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Appeals against court decisions

This content applies to England & Wales

Asking for an order to be set aside or appealing against the decision.

In some cases where an unsatisfactory order has been made, it may be possible to apply for the order to be set aside, or to appeal against the judge's decision.

Setting aside the order

It may be possible to ask for the original order to be set aside and the case heard afresh if the judge has given an order in the absence of one of the parties. Decisions to set aside orders are at the judge's discretion and so there will normally need to be a good reason for non-attendance. Set aside can also be requested if the summons was not received or if there has been a failure to comply with the court rules. The applicant will have to show that s/he acted promptly after becoming aware of the possession order. See the page on Setting aside a possession order for more information.


Appeals against the decision of a district judge can be heard in the county court by the circuit judge. The judge must have made a legal error in deciding the case. Permission to appeal is usually required. Applications for permission can be made immediately at the end of the possession hearing, or to the county court within 21 days of the date of the possession order.

Appeals against the decision of a circuit judge are made to the High Court or the Court of Appeal, depending on the decision being appealed against. Appeals about the judge's interpretation of the facts will normally not be allowed: it is necessary to show that the judge has made a legal error. Applications must normally be made within 14 days of the judgment and, in most cases, it will be necessary to get permission from the court to make the appeal.

There is no right of appeal against a decision of an appellate court to give or refuse permission to appeal and the only remedy available in such cases is to apply for judicial review where exceptional circumstances warrant such application.

See the page on Appealing against a possession order for more details.

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