What to consider when making an application to appeal the decision of the Family Court.

Here’s what you should consider when making an application to appeal the decision of the Family Court.

1) Do you have grounds to appeal the decision of the Family Court? It is not sufficient to make an application on the basis you are unhappy with the decision of the Family Court, there would need to have been a serious mistake made by the Family Court which gave rise to the decision you are disputing i.e. a failure to apply the correct law, failure to comply with the correct legal procedure or an error of fact.

2) Are you within the time frame to appeal the decision of the Family Court? There are specific time frames to lodge an application for an appeal. You can apply out of time, but in limited circumstances with an extra hurdle to process your application, so you would do well to take action quickly. If the appeal is against a case management decision or interim care order, you have 7 days from the date of the decision to appeal. In the event the Judge has not set a time limit, you are to apply within 21 days of the decision.

3) Do you need to seek permission to appeal the decision of the Family Court? You will usually need to obtain permission to appeal the decision of a Judge of the High Court, a Circuit Judge or Recorder. You will not need to seek permission to appeal against a decision of a Lay Magistrates in the Family Court. You will need to seek permission to appeal if you did not do so during the hearing or if you did ask for permission but it was refused. Permission will only be given if there is a real prospect of you being successful in your application to appeal.

4) The costs to appeal can be expensive and should you be unsuccessful in your appeal, your opponent can seek a Cost Order against you to pay for their representation for the proceedings. If you are successful in your appeal, you may be able to obtain a Cost Order against your opponent.

5) You will ordinarily need to pay a court fee to make an application to appeal. Court fees may be subject to changes and the most current costs can be located on the following weblink https://www.gov.uk/court-fees-what-they-are

6) To make an application to appeal and to seek permission to make an application to appeal, you will need to complete form N161. The application will need to be supported by separate documents referred to as ‘Grounds to Appeal’ and ‘Skeleton Argument’.

Should you require legal advice on an application to appeal, you may contact Greens Solicitors on 0121 233 2042.