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Appeals from Beyond the Grave

Appeals from Beyond the Grave

The Court of Appeal has handed down judgment in the case of R v Max Clifford, the disgraced celebrity PR guru who was convicted in 2014 of a number of sexual offences and sentenced to 8 years imprisonment.

Clifford died in 2017, so why did the appeal proceed?

Section 44A of The Criminal Appeal Act 1968 provides that:

'...any relevant appeal which might have been begun by him had he remained alive may be begun by a person approved by the Court of Appeal ...'

Approval for the purposes of this section may only be given to:

(a) the widow or widower or surviving civil partner of the dead person;

(b) a person who is the personal representative (within the meaning of section 55(1)(xi) of the Administration of Estates Act 1925) of the dead person; or

(c) any other person appearing to the Court of Appeal to have, by reason of a family or similar relationship with the dead person, a substantial financial or other interest in the determination of a relevant appeal relating to him.

In Clifford's case, the Court of Appeal consented to his daughter pursuing an appeal that was commenced before his death.

Was there any point?

An appeal, notwithstanding death, can potentially assist with two main objectives:

(a) Restoration of a person's good character, and

(b) to assist in resisting civil claims.

There have been other appeals lodged to clear the name of someone long deceased, the most notable concerning Derek Bentley who was hanged for the murder of a policeman. After many different court challenges, he was finally granted a Royal Pardon.

An attempt to clear the name of infamous murderer Dr Crippen hit a stumbling block in 2009 when the Criminal Cases Appeal Commission refused to refer the case to the Court of Appeal.

The Criminal Cases Review Commission decided James Crippen was not a "properly interested person" in the case and there was no real possibility the Court of Appeal would hear it.

"Without an individual who has a real possibility of being approved by the Court of Appeal, there could be no court hearing and so no purpose would be served by the commission carrying out a review of the case," said a CCRC spokesman.

Did the Clifford appeal succeed?

It didn’t, the court refused leave.

How We Can Assist

We are experts in criminal law, if you are concerned about a conviction or sentence, even if that is in relation to a person who is no longer alive, do not hesitate to contact us so that we can discuss your options.