came back with the shocking guilty verdict. I was wonder as no solid evidence was provided in court could we appeal on the this ground and that his disabilities were not taken into consideration during the trial. He is due for sentencing on Tuesday any advice would be geatfully appropriated
Donna - 8-Oct-17 @ 11:03 AM
Hello, I recently was caught speeding in a large van doing 68 on a dual carriage way and my compamy got the penatly notice. I updated the company with all my details to ensure they could fill in my drviers details and I take the points. I then sent off the forms with my details to accept the points. After not hearing any reply for 5-6 weeks I rang Cornwall Magistrates and they told me to just wait. This was around July time. I have been waiting patiently.... Now... I just got a letter through yesterday telling me the court has ordered 6 points and a £880 fine. Now I am in a situation where I cannot prove I filled out the form and sent it and they are assuming I ignored them and I cannot prove against that. I genuinely had no problem accepting the 3 points as I had no defense. Now my situation is I cannot continue at my workplace as I would have 9 total. Do I have any right to appeal this sentence? Can they really sentence me in court without me even knowing? They claim they sent two lots of post informing me of this but I never received any of these or clearly I would of contacted them. They could of just contacted my mobile or email from the DVLA surely? Please do offer any good advice as I need to consider my options. Thanks in advance
Chris A - 7-Oct-17 @ 5:34 PM
Bingo - Your Question:
Hi,My husband was disqualified from driving in 2009 for 2 years with the condition of re sitting his test to gain his licence back.On checking his licence on line with DVLA it now shows that his ban has finished.He has not applied for his licence back as yet nor re sat his test as was unsure as to if he wanted his licence back.Is he still classed as being disqualified from driving until he applies for his licence back?

Our Response:
Yes, he is still classed as disqualified and cannot drive until he has passed his test again.
CourtroomAdvice - 3-Oct-17 @ 10:54 AM
Hi,My husband was disqualified from driving in 2009 for 2 years with the condition of re sitting his test to gain his licence back.On checking his licence on line with DVLA it now shows that his ban has finished.He has not applied for his licence back as yet nor re sat his test as was unsure as to if he wanted his licence back.Is he still classed as being disqualified from driving until he applies for his licence back?
Bingo - 2-Oct-17 @ 2:07 PM
I've appealed a failure to disclose driver details conviction which was heared without me knowing about it and missed the court hearing due to my little lad being ill, I've emailed the courts to apply to have the appeal reopened but the judge has refused this, I'm a relatively new driver 20 months and now the 6 points has revoked my licence and as a hgv driver I cannot work, is there anything I can do??
Cal - 14-Jul-17 @ 1:30 AM
@Dy - you're not going to get away with appealling your conviction if you were under the influence of alcohol! You'll have to suck it up and pay up.
Ben - 23-Jun-17 @ 1:49 PM
I've been convicted and order to pay a fine of £285 for threatening a ticket man which I was requested to pay £40 every month installmentally. I have pay £40. Can I appeal against My conviction as I was under the influence of alcohol when the harassment took place?
Dy - 21-Jun-17 @ 12:18 AM
I was ban for six month from diving without penalty point. Will the ban stay on my licence after the six month ban expire? I leave inLiverpool Merseyside but i was tried in Luton (Bedforshire) magistrate court. Now I wantto appeal against the magistrate decision, will my appeal be heard in Liverpool where i leaveor Luton where the initial case was tried. Can I made the appeal in Liverpool Magistrate court?
AB - 18-Mar-17 @ 12:39 PM
Blublu112 - Your Question:
Hi, I posted a comment on this page on the 15th march 2017, I was lead to believe by leaving a comment we would get a little advise on our issues ? Is this so or is just to inform other people of circumstances within the jurastiction world, I'm confused, appreciate a reply to my query. Thank you.PUT

