Shared Parenting Information Group (SPIG) UK

- promoting responsible shared parenting after separation and divorce -

Appealing a judgment

Note: the information below was correct when prepared, but changes to the rules have since been made. You should ask the Civil Appeals Office (address below) for leaflets detailing the current position.

Immediate action needed

If you wish to appeal a judgement, say so immediately at the hearing - before the judge dismisses you - and if an order has already been made, ask for a stay of execution.

Otherwise it can take weeks to get back into court to seek leave to appeal, and you will run into all sorts of problems like having to ask for an extension of time to appeal.

Do not worry if leave is denied - you then have automatic right to apply to the Court of Appeal.

Grounds for appeal

You need to show that on the evidence before him the decision of the judge was plainly wrong, improper or unjust:

Security for costs

The judge may advise the other side to apply for security of costs against you, meaning that you will have to lodge with the court sufficient costs to pay the other side if you lose.

This goes against the general principle of English law that no person should be precluded from bringing an action just because he is insolvent or poor.

In a minorís case, security for costs against a party who is a parent would only be ordered in the most exceptional circumstances.
RSC Order 23 rule 1 (penultimate note) Re B (Infants) [1965] 1 WLR 946

Step by step to appeal

The route to appeal can be long and tortuous. You have four weeks to appeal from a county court judge, but time is of the essence and the steps below may help you avoid some of the pitfalls. The information was correct at August 1988.

  1. Obtain a copy of the order of the court
    The Court of Appeal will not provide you with the correct application forms until they see your duly sealed order. You will need to pester the Court Office to produce the order FAST.
    Take or send the order to the address below, asking for a skeleton form of notice of appeal and all relevant information you require to lodge your appeal.
    Civil Appeals Office, Royal Courts of Justice, Strand, LONDON WC2A 2LL
  2. Obtain a copy of the judgeís notes of evidence
    At this stage they will be his handwritten scrawl and difficult to decipher. The court will try and stall you and say you canít have them until youíve lodged the appeal, but you will say you canít lodge the appeal without knowing what to appeal against (recognise Catch 22 ?). Hopefully you will use all your charm and obtain them and be able to read them, but also ask for a typewritten copy approved by the judge to be produced and sent to you. There will be a small charge but they do not appear to have a procedure for following it up if you donít pay !
  3. Obtain a copy of the judgement
    Unless there is a proper shorthand writer or tape recorder and transcription service, this will have to be concocted by your barrister, and agreed with the other side. Either way it must be approved by the judge. All this takes time, so you will have to pester (some shorthand writers take four weeks).

Acting in person ?

'In those cases where the appellant acts in person, counsel or solicitors for the other side must make available their notes of judgement'.
[Practice Note: 1985 -1 All ER 841]

to be continued ....

David Cannon
First issued January 1989

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