Time for application for permission to appeal
On 25 October the Privy Council delivered a judgment in the case of Carlos Hamilton v The Queen (2012) UKPC 37.
Before that judgment was delivered, the Board provided guidelines upon the application of Rule 11(2) of the Privy Council Rules which requires an application for permission to appeal to be filed within 56 days from the date of the Order or decision of the Court below or the date of the Court below refusing permission to appeal (if later) (the "56 day Rule").
The guidance concerned the JCPC's approach to late permission applications and criminal appeals from Caribbean jurisdictions and on minimising delay in filing such applications.
- The JCPC have no intention of departing from the 56 day Rule. In cases where the Respondent objects to the lateness of an application for permission, as a general rule, the longer the delay, the more convincing and weighty the Appellant's explanation of the delay will need to be. The circumstances that contribute to the problem of delay in criminal appeals from the Caribbean are exceptional.
- Weight will always be given to the merits of the Appeal and the severity of the sentence. The stronger the case appears to be that the Appellant may have suffered a serious miscarriage of justice, the less likely it will be that the application for permission will be rejected because it is late.
- The best way of reducing the opportunity for delay lies in the early exchange of information. The following steps can and should be taken to minimise the risk of unreasonable delay:
- the prosecuting authorities should be notified as soon as a prisoner has indicated an intention to apply for permission to appeal
- a copy of the notification should be given to the JCPC Registrar when the application for permission is filed
- those who normally act as JCPC agents for the State concerned should be informed at the outset.
Before issuing the guidelines, Lord Hope expressed the sympathy of all members of the JCPC for the devastation and loss of life caused by Hurricane Sandy.