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:
- He erred in law.
- He took into account some factor which he ought not to have taken into account.
- He did not take into account some factor which he ought to have taken into
- He gave no weight or insufficient weight to relevant considerations.
- He failed to give adequate consideration to the emotional needs of the child.
- He misdirected himself.
- He was misled.
- There was no evidence on which a finding could be based.
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)  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.
- 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
- 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 !
- 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 ....
First issued January 1989
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