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Reduction in the number of cases received by the Court of Appeal

6,116 applications to appeal sentencing and convictions received by the court in the last legal year

8 December 2014

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The Court of Appeal saw 600 fewer applications to appeal sentencing and convictions in the criminal division in 2013/14.

Compared with the previous period, between October 2013 and September 2014 the court received:

• An 8 per cent decrease in the number of applications to appeal sentences; and

• A 9 per cent decrease in the number of applications to appeal convictions.

The decline represents almost a 10 per cent shrinkage in the number of applications received in total, down from 6,718 to 6,116.

Applications for leave

The statistics show that in the reporting year a total of 1,148 applications for leave to appeal convictions were considered. Of these 174 (15 per cent) were granted leave. Eighty-two applicants (7 per cent) had their applications referred to the full court, while 892, or 78 per cent, were refused leave.

With applications for leave to appeal generally considered by a single judge, the report shows that 85 per cent of conviction applications considered during the year were refused in such circumstances.

Applications for leave to appeal sentences totalled 3,841. Of these, 981 were granted leave; 232 applications were referred to the full court; and 2,628 were refused leave. This means 74 per cent of sentence applications were refused by a single judge.

The statistics also show that the court heard 358 full conviction appeals compared with 377 the previous year as well as 1,640 full sentence appeals compared with 2,001 in 2012/13.

In addition, there were 1,209 applications for leave to appeal conviction compared with 1,341 in the year before and 4,209 applications for leave to appeal sentence, compared with 4,469 in 2012/13.

There were 397 conviction cases heard by the full court, of which 142 were allowed. This total represents an increase of 39 cases from the preceding year. The corresponding figures for sentences heard was 1,582 (78 less than 2012/13), of which 1,016 were allowed.

Success rate

The report states it is 'difficult to quantify the success rate of appeals' in terms of the number of cases received by the court. This is said to be because those cases received each year outnumber those dealt with by the full court.

In the previous four years, the number of successful conviction appeals has fluctuated between 8 and 14 per cent. While the number of successful appeals for sentence has been between 21 and 25 per cent.

John van der Luit-Drummond is legal reporter for Solicitors Journal

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