Appealing the decision

The general rule is that lower courts are only bound by the decisions of higher courts. So a High Court decision (the High Court will hear higher value commercial claims) will not bind other High Court judges. However, a High Court judge will be bound by a Court of Appeal or Supreme Court decision. The Court of Appeal is bound by other Court of Appeal decisions (unless there has been an error) and Supreme Court decisions. Rarely, the Supreme Court can depart from its own decisions.

A party wishing to appeal must first obtain permission to appeal. An application for permission to appeal from the decision of a High Court judge must be made at the hearing at which the decision to be appealed was made or to the Court of Appeal (in which case the party must ask for permission in their appeal notice). You usually have 21 days from the date of the decision being appealed to start your appeal. The parties cannot agree between themselves to extend this deadline (although an extension of time from the court can be sought).

The Court of Appeal will allow the appeal if the lower court was wrong in law, or on the facts or there was a serious procedural irregularity.

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