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District Court - Appeals to the Circuit Court


Information on lodging an appeal against the outcome of a court case.

Related link
District Court offices
Circuit Court Offices

How to lodge an appeal

An appeal should be lodged in the relevant District Court office within 14 days of the court order.

The defendant must serve a notice of appeal on

  1. the complainant / prosecutor
  2. the Chief Clerk of the District Court

 

If the appellant wants to appeal a case and is outside the 14 day time limit he or she can apply to the District Court for an Extension of Time to appeal.

Penalties imposed in the District Court

If an appeal is lodged on time - that is within the 14 day period - then the penalties imposed in the District Court cannot be enforced until the outcome of the appeal is known.

However, if the appellant is disqualified from driving the appeal must be lodged within 14 days from the date of the District Court Order if the disqualification order is not to take effect.

If an appeal is lodged out of time the appellant remains disqualified from driving pending the appeal outcome.

14 day limit

There are 14 days from the date of the conviction in which to lodge a notice of appeal.

The forms needed to lodge an appeal are available from the court office.

If you do not have a solicitor, the court office will provide help, if needed, in completing the forms.

If a request is made to send the papers out by post this can be done and a copy of a guide to appeal procedures will accompany the forms.

The notice of appeal is in triplicate - a copy for you, one for the court records and one for service on (or presentation to) the complainant or prosecutor: a statutory declaration to this effect must be signed and witnessed by a judge, peace commissioner or a commissioner for oaths.

If an appeal recognisance is set, it too must be entered into within that 14 day limit, and acknowledged by a District Court judge or a peace commissioner.

If no recognisance is set, an application must be made by the defendant to a District Court judge to consider the matter.

If the 14 day time limit for appeal has expired an application to extend the time in which to appeal may be made.

This application must be made before a District Court judge on 48 hours notice to the complainant and the court.

You would be informed to return to the office when such application has been heard where assistance to proceed with the appeal will be given. If this application is refused it is open to you to appeal such refusal.

All appeal papers when completed must be lodged in the office within the 14 day limit, or within the time allowed on extension if such extension is granted.

The papers should contain information on the particular case being appealed and be signed and dated.

If the case is a civil matter dealt with in any of the above mentioned courts you will be informed that there is stamp duty to be paid. Other than this the appeal will proceed in the same way as above.

Recognisance

A recognisance is a guarantee or a promise that an individual will turn up in court for the prosecution of any case concerning him or her.

A recognisance can be set in the defendant's or appellant's own bond, and is simply a matter of signing a recognisance form binding oneself in a certain amount of money to process either the appeal or to turn up in either the District or Circuit Court for the duration of any case or trial until same is finally disposed of by the court.

If the recognisance involves an independent surety or sureties, such surety must first be approved by a District Court judge before the recognisance may be entered into.

If a cash lodgement is involved the amount due may be lodged in the office where one is given a receipt which they can take to the court in order for the relevant recognisance form to be entered into and acknowledged.

With regards to appeals, you will be informed that the recognisance puts a stay on the order that is the subject of an appeal, if lodged within the 14 day limit.

All recognisances must be acknowledged by either a judge of the District Court or a Peace Commissioner.

When considering recognisances, the judge has 4 options, ie;

  • Dispense with any recognisance (only in the case of an appeal)
  • Fix recognisance in the appellant's, defendant's or accused's own bond
  • Fix the appellant's, defendant's or accused's own bond together with an independent surety or sureties
  • Fix the appellant's, defendants or accused's own bond together with a cash lodgement

 

A surety is really a guarantor, promising that the first named party in the recognisance will prosecute his or her case or appeal.

The processing of appeals is done in accordance with the District Court Rules,1997 and part IV of these rules applies directly to the procedures involved

If a recognisance is set in the defendants own bond they simply have to sign a recognisance form binding themselves in a certain amount to process the appeal.

If the recognisance involves an independent surety, this surety must first be approved by a District Court Judge before the recognisance may be entered into.

If a cash lodgement is involved the amount due should be lodged in order for the relevant recognisance form to be entered into and acknowledged. Defendants are also informed that this recognisance puts a stay on the order that they are appealing, if lodged within the 14 day limit.

This recognisance must be acknowledged by either a Judge of the District Court or a Peace Commissioner.

A copy of the notice of appeal must be served on the complainant and a statutory declaration to this effect must be signed and witnessed by a judge or Peace Commissioner or Commissioner for Oaths.

The appeal process

The appeal papers are forwarded by the District Court office to the Circuit Court  Office.

Cases are allocated the next available court date. Appeals from the Children Court will be listed in camera.

As a courtesy the appellants are notified in writing of their court date. The court office should be notified immediately of any change of address.

When the appeal has finished, the District Court is notified of the result / outcome of the case.

Where applicable the Motor Taxation Office is notified of results regarding disqualifications and endorsements.

Bail money lodged is automatically paid out, provided the appellant has attended each day to prosecute his or her appeal in accordance with his or her recognisance.

The decision of the appeal court is final, subject to applications or prerogative writs.

 






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