The Court of Appeal was established by the Court of Appeal Act, 2014 on 28th October 2014, taking on the appellate jurisdiction of the Supreme Court (save for certain ‘leapfrog Appeals’) and replacing the Court of Criminal Appeal.
The Court of Appeal hears all appeals by convicted persons against convictions or the severity of sentences given by the Circuit Criminal Court, the Central Criminal Court (High Court) and the Special Criminal Court. In the case of an alleged miscarriage of justice, an appeal by the convicted person can be lodged under section 2 of the Criminal Procedure Act 1993. The Court also hears appeals by the DPP against the alleged leniency of a sentence, a decision not to order a retrial, and on a point of law.
The Court of Appeal is composed of a President and nine ordinary judges. The Chief Justice and the President of the High Court are also judges of the Court of Appeal. The Court sits in three judge divisions, however some pre-hearing and procedural applications may be heard by a judge sitting alone.
Appellants may apply to the Court for Criminal Legal Aid.
An Appeal to the Court of Appeal proceeds, following the filing of grounds of appeal within the time period permitted, on a transcript of the trial hearing, and submissions made by the Appellant and the DPP. The Appeal is not a re-hearing of the case, and it does not depend upon witness evidence. While the Appellant is entitled to be present, there is no requirement that they are.
One decision is given by the Court, which may be reserved. The decision of the Court of Appeal is final unless the Supreme Court permits an appeal under Article 34.5.3 of the Constitution.
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