Questions and answers
Permission to Appeal
Do I need permission to appeal before making an appeal to the Court of Appeal?
In all civil and family cases, permission to appeal is required except in appeals against:
- a committal order
- an order refusing the grant of habeas corpus
- a secure accommodation order made under Section 25 of the Children Act 1989.
You will need to ask the Court of Appeal for permission to appeal:
- if you have not asked for permission from the Judge whose decision you want to appeal
- if you have previously asked that Judge for permission to appeal and it was refused.
Permission to appeal is not required in family cases in appeals to High Court Judges and to Circuit Judges.
When will permission to appeal be granted?
Permission to appeal will only be given to you if your appeal has a real prospect/chance of success or if there is some other compelling reason why the appeal should be heard.
Filing an Application/Appeal
What documents do I have to lodge with my Appellant’s Notice?
You will need to lodge at least three identical copies of your Appellant's Notice including
- grounds of appeal on a separate sheet;
- the court fee (see below);
- the sealed order or tribunal determination being appealed; any order granting or refusing permission to appeal to the Court of Appeal;
- the order allocating the case to a track (if applicable);
- a skeleton argument and the approved transcript of judgment.
How can I complete my Appellant’s Notice?
You can find instructions on how to fill in your Appellant’s Notice in the Guidance notes on completing form N161.
What should my grounds of appeal contain?
The grounds of appeal must identify as concisely as possible the respects in which the judgment of the court below was wrong or unjust because of a serious procedural or other irregularity. The reasons in support should not be included in the grounds of appeal but should be confined to the skeleton argument.
What is a skeleton argument?
A skeleton argument contains the main points which you want to argue. It enables the court to understand your case before the hearing. It should include the reasons why you think the lower court judgment was wrong or unjust because of a serious procedural or other irregularity.
I am a Respondent to an appeal. Do I have to file a skeleton argument?
If you are represented, you should file a skeleton argument if you wish to address arguments to the Court.
I am a Respondent. I would like to file a Respondent's Notice.
You must file a Respondent's Notice if you wish to ask the appeal court to uphold the lower court order for reasons different from or additional to those given by the court whose decision you want to appeal. There is a fee applicable to the filing of a Respondent's Notice. A full schedule of fees can be found in Form 200.
How much does it cost to bring an appeal?
You will need to pay a fee if you are applying for permission to appeal or are making a full appeal. In addition to fees, you may incur other costs such as solicitors’/barristers’ fees. You will need to consider carefully whether you wish to appeal as you may have to pay the costs of the other party if you are unsuccessful.
A full schedule of fees can be found in Form 200.
How can I pay my fees?
If you are paying by post, you should not send cash. You can pay by postal order or personal cheque made payable to "HM Courts and Tribunals Service".
If you come in person to the Royal Courts of Justice, a personal cheque can be accepted if you have a current cheque guarantee card which covers the amount needed to pay the fee. All cheques should be made payable to "HM Courts and Tribunals Service" and be crossed “account payee”.
Where can I pay my fees?
Fees must be paid at the Fees Office Located in E01 in the Royal Courts of Justice. Fees must be paid on your Notice before attending the Registry Office in E307 to lodge your Appellant’s Notice.
Do I have to pay fees?
The leaflet, Court and Tribunal fees – Do I have to pay them? (EX160A) explains what information the court needs to work out if you are eligible for a remission of the court fee.
It also contains the application form which must be completed in full and sent to the court with all the relevant supporting evidence.
More than one fee may be payable during a case. A separate remission application form must be completed for each fee.
How long does it take to process a remission form?
The court will usually deal with your application for a fee remission within 5 working days. It must do so before it processes any of the papers in the court case. In certain circumstances, the court may deal with an application for remission urgently.
I have paid a fee but was eligible for a fee remission. Can I have a refund?
You can apply for a refund (known as a retrospective application) if you have paid a court fee within the last 6 months and think that you would have been granted a remission at the time you paid the fee. You can only apply for a refund at the court where you paid the fee.
The leaflet, Court and Tribunal fees – Do I have to pay them? (EX160A) explains how you can apply for a refund of the court fee.
What is the time limit for filing/bringing an application/appeal?
