Appeals - When You Can And When You Can't Have Another Bite Of The Cherry

Published date02 March 2022
Subject MatterLitigation, Mediation & Arbitration, Trials & Appeals & Compensation
Law FirmGiambrone & Partners
AuthorMr Khizar Arif

The appeals process exists for those who are unhappy with the outcome of a case. An appellant can apply to a higher, more authoritative, court to review the judgement of a lower court. Apart from the appeals process, a litigated claim cannot be brought again in another court.


Civil cases start in the County Court, High Court or, for employment cases, in the Employment Tribunal. Whether the case is started in the County Court or the High Court depends on the value of the claim. County Court decisions are appealed in the High Court, and employment Tribunal decisions are appealed in the Employment Appeal Tribunal. As a solely appellate court, the Court of Appeal hears appeals from the High Court, including both cases originating from the High Court and County Court, and from the Employment Appeal Tribunal. Lastly, Court of Appeal decisions are appealed in The Supreme Court which serves as the court of final appeal in the UK. In rare cases, High Court decisions can be appealed directly to The Supreme Court.

Grounds of Appeal

To appeal a decision, you must file with the court the grounds for your appeal. There are many grounds that could lead to an appeal. For example, if a judge fails to give adequate reasons for his decision, or if the judgement was founded on an error of law. Generally, an appeal court is very reluctant to intervene when an appellant is seeking to reverse a trial judge's finding of fact, and will only do so if the decision was so plainly wrong so as to be entirely unreasonable. Nonetheless, many kinds of judicial decisions can be overturned with the appeals process, including judgements, costs orders or even decisions refusing permission to appeal.

You should keep in mind there is a time limit for filing an appeal. This can be as little as 21 days depending on which court your case was initially heard.

If a claim is unsuccessful at a lower court or at an appeal court, it is generally not possible to bring the same claim in another court because of the doctrine of res judicata.

Res Judicata

Res judicata, Latin for 'a matter decided', is a legal principle that restricts the courses of action that can be pursued in cases that have previously been heard in a court or tribunal. This is to maintain the public policy of finality in litigation and to avoid wasted time and costs.

To establish a res judicata, the parties and action need to be identical to those of a previous case, and the previous decision must have been final and made by a...

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