Practice Directions and Standing Orders Applicable to Civil Appeals Contents


Form of petition

3.1  A petition for leave to appeal should be produced on A4 paper, securely bound on the left, using both sides of the paper. The petition should set out briefly the facts and points of law; and conclude with a summary of the reasons why leave should be granted[24]. Petitions which are not legible or which are not produced in the required form are not accepted. A petition should not contain annexes or appendices. Parties may consult the Judicial Office at any stage of preparation of the petition, and may submit petitions in draft for approval.

3.2  Supporting documents other than those set out in direction 4.2 are not normally accepted.

3.3  Amendments to petitions and the lodging of supplementary petitions are allowed only in exceptional circumstances. The Head of the Judicial Office may allow amendments to petitions and the lodging of supplementary petitions if he is satisfied that this will assist the Appeal Committee and will not unfairly prejudice the respondents or cause undue delay. Any such amendments and supplementary petitions must be served on the respondents (see direction 3.12).

3.4  If a petition for leave to appeal

(a)   asks the House to depart from one of its own decisions;

(b)   raises issues relating to the Human Rights Act 1998; or

(c)   seeks a reference to the Court of Justice of the European Communities,

the point should be stated clearly in the petition.

3.5  A petition for leave to appeal must be signed by the petitioners or their agents.

3.6  On the back of the petition for leave, below the certificate of service, there should be inserted the neutral citation of the judgment petitioned against, the references of any law report in the courts below, and subject matter catchwords for indexing (whether or not the case has been reported).

Case title

3.7  Petitions for leave to appeal to the House of Lords carry the same title as in the court below, except that the parties are described as petitioner(s) and respondent(s). For reference purposes, the names of parties to the original action who are not parties to the appeal should nevertheless be included in the title: their names should be enclosed in square brackets. The names of all parties should be given in the same sequence as in the title used in the court below.

3.8  Petitions in which trustees, executors etc. are parties are titled in the short form, for example Trustees of John Black's Charity (Respondents) v. White (Petitioner).

3.9  In any petition concerning minors or where in the court below the title used has been such as to conceal the identity of one or more parties to the action, this fact should be clearly drawn to the attention of the Judicial Office at the time the petition is lodged, so that the title adopted in the House of Lords can take account of the need for anonymity. Petitions involving minors are normally given a title in the form In re B (see also direction 9.9).

3.10  In case titles involving the Crown, the abbreviation "R" meaning "Regina" is used. "R" is always given first. So case titles using this abbreviation take the form R v Jones (Petitioner) or R v Jones (Respondent) (as the case may be) or R (on the application of Jones) (Petitioner) v Secretary of State for the Home Department (Respondent).

3.11  Apart from the above, Latin is not used in case titles.


3.12  A copy of the petition must be served on the respondents or their agents, either by delivery in person or by first class post, before it is lodged at the Judicial Office. A certificate of such service (noting the full name and address of the respondents or their agents) must be endorsed on the back of the original petition and signed[25].


3.13  Two top copies of the original petition must be lodged at the Judicial Office, together with a copy of the order appealed against and, if separate, a copy of the order of the court below refusing leave to appeal. If the substantive order appealed against is not immediately available, the petition should nevertheless be lodged within the required time limits, and the order lodged as soon as possible thereafter.

3.14  An agent who attends the Judicial Office to lodge a petition for leave to appeal or accompanying papers must be familiar with the subject matter of the petition.

3.15  A petition for leave to appeal is presented to the House and recorded in the House of Lords Business on the day it is lodged or on the next sitting day of the House.

Waiver of fees

3.16  Standing Order XIII provides that a fee is payable when a petition for leave to appeal is lodged. For the present level of fees, see Appendix C.

3.17  In circumstances where a petitioner would suffer financial hardship by the payment of fees to the House, the requirement to pay fees may be waived. Application should be made to the Judicial Office. In order to provide an objective test, and to keep in step with the courts below, the Judicial Office applies the provisions of the Civil Proceedings Fees Order 2004[26] to determine financial hardship for the purposes of Standing Order XIII. Waivers of fees are also granted to petitioners who have been granted a remission of fees in the court below.

The fee paid by a petitioner on a petition for leave to appeal is not refunded, even if the Appeal Committee dismiss the petition as inadmissible.

Appearance for respondents

3.18  Respondents or their agents should enter appearance to a petition for leave as soon as they have received service. The respondents or their agents enter appearance by informing the Judicial Office by post of their name and address or that of their firm and paying the prescribed fee. The fee is refunded if the petition is dismissed as inadmissible.

3.19  Respondents who do not intend to take part in the proceedings do not need to enter appearance, but the Judicial Office sends communications concerning a petition for leave to appeal only to those who have entered appearance.

3.20  An order for costs will not be made in favour of a respondent who has not entered appearance.

Interventions in petitions for leave to appeal

3.21  Save in exceptional circumstances, no application may be made to intervene in support of a petition for leave to appeal[27].

Communications by fax/e-mail

3.22  See direction 26.2.

24   For style see Appendix A, Forms 1, 2. Back

25   For style see Appendix A, Form 2. Back

26   SI 2004 No 3121. Back

27   For interventions in appeals, see direction 37.  Back

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