There are different time limits for different appeals. Time runs from the date the decision being appealed was made, not the date the order reflecting that decision was sealed. Generally, an appellant has 21 days to file an appeal. Time limits depend upon the type of order you want to appeal (see Form 202). Generally, these vary between 7 days and 6 weeks from the date of decision you want to appeal. The judge whose decision you want to appeal can allow a longer period. The Court of Appeal has the power to grant an extension of time for filing an Appellant’s Notice, but an application for an extension of time must be made within the Appellant’s Notice, with full reasons.
I would like to bring an appeal but I am outside the time limits
You can still file an Appellant’s Notice (see instructions on how to fill in your Appellant’s Notice on this website in the Forms and Guidance section (How to Complete an Appellant’s Notice). You must tick the box in section 9, Part B of the Appellant’s Notice to include an application for an extension of time. You will need to explain the reasons for your delay in filing your notice in section 10.
Routes of appeal/tracks
Where should I appeal?
Your route of appeal depends on certain factors such as:
- the type of case
- the court where the decision you wish to appeal against was made
- who made that decision and the type of decision.
See Routes of Appeal for more information
Civil cases in the High Court and the county courts are allocated to a track. The track may determine the court you should appeal to. An appeal from a county court may be made to the High Court or the Court of Appeal.
Why is the track important?
You will need to specify in section 2 of your Appellant’s Notice the track to which your claim was allocated. If the matter was allocated to a track in a county court, the Civil Appeals Office will require a copy of the order which allocated your case to a track. More details can be obtained from our leaflet called Routes of Appeal
What if I do not know the track?
If you do not know to which track your claim was allocated, the office of the court where the order was made can assist you. If you are appealing from a tribunal, the tribunal will not have allocated your case to a track.
What is the small claims track?
The small claims track is the track for any claims for personal injuries where the financial value of the claim is not more than £10,000 and the financial value of the claim for damages is not more than £1000. It includes any claim by a tenant of residential premises against his landlord for repairs, where the estimated cost of the repairs is not more than £1000. It also includes any other claim which has a value of not more than £10,000.
What is the fast-track track?
The fast-track is the usual track for any claim which is not allocated to the small claims track. It includes cases where:
- the financial value is not more than £15,000
- the court considers that the trial is not going to last for more than one day
- oral expert evidence will be limited to one expert per party and expert evidence in two expert fields.
What is the multi-track?
The multi-track is the track for claims which are neither small claims nor have been allocated to the fast track. Cases allocated to the multi-track include cases with a financial value exceeding £25,000 and also cases of a lower value if the court considers the trial is likely to last longer than one day or if oral expert evidence at the trial will not be limited to one expert per party in not more than two expert fields.
Rules on Appeals
Where can I find the rules governing appeals to the Court of Appeal?
What is a Practice Direction?
A Practice Direction provides additional guidance to supplement relevant rules of procedure.
How many times can I appeal?
Generally, you can appeal from a lower court decision only once. Second appeals are allowed only in very limited circumstances. For a first appeal there must be a real prospect/chance of success or there must be a compelling reason why the appeal should be heard. You will only be allowed to bring a second appeal if your appeal raises an important point of principle or practice or there is some other compelling reason why the Court of Appeal should hear it.
Who decides if I have permission to appeal?
Once your documentation has been duly submitted to the Civil Appeals Office, a judge of the Court of Appeal (a Lord/Lady Justice) will decide if you should be given permission to appeal.
I do not have a lawyer to represent me. Where can I find one?
The staff of the Civil Appeals Office do not offer legal advice. The Citizens’ Advice Bureau (CAB) situated in the main hall of the Royal Courts of Justice can assist you with your case provided you fulfill certain requirements. They will not be able to help you if you receive legal aid. The CAB can offer legal advice, help you to prepare bundles and complete forms. If you would like to receive legal help from the CAB please call 0203 475 8996 between 10am and 1pm weekdays, or call in person to reception between 2pm and 4pm weekdays, to be triaged for assistance.
Can I appeal from a decision by the Court of Appeal?
Only in very limited circumstances. Appeals from the Court of Appeal lie to The Supreme Court of the United Kingdom which is the highest Court of Appeal for civil cases in England and Wales. It only hears about 85 appeals a year. Permission to appeal must be obtained from the Court of Appeal or more usually, The Supreme Court itself.
If I lose in the Court of Appeal, can I appeal to the European Court of Human Rights?
