Radical shake-up proposed for civil appeals to Court of Appeal

02 June 2016

Over this last five years there has been a 59% increase in the workload of the Court of Appeal (Civil Division), resulting in a backlog of cases and considerably longer hear-by dates. Having commissioned and considered research the solution proposed unanimously by the appellate judiciary involves radical change to the routes of appeal, with amongst other things appeals from the County Court being directed to the High Court (as “next court up”), to the threshold for appeal, and to procedure.

The Civil Procedure Rules Committee has therefore published a consultation paper on certain proposed changes. Click here for a copy of the consultation paper.

Amongst the more significant changes sought are:

  • to increase the threshold for grant of permission to appeal to the Court of Appeal from “a real prospect of success” to “a substantial prospect of success” on appeal; and
  • to remove the right for a litigant to require a refusal of permission to appeal (or other application to the court) based on consideration of the documents to be reconsidered at a court hearing, and replace this with a discretion for the judge who considers whether permission to appeal (or other application) should be granted to decide to call the case in for an oral hearing if they think it appropriate to do so as a matter of case management.
    It is not proposed that the “real prospect of success” test for first appeals be replaced in relation to first appeals heard by courts and tribunals lower down in the civil justice system, merely for those from the High Court or first instance decisions of the Upper Tribunal, which shares a similar status.

In addition, there is a proposal to re-cast the principal Practice Direction governing the conduct of civil appeals in the Court of Appeal (PD 52C) to make it more user-friendly, and to prevent the Court from “drowning in paper”. The Court of Appeal and the Civil Procedure Rule Committee would welcome any comments about this as well.

Responses are required by 24th June 2016.

< Back to News