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Warning for barristers regarding criminal appeals

12th Sep 2016

Criminal barristers were warned  last week to ensure that appeals have a factual basis when representing convicted defendants. If they do not make sure that this is the case, the barristers risk referral to their regulator.

Under guidance which has been published by the Bar Council’s Ethics Committee, barristers who are not trial counsel have been told to seek both the advice of legal representatives and “objective, independent evidence” before representing defendants in the Criminal Division of the Court of Appeal.

The new measures are outlined in ‘Criminal appeals – duties to the court to make enquiries’, intended to inform barristers in regards to the guidelines.

Andrew Walker QC, the chairman of the committee, told the Law Society Gazette that “There is now a positive duty to check the basic facts in all cases where a new legal team is instructed for an appeal, to make sure that criminal appeals are not being brought on an incorrect basis.”

“The Court of Appeal is clearly concerned that in some cases, appeals are being advanced on grounds which turn out to be factually wrong,” he continued to say.

In extreme cases, Walker went on to note, sanctions could even include referral to regulator the Bar Standards Board.