02476 231000
enquiries@askewslegal.co
Mon - Fri 09:00-17:00

Have you been wrongly convicted?

Were you wrongly advised to plead guilty?

Was your sentence too long?

Have you been given an unfair confiscation order?

Have you been unfairly disqualified, or for too long?

Our specialist team will be able to give you independent and realistic advice about whether you can appeal, and the likelihood of such an appeal succeeding.

The process

Anybody who has been convicted of a crime in the Crown Court, and or sentenced, and or been made the subject of a confiscation or disqualification order, has the right to appeal to the Court of Appeal. The process begins with a barrister writing a document called an ‘advice and grounds of appeal’ which is considered first by a High Court Judge who decides if there is any merit in the grounds (this first step does not involve a court hearing). If he or she thinks that you have a meritorious ground of appeal, he or she will give you permission to appeal to the Full Court of three judges who will listen to arguments made on your behalf by a barrister at a hearing. If permission to appeal is not granted, you can renew your application for permission to appeal at a hearing before the Full Court.

Your application to appeal must be made within 28 days of the decision you are appealing (the conviction, sentence, confiscation or disqualification order). If you apply after 28 days, you will need to apply for permission to appeal ‘out of time’.

What we do

In the first instance, in appeals against conviction we will almost certainly need to obtain a transcript of the judge’s summary of the evidence and legal directions to the jury (normally given at the end of the trial) and perhaps other transcripts; in appeals against sentence or confiscation or disqualification orders, we will need a transcript of the judge’s sentencing remarks or ruling on the making of the order in question. We will then need from you, an indication of what you think went wrong. We will then obtain the original court documents and send everything to a barrister who will draft the advice on appeal (and grounds of appeal if there is merit in appealing). The barrister may need to meet with you to obtain further information.

Successful appeals to the Court of Appeal, are not common. The Court of Appeal does not give you another opportunity to present your defence, and very rarely will it hear any evidence at all. You will need a good barrister who is experienced in persuading the Full Court that your grounds of appeal are sound. Our panel of handpicked barristers is unrivalled in ability; and we will be able to offer you a barrister to match your budget.

Our team is comprised of specialist criminal litigators with over 100 years of experience between them.

In which area are you looking for help?

In the Crown Court, juries decide if someone is guilty or not. But the jury make their decision based only on the evidence they have been given in the trial and the guidance they have received by the judge. If, in your trial, the judge wrongly refused to let the jury see important evidence that might have proved you weren’t guilty, or allowed the prosecution to give the jury evidence which he shouldn’t, that could provide you with the basis for an appeal. Also, if the judge’s guidance to the jury was wrong, mistaken, unfair or biased, that too is something that can be appealed. Finally, a fresh piece of evidence may have emerged after your trial, which casts doubt on  the safety of your conviction – if you, we can ask the Court of Appeal to consider whether you should have a fresh trial.

Just because you may have pleaded guilty does not automatically mean that you can’t appeal against your conviction. You may have pleaded guilty by mistake to an offence that doesn’t exist; or the indictment you faced was wrongly drafted; or you received the wrong legal advice; or your previous lawyers failed to apply to have the prosecution case thrown out against you, as an abuse of the court’s process. We will look carefully at all of the circumstances and give you honest and independent advice. We will liaise with your previous lawyers and ensure that we have an accurate understanding of what happened and what might have gone wrong.

If your case is being considered by the Criminal Cases Review Commission (or should be), we can liaise with the Commissioners directly to ensure that they have all of the relevant information and make representations to them on your behalf.

The ranges of appropriate sentences for most offences, are now set out in ’sentencing guidelines’ created by the Sentencing Council. The guidelines are freely available on the Sentencing Council website. However, even though the guidelines are clear, judges can sometimes make mistakes; misapply the guidelines; put your offending in the wrong category; over emphasise a factor that increased your sentence; or fail to adequately reflect in the sentence, your mitigation (ie. your lack of previous similar convictions; a significant delay between the offence being committed and you being sentenced; a serious medical condition or carer responsibilities; or positive steps taken by you to change you behaviour since the offence was committed).