To apply to the European Court of Human Rights, you need to “exhaust domestic remedies”. This means you must have used all the procedures available to you in your own country to seek protection of your rights or to seek justice in respect of a past violation of your rights. In cases where the Court of Appeal is the last court to decide on the case, an application to the European Court of Human Rights may be made. You can request the Court to provide an Exhaustion of Domestic Remedies Certificate which is required by the European Court.
Can I recover my bundle once my appeal is finished?
No, bundles lodged with the Court will not be returned to the parties but will be destroyed in the confidential waste disposal system at the conclusion to the proceedings and without further notification.
Where can I find detailed rules on costs?
Rules on costs can be found in Parts 43-48 of the Civil Procedure Rules.
What are the rules about costs?
The court has discretion to order that costs should be paid by one party to another. The Civil Procedure Rules state that if the court decides to make any order the general rule is that the unsuccessful party will pay the successful party costs. You should be aware that in certain limited circumstances, a successful party can be refused his costs for instance if he unreasonably refuses to consider mediation as an alternative to litigation.
An order for costs made by a lower court can be challenged on appeal.
The Court of Appeal
What is the Court of Appeal?
The Court of Appeal is the main appeal court in England and Wales. In practice, it is often the court of last resort. The Civil Division of the Court of Appeal hears appeals from the County courts, the High Court and certain tribunals. The Court of Appeal currently has 44 Judges 5 of which are Heads of Divisions.
What is the court’s target time for handling appeals? How long are appeal hearby dates?
The hearby dates for different classes of appeal can be found on this website under Hearby Dates. Hearby dates for appeals have considerably reduced since 1999 reflecting the substantial progress made by the court in improving the service it offers litigants. The longest hearby date is now around 9 months and most are considerably shorter than that.
The court will strive to ensure that appeals are generally heard within their listing windows.
Can a case be expedited?
Applications for an expedited hearing are determined by a single Lord/Lady Justice or the Master in accordance with the principles set out in Unilever PLC v Chefaro Proprietaries Ltd (Practice Note)  1 WLR 243.
Who will hear my appeal?
An application for permission to appeal is usually dealt with by a single Judge (also called Lord/Lady Justice). A full appeal is heard by a court usually comprising three Lords/Lady Justices.
When can I expect a judgment to be given in my case?
Many judgments are given in open court on the day of the hearing. However, in a number of cases, judgment is "reserved". This means that the Judges will not give their decision on the day of the hearing. They will need some time to reflect on the submissions made in court. This is usually the case in complicated and long appeals. Judgment is handed down in open court at a later date and parties will be informed in advance of the hand-down hearing.
What is a transcript?
A transcript of judgment sets out the reasons why the court made its order.
Where can I obtain a transcript of my appeal?
If you would like to obtain a transcript of judgment, all appeal judgments are published on the Bailii website. For transcripts of judgment in respect of applications for permission to appeal, you can contact the official court transcribers, Merrill Legal Solutions International, on 020 7404 1400 or at 190 Fleet Street, London EC4A 2AG. A fee will be charged for this service.
Where can I find the important decisions which were reached during the year?
All our judgments in which appeals are decided are published on the Bailii website
I am deaf and I need to attend court. Can arrangements be made for me to attend?
One of our courts has been permanently equipped with a hearing loop. If you want the Court to make special arrangements for you, you should contact the Listing Office. Full contact details for the Listing Office can be found on this website under contracts.
I cannot attend my hearing at the Court of Appeal. What shall I do?
Video link technology is available in some of our courtrooms. It is necessary to get the Court’s permission to hear a case by video conferencing. Parties should initially approach the Listing Office. See information on Video Conferencing under “Attending the Court”.
I want to attend a court hearing on a specific day. Where can I see the cases which will be heard on that day?
Hearings for the day can be found in the Daily Cause List, which is available in the Court’s Great Hall and on this website under Daily List. Hearings for the following day are published on the Daily Cause List at 2.30pm.
The Civil Appeals Office
I cannot come to the Civil Appeals Office to collect forms. How I can get them?
The relevant forms can be found and downloaded from this website under Forms and Guidance. Alternatively, you should contact the Registry Office.
How can I contact the Civil Appeals Office?
Full contact details for the Civil Appeals Office can be found on this website under Contact Us.
