Criminal Appeal Act 1966

JurisdictionUK Non-devolved
Citation1966 c. 31


Criminal Appeal Act 1966

1966 CHAPTER 31

An Act to transfer the Court of Criminal Appeal's jurisdiction to hear appeals in criminal cases to the Court of Appeal; to amend the law relating to such appeals in England and Northern Ireland and appeals to the Courts-Martial Appeal Court; to amend the provisions of the Army Act 1955 and the Air Force Act 1955 relating to the powers of confirming officers; and for connected purposes.

[9th August 1966]

Be it enacted by the Queen's most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:—

S-1 Jurisdiction to hear criminal appeals.

1 Jurisdiction to hear criminal appeals.

(1) The jurisdiction exercisable before the commencement of this Act by the Court of Criminal Appeal shall, subject to the provisions of this section, be exercisable by the Court of Appeal and the Court of Criminal Appeal shall cease to exist.

(2) The Court of Appeal shall consist of two divisions, namely—

(a ) the civil division which shall, subject to rules of court under subsection (5) of this section, exercise the jurisdiction exercisable immediately before the commencement of this Act by the court, and

(b ) the criminal division which shall, subject to any such rules, exercise the jurisdiction transferred to the court by the foregoing subsection.

(3) Without prejudice to the power of the Lord Chancellor under section 7 of the 1925 Act to request judges of the High Court to sit as additional judges at sittings of the Court of Appeal, the Lord Chief Justice may, after consultation with the Master of the Rolls, at any time request the attendance of any judge of the Queen's Bench Division of the High Court to sit at sittings of the criminal division of the Court of Appeal as a member of the court, and—

(a ) any judge whose attendance is so requested shall attend accordingly; and

(b ) subsections (2) and (3) of that section (powers and duties of judges requested to sit under that section) shall apply in relation to a request under this subsection as they apply in relation to a request under that section.

The Master of the Rolls may exercise the power conferred on the Lord Chief Justice by this subsection if at any time the Lord Chief Justice is unable to exercise it himself or there is a vacancy in the office of Lord Chief Justice.

(4) Without prejudice to the foregoing provisions of this section, the powers exercisable immediately before the commencement of this Act by a judge of the Court of Criminal Appeal and any power exercisable by a judge of the Court of Appeal in connection with proceedings in or pending in the criminal division of the Court of Appeal may be exercised by any judge of the Queen's Bench Division of the High Court, whether or not he is for the time being entitled to sit at sittings of the criminal division.

(5) Rules of court may provide for the distribution of proceedings in the Court of Appeal between the civil and criminal divisions, but subject to any such rules the civil division shall exercise the whole of the jurisdiction of the court except any jurisdiction exercisable by the criminal division by virtue of subsection (2) of this section.

(6) In accordance with the foregoing provisions of this section—

(a ) any reference in any enactment or instrument passed or made before the commencement of this Act to the Court of Criminal Appeal, except where it occurs in a reference to a judge or the registrar of the Court of Criminal Appeal, shall, subject to rules of court under the last foregoing subsection, be construed as a reference to the criminal division of the Court of Appeal;

(b ) any reference in any such enactment or instrument to a judge of the Court of Criminal Appeal shall, subject to any such rules, be construed as a reference to a judge of the Court of Appeal or of the Queen's Bench Division of the High Court; and

(c ) any reference in any such enactment or instrument to the Court of Appeal or a judge thereof shall, subject to any such rules, be construed as a reference to the civil division of the Court of Appeal or, as the case may be, a judge entitled to sit as a judge of that division.

(7) Except as provided by the Administration of Justice Act 1960 , no appeal shall lie from any decision of the criminal division of the Court of Appeal.

(8) The Crown Cases Act 1848 is hereby repealed, but the repeal shall not affect the jurisdiction to order the issue of writs of venire de novo vested by virtue of section 2 of that Act and section 20(4) of the 1907 Act in the Court of Criminal Appeal, and that jurisdiction is transferred with the other jurisdiction of the court to the Court of Appeal by subsection (1) of this section.

