Appeals—re-opening a final determination
Appeals—re-opening a final determination

The following Dispute Resolution guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Appeals—re-opening a final determination
  • Basis of the right to re-open a final determination of an appeal
  • Pre-October 2012 provisions governing reopened appeals
  • Principles to be applied when considering an application to re-open a final determination
  • Re-opening final determinations—the court’s approach
  • How to re-open a final determination of an appeal/application for permission to appeal

Basis of the right to re-open a final determination of an appeal

The jurisdiction to re-open a final decision was established in Taylor v Lawrence. There, it was held that the Court of Appeal possesses a residual jurisdiction 'to avoid real injustice in exceptional circumstances'.

The CPR provides that the Court of Appeal or High Court will not re-open a final determination of any appeal, including an application for permission to appeal, unless:

  1. it is necessary so as to avoid real injustice

  2. the circumstances are exceptional and make it appropriate to do so, and

  3. there is no alternative effective remedy

These three requirements under CPR 52.30 are cumulative (Bishop).

This rule and the associated Practice Direction provisions do not apply to appeals to the County Court (CPR 52.30(3)). As an example of the application of the principle of finality in section 54(4) of the Access to Justice Act 1999 in such cases, see further News Analysis: High Court cannot overturn lower courts' refusal to grant permission to appeal (Masters Legal Costs Services LLP v Tae Hyeon Cho).

The court's jurisdiction under CPR 52.30 is a tightly constrained jurisdiction, rightly described as exceptional (R (on the application of Goring-on-Thames Parish Council) v South Oxfordshire District Council). In the words of the Court of Appeal in this case, it ‘will be engaged only where some