Can I make photocopies in the Civil Appeals Office?
The staff in the Civil Appeals Office do not provide a photocopying service. Photocopying facilities are available in the Reprographics Department (behind Café 26) in Room M19 of the Main Building in the Royal Courts of Justice. A fee is payable for photocopying and must be paid in the Fees Office (Room E01, East Block) before using the photocopying facilities. A full schedule of fees can be found within Fees Form 200.
Can the office assist me in making my appeal?
The staff of the Civil Appeals cannot give you legal advice. They cannot assist you in preparing your case, organising your bundles or representing you before the court. Legal assistance can be obtained from the Royal Courts of Justice Citizens' Advice Bureau or from other legal agencies such as the local CAB/Law Centres.
What is mediation?
Mediation is a popular alternative to litigation and to appeals. It is a structured but flexible process which enables the parties consensually to resolve their differences before an independent, neutral and impartial mediator. They usually do so much more quickly and at considerably lower cost than at a trial, with the advantage that the parties are in control: with the mediator’s assistance, they decide and agree an outcome that works for them. About 80% of cases settle at mediation or shortly afterwards. More information can be found on the Civil Mediation Council and the Society of Mediators websites, both of which are charitable bodies promoting mediation and mediators. Many local and national organisations offer mediation commercially or sometimes for free (pro bono) in all forms of disputes. If you would like to know more, contact Jonathan Dingle (Secretary) on 020 7353 3936 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Who can be a Court of Appeal mediator?
A mediator must fulfil the following conditions. He/she must be:
- an individual approved for membership of a panel of mediators by the Court
- accredited as a mediator by certain bodies such as the National Family Mediation Solicitors Family Law Association or CEDR (Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution)
- in current good standing with that accrediting body as regards membership and any requirements of that accrediting body.
He/she must also have had sufficient suitable experience of practical mediation as a mediator.
Where can I find a mediator?
The Court of Appeal has an Alternative Dispute Resolution scheme which is handled by CEDR Solve. CEDR, also known as the Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution, is responsible for nominating mediators from the mediation panel of the court. It also prepares a mediation agreement in each case and liaises with the parties over exchange of information and dates. The court is responsible for the composition of the panel of mediators.
How long is mediation?
Much depends on the willingness of the parties to compromise and the complexity of the case. However, it is generally accepted that mediation is a shorter process than litigation.
How much does it cost?
The fixed fee for each party in all but family matters is £850 plus VAT. Each party will bear his/her own costs of mediation unless otherwise agreed by the parties. Funding through the Legal Aid Agency is available for publicly funded parties.
Can the court order mediation?
Generally, both parties must agree to mediation before settling out of court. However a Lord/Lady Justice, when giving permission to appeal, may strongly encourage the parties to consider mediation in cases in which he/she deems it appropriate.
What if I do not want to mediate?
The court can penalise in costs any party who unreasonably refuses to mediate when encouraged to do so by the court.
I do not understand legal terms. Where can I find an explanation?
You can find definitions of legal terms in the glossary.
What are a claimant/ a defendant?
A claimant is the person who starts proceedings in the lower court by filing a claim form. He/she was previously known as the plaintiff.
A defendant is the person sued by the claimant.
What is an appellant/a respondent?
An appellant is the person who makes an application/appeal to an appeal court. The appellant can be the claimant or the defendant in the lower court.
The respondent is the person on whom the Appellant's Notice is served.
You may complain to the Court Manager of the Civil Appeals Office if you are unhappy with the service you have received from the Civil Appeals Office. Complaints should be addressed to:
The Court Manager
Civil Appeals Office
Royal Courts of Justice
London WC2A 2LL
In your letter you should:
- Give your name and address
- Give the name and reference number of your case
- Say what you are complaining about
- Say what you would like us to do to put things right
Your letter will be acknowledged and the Court Manager or a nominated officer will investigate the complaint. Within 10 days you will receive a full reply which will:
- Set out your complaint so that you can be sure we have understood it
- Describe the events surrounding the situation
- State whether or not staff have made a mistake, and give reasons for this decision.
The Court Manager cannot consider complaints about the conduct of Judges of the Court. Such complaints should be addressed to:
Ministry of Justice
Judicial Conduct and Investigations Office
81-82 Queen’s Building
Royal Courts of Justice