Book review: Criminal Appeals Handbook

Authors: Daniel Jones, Gregory Stewart, Joel Bennathan QC
Publisher: Bloomsbury Professional
ISBN: 9781780434636
Date: February 2015
​Price: £50.00

The Criminal Appeals Handbook provides excellent theoretical and practical assistance for all those involved in the criminal justice process, from criminal advocates to defendants. It follows the entire process, aiming to navigate the reader through the often complex field of criminal appeals. Presented in both an intelligent and practical way, the handbook offers a clear route to understanding and applying rules, along with critical legal analysis throughout.

It chronologically follows each stage of the criminal justice process, with each chapter divided into subsections. This provides rigorous and comprehensible guidance on topics which are often obscured by complexity. The lightweight book brings together different parts of the law in a user-friendly way. It combines knowledge, experience and advice, providing guidance for any lawyer or individual seeking to redress a miscarriage of justice on appeal. Each section is concluded with a summary of key points, a truly useful insight to the otherwise, potentially daunting, web of Court of Appeal procedure.

The handbook impressively chronicles all aspects of Court of Appeal history, constitution, jurisdiction, preparation, procedure, and presentation. It discusses appeal to the Supreme Court, and looks in detail at the make up, work and process affecting the Criminal Cases Review Commission. Application to the European Court features too.

It intelligibly lays out the regimes for public funding, guiding the reader through the process of application and directing them through the criteria. Obtaining access to sources of pro bono and charitable assistance is also covered.

The book concludes with three chapters dealing with the procedural framework for alternative appeals. This includes the circumstances under which an appeal against an interlocutory ruling may be brought, statutory prosecution rights of appeal and direction on the principles surrounding the trial of a defendant suffering from a physical or mental disability. These procedures have become highly relevant in modern times and the handbook’s clear and practical way of explaining the framework is invaluable.

Overall, the Criminal Appeals Handbook is a hugely impressive work, cramming all relevant Court of Appeal information into an easy to carry referencer. I, for one, will not be making my way to the High Court from now on without a copy.

Reviewer: Jeremy Dein QC, 25 Bedford Row

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