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What Is Letter Patent Appeal?

The letter patent appeal is a remedy available to an aggrieved party if they are dissatisfied with the decision of the High Court. However, the Letter Patent Appeal Rules may vary from state to state.

Letter Patent Appeal

An appeal by a petitioner against a decision of a single judge to a different bench of the same court is known as Letter Patents Appeal (LPA). It was a solution proffered when institutions like the High Courts were first introduced in India in 1865.

The whole idea behind this remedy is the verdict of a single judge could go wrong due to manipulated facts as well as misinterpreted law. Hence this solution is made available in court to the petitioner to appeal against the verdict of the single judge of a high court. However, if this is not the choice of the petitioner, such a remedy would lie only in the Supreme Court.

Letter Patent Appeal is an option available to the petitioner before going to the Supreme Court. They have the choice to approach another bench constituted with more than one judge. It can either be an intra-court appeal in the High Court or an inter-court appeal in the Supreme Court but both have different rules in the context of LPA. 

The Time Limit for Appeal

If an appeal has to be filed in the High Court against the order of a single judge, it is known as an intra-court appeal. The time limit for such an appeal in an intra-court is a maximum of 30 days. On the other hand, if an appeal has to be filed before the Supreme Court against the order of the High Court, it is known as an inter-court appeal. The time limit for such an appeal is a maximum of 90 days.

Documents Required for Letter Patent Appeal

To file an appeal, the petitioner must undertake the court fees payment as stated in the schedule or the related information handbook. The paperwork for filing an appeal are as follows:

  • Copy of judgment and decree appealed from
  • Certificate copy granted by the High Court
  • Certificate copy of the order granting the said certificate
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NOTE: The process of filing writs may differ from state to state, therefore, it is advisable to check the letters patent rules of the respective High Courts.

Can an Appeal Can be Filed Against Any Judgment?

Generally, an appeal can be filed against any judgment, decree, or final order in a civil proceeding of a high court. Here are the key points to note:

Grounds for Appeal:

An appeal may be filed if the case involves a substantial question of law, and the high court certifies it as important. The appellant must prove that the interpretation of the constitution has been wrongly decided.

Certification by High Court:

The high court must certify the appeal for it to be filed. The certification is granted if the case involves a significant legal question.

Payment of Court Fees:

The appellant is required to pay court fees as per the schedule table or rule book.

Documents Required for Filing an Appeal:

The appeal should be accompanied by essential documents, including:

  • Certified copy of the judgment and decree appealed from.
  • Certified copy of the certificate granted by the High Court.
  • Certified copy of the order granting the said certificate.

Certificate of Appeal:

While traditionally a certificate of appeal is required, in certain situations, a letter patent appeal against the judgment of the court can be filed without the certificate.

Time Limit for Filing an Appeal:

The filing of an appeal usually has a time limit, typically 90 or 30 days, depending on the court. It’s essential to check the specific rules and procedures in the Letters Patent Rules of the concerned High Court or the Supreme Court.

Check State-Specific Procedures:

The procedure for writs and appeals can be unique to each state. It is advisable to refer to the Letters Patent Rules for accurate and state-specific information.


Legal Provisions Involved in Letters Patent Appeal

The provisions of law relevant to Letter Patent Appeals (LPA) include Article 226 and Article 227 of the Indian Constitution. These articles empower the High Courts with specific powers for issuing writs and exercising superintendence over all other courts and tribunals. 

Here are the key provisions:

Article 226 – Power of High Court to issue certain writs:

Article 226 grants every High Court the power to issue writs, orders, or directions to any person or authority, including the government, for the enforcement of fundamental rights (conferred by Part III of the Constitution) and for any other purpose.

Scope of Article 226:

The power vested in Article 226 allows the High Court to issue writs not only for the enforcement of fundamental rights but also for various other purposes as deemed fit by the court.

Article 227 – Power of Superintendence over all courts by the High Court:

Article 227 confers upon the High Court the power of superintendence over all other courts and tribunals within its jurisdiction.

High Court’s Authority under Article 227:

The High Court, under Article 227, has the authority to:

  • Call for returns from other courts.
  • Make and issue general rules.
  • Prescribe forms for regulating the practice and proceedings of other courts.
  • Prescribe forms for keeping books, entries, and accounts by the officers of other courts.

Exceptions to Letter Patent Appeal

Arbitration Act: LPA is not maintainable

It has been observed that an application under Section 8 of the Act is an application under Part I of the Arbitration & Conciliation Act of 1996. This means that an appeal from an order issued under Section 8 of the Act would be barred under Section 37 of the Arbitration & Conciliation Act. As a result, it was determined that the Letters Patent Appeal is not maintainable in the case of an order issued under Section 8 of the Act.

Criminal Proceedings: LPA is not maintainable

Letter Patent Appeal is not maintainable under criminal proceedings. An appeal in the High Court to the division bench is not arguable or maintainable in any order dictated by the single bench judge in the criminal proceedings. 


The High Courts and the Supreme Court both give a choice of appeal to the litigant in a letter patent appeal. On the off chance that one cannot comply with the request of the courts, they can apply for this appeal. Moreover, different law provisions manage letter patent appeals differently. 

Get in touch with experts at Vakilsearch to understand how Letter Patents Appeal can help you

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