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The rarity of successful appeals

This month, the College’s column in the Law Institute Journal looks at success rates in criminal appeals. To view the column click here.

This analysis of the grounds for successful appeals offer some insights into whether there are systemic errors being made within the higher levels of the criminal justice system. The research found that unidentifiable errors were the most commonly occurring:
•    Manifestly inadequate sentences;
•    Manifestly excessive sentences;
•    Jury verdicts that are unreasonable or cannot be supported by the evidence

The research also found that the number of successful criminal appeals, compared to the number of trials and pleas conducted in the higher courts, was just under 3.2%.

This research supports the view that there are no widespread sources of systemic error operating in the higher criminal courts.