S-2 Sittings and practice of Court of Appeal.

2 Sittings and practice of Court of Appeal.

(1) Any number of courts of either division of the Court of Appeal may sit at the same time.

(2) Section 68(1) of the 1925 Act (appeals to Court of Appeal against final orders or judgments to be heard by not less than three judges) shall apply to an appeal to the criminal division of the Court of Appeal as it applies to an appeal against a final order or judgment.

(3) No judge shall sit as a member of the criminal division of the Court of Appeal on the hearing of, or shall determine any application in proceedings incidental or preliminary to—

(a )an appeal against a conviction before him or a court of which he was a member or a sentence passed by him or such a court; or

(b ) an appeal from a judgment or order of that judge when sitting in the High Court or of a court of the High Court of which he was a member.

(4) Any judgment of a court of the criminal division of the Court of Appeal on any question shall, except where the judge presiding over the court states that in his opinion the question is one of law on which it is convenient that separate judgments should be pronounced by the members of the court, be pronounced by the judge presiding over the court or such other member of the court as he directs and, except as aforesaid, no judgment shall be separately pronounced on any question by any member of the court.

(5) Without prejudice to section 54 of the 1925 Act (regulation of vacation sittings by rules of court), rules of court shall provide for securing sittings of the criminal division of the Court of Appeal during vacation if necessary.

S-3 Functions and staff of registrar of criminal appeals.

3 Functions and staff of registrar of criminal appeals.

(1) There shall be a registrar of criminal appeals appointed by the Lord Chief Justice, and the Lord Chief Justice may appoint one or more assistant registrars of criminal appeals and one or more deputy assistant registrars of criminal appeals to assist the registrar in the exercise of his functions, but shall not appoint more than one assistant registrar or more than one deputy assistant registrar without the consent of the Lord Chancellor and the Treasury.

(2) Any functions exercisable immediately before the commencement of this Act by the registrar of the Court of Criminal Appeal in relation to proceedings in or pending in that court shall be exercisable in relation to proceedings in or pending in the criminal division of the Court of Appeal by the registrar of criminal appeals and accordingly references in any enactment or instrument passed or made before the commencement of this Act to the registrar of the Court of Criminal Appeal shall be construed as references to the registrar of criminal appeals.

(3) The 1925 Act shall have effect as if the registrar and any assistant registrar of criminal appeals were included in Part I of Schedule 3 to that Act (officers to whom special provisions as to appointment, retirement and pension apply).

(4) Without prejudice to the last foregoing subsection, the registrar, any assistant registrar and any deputy assistant registrar of criminal appeals shall be officers of the Supreme Court and, without prejudice to section 110 of the 1925 Act (attachment of officers for duties), shall be attached to the Court of Appeal.

(5) A person shall not be qualified to be appointed to an office specified in the following table unless he has one of the qualifications specified in relation to that office in that table.

Table

Office Qualification
Registrar of criminal appeals

A practising barrister or solicitor of not less than ten years' standing, or assistant or deputy assistant registrar of criminal appeals.

Assistant registrar of criminal appeals

A practising barrister or solicitor of not less than seven years' standing, or deputy assistant registrar of criminal appeals.

Deputy assistant registrar of criminal appeals

A barrister or solicitor of not less than five years' standing.

(6) Any person holding office as registrar, assistant registrar or deputy assistant registrar of the Court of Criminal Appeal immediately before the commencement of this Act shall be deemed to have been appointed registrar or, as the case may be, assistant registrar or deputy assistant registrar of criminal appeals under this section (whether or not he is qualified under the last foregoing subsection to be so appointed).

S-4 Powers of Court of Appeal on determination of criminal appeals.

4 Powers of Court of Appeal on determination of criminal appeals.

(1) Section 4(1) of the 1907 Act (which requires the Court of Criminal Appeal to allow an appeal, inter alia, if they think that the verdict of the jury should be set aside on the ground that it is unreasonable or cannot be supported having regard to the evidence or that on any ground there was a miscarriage of justice, subject, however, to a proviso that they may dismiss the appeal if they consider that no substantial miscarriage of...

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