There are times when it might be necessary to appeal a court’s decision. If you find yourself in this position it can be a complex area unless you are familiar with the procedures. This should help you clearly understand the appeal process if you need to appeal a Royal Court decision.
A decision in the Royal Court is made by two Jurats and a Judge. The Judge decides all matters of law and the Jurats decide all matters of fact. If the Jurats cannot agree, the Judge has the deciding vote.
Once the decision is made, the losing party decides whether they wish to appeal that decision to the Court of Appeal. Subject to certain limited exceptions, the losing party can appeal the decision of the Royal Court without having to get permission from the court beforehand.
Timeframes for appealing
This doesn’t mean the losing party can appeal whenever they wish. Any party wishing to appeal must file a notice of appeal within 28 days from the date of the judgment or order. This notice is incredibly important and the other party or parties must be served with this notice has to be served by the Viscount personally. If the losing party fails to comply with these conditions they will have to apply to a single Judge of the Royal Court for permission to appeal.
Generally, if the delay is short and there’s a reasonable excuse, the judge will grant the extension.
However, in cases that are not so straight forward, the judge will have to consider whether justice requires him to allow an extension such as the prospects of success of the appeal and the prejudice to the other parties.
Within the notice, the person appealing (who is called the appellant), must identify the grounds of their appeal and the precise order they wish the Court of Appeal to make, which cannot be changed without the court’s permission.
Once the notice is served on the other party (or parties), the appellant then has seven days to apply for a date for the appeal hearing. This ensures appeals are heard within a timely fashion, which may be particularly important for a party who has, for example, been awarded damages.
What happens to the Royal Court decision when there is an appeal?
Importantly, the winning party can usually enforce the order given by the Royal Court even if there is an appeal outstanding. The general rule is the appellant remains bound by the decision of the Royal Court until, and if, the Court of Appeal decides to overturn the lower court’s decision. For example, if you have been awarded a sum of money by the Royal Court, you are entitled to be paid that money even if the losing party is appealing.
A losing party could only delay in paying that money if they apply to delay the enforcement of the Royal Court decision but appellants should be aware that a court is unlikely to agree to this except in special circumstances.
For more information on appealing a Royal Court judgment or order, including relevant grounds and which orders require permission before being appealed please contact me.