A new Part 52 (Appeals) came into force on 3 October 2016 (affecting appeals issued on and after that date) but did not appear to be very well publicised. The rules relating to the destination of appeals have also been changed by an amendment to Volume 2 of the White Book at paragraphs 9A-897-905.7.
The most significant changes are:
1) The right to an oral hearing for permission to appeal if the initial application is unsuccessful has been removed.
2) Pt 52 has been rearranged so that many rules are now in a different and more logical order, despite the fact that 18 of the now 30 rules have not changed in substance.
3) Many appeals which formerly lay to the Court of Appeal now lie to the High Court with the distinction between interim and final decisions being removed.
Permission to appeal
The new rule 52.4 largely replicates the old rules (contained in 52.3(4A)-(5)) relating to permission to appeal. It adds a new rule that applications for permission to appeal to the County Court or the High Court will be determined on paper without a hearing. Exceptions to this are provided for.
The new rule 52.5 (for which there is no previous equivalent) requires applications for permission to appeal to the Court of Appeal to be determined on paper without a hearing. The judge determining the permission application on the papers has power to direct it be determined at an oral hearing and must do so if the judge is of the opinion that the matter cannot fairly be determined without a hearing.
Under the previous incarnation, there were four sections to Part 52:
I) General Rules about Appeals,
II) Special Provisions Applying to the Court of Appeal,
III) Provisions about Reopening Appeals, and
IV) Statutory rights of Appeal.
The divisions between these four sections were illogical and poorly drafted. The fact that the provisions relating to the different tests for appeals were not consolidated was particularly poor, especially as the number of litigants in person is rising.
The new Part 52 consists of 7 sections laid out in a much more user-friendly way:
I) Scope and Interpretation,
II) Permission to Appeal – General (including the tests for both first and second appeals),
III) Permission to Appeal – Judicial Review Appeals, Planning Statutory Review Appeals and Appeals from the EAT,
IV) Additional Rules (covering notices, time limits and transcripts),
V) Special Provisions Relating to the Court of Appeal
VI) Special Provisions relating to Statutory Appeals, and
VII) Re-Opening Final Appeals.
Destination of Appeals
The Access to Justice Act 1999 (Destination of Appeals) Order 2016, replacing the Access to Justice Act 1999 (Destination of Appeals) Order 2000 (SI 2000/1071), also came into force on 3 October. Appeals that would formerly have laid to the Court of Appeal now lie to the High Court, while the distinction between interim and final decisions in this context has been removed.
Appeals from District Judges will lie to Circuit Judges, and from Circuit Judges to the High Court, and from High Court officers and district judges to High Court judges. An exception to the above is that appeals from District Judges in non-insolvency company cases will lie direct to the High Court.
Second appeals will continue to lie only to the Court of Appeal.
These changes are welcomed as they simplify the procedure and the manner in which the rules can be read as well as streamlining the process such that the resources of the Court of Appeal can be more usefully applied elsewhere.
© Chambers of Lawrence Power