It is only if your sentence was ‘manifestly excessive’ (ie. outside the range of appropriate, available sentences) that the Court of Appeal will interfere and consider reducing the sentence, or perhaps replacing it with a suspended sentence.

Not one sentence is the same as another because each case will have its own individual facts and each person being sentenced is different. We will provide you with advice tailored to your case and to your particular circumstances.

If you have been convicted of a crime, the court can be invited by the prosecution to find that you have made a ‘benefit’ from your crime. If the court thinks you have made a benefit, the court will decide the ‘value’ of the benefit and then look at your assets and decide if you can pay back the value of the benefit or a proportion of it. If the court finds that you have made a benefit and you have hidden it, the court can order you to pay it back in full even if you have no visible assets. If you have been made the subject of a confiscation order and you don’t pay it back within 3 months, you can be made to serve a sentence of imprisonment just for not paying the order, and on top of any other sentence you might have received. Confiscation orders must be proportionate and fair in order to be legal; they cannot be imposed as an extra punishment (like a fine); and their purpose is simply to deprive a convicted person of the benefit he or she has made from their offending – no more and no less. Confiscation proceedings can be very complicated and can cause a great deal of anxiety. The confiscation regime can seem very unfair to those not familiar with the law. However, judges frequently make mistakes when imposing confiscation orders, and we have a specific team which will methodically work through the findings made by the court and explore any potential grounds of appeal.

You may not have been convicted of an offence but nonetheless have been affected by a confiscation order made against someone else (such as a spouse with whom you jointly own a house). If so, you are a ‘third party’ who also has the right to appeal an unfairly made confiscation order (even if the person against whom the order was made, is not appealing).

The court has the power in certain cases to order disqualification from driving; disqualification from being a director of a company; and disqualifications or limitations from a variety of other activities. These orders can have a devastating effect on employment and livelihoods.

Sometimes, disqualification orders are made when there is no power to do so. Sometimes, disqualification orders are made without considering reasons why they shouldn’t. We will leave no stone unturned in seeking to find any grounds for challenging a disqualification order that should not have been made.

We try to make our fees are transparent as possible. For the drafting of the advice and grounds of appeal and any other documents up to the hearing before the Full Court, the costs are:

Funding

We try to make our fees as transparent as possible.

We work closely with Independent Counsel to provide you with our opinion on your appeal. The costs listed below include fees for the legal opinion from a Barrister.

Appeal against conviction

  • Case where there are up to 1000 pages to consider –
    £5000 plus VAT plus the costs of obtaining any transcripts
  • Cases with over 1000 pages – we will agree a fee tailored to the case

Appeal against sentence

  • Case where there are up to 1000 pages to consider –
    £3000 plus VAT plus the costs of obtaining any transcripts
  • Cases with over 1000 pages – we will agree a fee tailored to the case

If permission to appeal has not been given and you decide not to renew your application to the full Court, there will be no more costs. If you are given permission to appeal or you decide to renew the application, the costs of the hearing itself will be.

Appeal against conviction

  • Hearings listed for 1-2 hours – £2000 plus VAT
  • Hearings listed more than 2 hours – we will agree a fee tailored to the case

MEET YOUR BARRISTER

TOM SCHOFIELD

‘Fiercely independent; highly motivated and professional; and with a single-minded approach to his clients’ interests’, Tom is considered a persuasive and formidable advocate by his clients and peers alike.

Appeal against sentence

  • Hearings listed for 1-2 hours – £1500 plus VAT
  • Hearings listed for more than 2 hours (which are very rare indeed) – we will agree a fee tailored to the case

If you would like us to instruct Queens Counsel to advise and act on your behalf, we will agree a fee tailored to the case. You may be covered by insurance, depending on the terms of the policy. We will help you check if you are covered.

Need a second opinion? Call our criminal appeals team today.

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enquiries@askewslegal.co
Mon - Fri 09:00-17:00