Our Response:
We get many questions in daily across our sites and try to get to them where we can. In your case, you would have to see a specialist motoring lawyer for advice regarding this.
CourtroomAdvice - 17-Mar-17 @ 11:38 AM
Hi, I posted a comment on this page on the 15th march 2017, I was lead to believe by leaving a comment we would get a little advise on our issues ? Is this so or is just to inform other people of circumstances within the jurastiction world, I'm confused,appreciate a reply to my query. Thank you..PUT
Blublu112 - 17-Mar-17 @ 12:49 AM
I was convicted 18th Jan 2017 for minor speeding offences whilst volunteering as a community first responder. I was caught on camera 3 times, I pleaded with the Magistrates that with 9 points I would be unable to respond in my own vehicle to life threatening emergencies within my community, I am out of the 21 day appeal time due to solicitors wasting my time on the appeal request, I received 9 points and fined £235 which I paid in full. Could I still appeal to the magistrates to reduce the points to 6 with higher fines so I may continue my role in the community as with 6 point I am allowed by NHS to still respond. I truly enjoy the volunteer work and have been used many times in my rural village to such emergencies, please help as this has depressed me as I do not work after suffering a heart attack myself and was saved by the intervention of a First Responder.
Blublu112 - 15-Mar-17 @ 7:15 AM
In response to my comment we have lived at the same address for 10 years the address they sent the correspondence to was a typo error on their part! Its not as if it was an old address of my husbands! It was actually the correct street but wrong number!
Mrsspidge - 6-Jan-17 @ 12:29 PM
My husband apparently got caught speeding in his works van sometime in 2016 this went to court and today recieved an attachment of earnings for a whopping 800+ pounds!! We knew nothing of this and when he rang he was told all correspondence was sent to a wrong address!! He know has to go to the courts to arrange a new court date to swear on oath that he didnt recieve anything and then await another sentence to the original speeding offence!! As he doesnt work local to these court visits he has to have at least two days off work and tbh we cant afford this as we have 4 children and both work very hard! We have to do this as obviously it was his mistake in the first place but i just dont see how he should swear on oath that he never received anything when theyve already admitted their mistake! Plus that he should loose wages and still end up with the original fine!
Mrsspidge - 6-Jan-17 @ 12:25 PM
ive won my appeal for failure to disclose driver details in crown court on 4th november 2016 and my penalty points have been removed,i checked online! i was fined £999 when sentenced in august at magistrates. my question is will this total amount be quashed too?ive phoned to confirm this with fines collection but they wont say! the judge said both penalty points and fine are quashed but im confused! do i have to pay court costs?
bluedriver - 16-Nov-16 @ 11:20 PM
Hi, I've requested an appeal against my magistrates conviction and I've been given a date for a rehearing. Will there be a jury this time as it is in Crown or just a judge and magistrates? Can i request a jury?
Witness101 - 26-Oct-16 @ 10:37 PM
Hi Appealing - Does 21 days mean 21 working days or 21 days including weekends?
Shi - 18-Oct-16 @ 4:06 PM
Ive appealed against a magistrates conviction i got sentenced to 16month custody. I have 5months left to serve was wondering will my appeal be heard before my sentence expires
Jay - 7-Oct-16 @ 12:44 PM
Craig18 - Your Question:
Keeping a story simple and short -Magistrates Court did not take into consideration my disability whilst in the court room, not as a mitigation but as a help to get through the case with the full facts. Doctors and Hospital letters's saying that I require everything in writing to help with my Memory loss and Confusion. Which the Courts did not do. I walked out of the courts under the wrong information and impression, that a driving ban would start when DVLA requests my licence. But this was not the case it had started straight away. I was not aware and was caught driving 2 weeks after my ban started. - Simply because the court did not adapt to my disability making reasonable adjustments. I was given 200 Hours and 12 Month Community Order, and a 6 Month driving ban extension. - I am ready to appeal this on the basis of above. Any advise would be helpful thakyou

Our Response:
I'm afraid this is beyond our remit to advise - you would have to seek specialist legal help to see whether you have a case to answer.
CourtroomAdvice - 7-Oct-16 @ 12:27 PM
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