Appeal against conviction from the Local Court

By National Criminal Lawyers

The decision of a Magistrate who convicts you in the Local Court may be the subject of an appeal to the District Court. An appeal may be commenced both in relation to the final judgment of the Magistrate and any order made by the Magistrate during the proceedings.

You do not have the right to appeal a conviction if you were absent when the case was heard, or if you pleaded guilty. For more information on what options are available to you see our exclusive article on Severity Appeals.

What evidence is considered?

The judge who hears your appeal will not start the case from scratch – they will be going off the transcript of the original case, heard before the trial judge. This means you will need leave of the court to bring in any new evidence.

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How long do I have to appeal the decision of the Magistrate?

An Appeal against the decision of a Magistrate in the Local Court criminal proceedings must be commenced within 28 days of that decision. The appeal is then statute barred which means that after 3 months you will need to show there are special circumstances to allow an appeal to be made. Leave to appeal after three months will only be granted if it would prevent a ‘substantial injustice’ from occurring.

What results can my appeal achieve?

The appeal involves a rehearing of the original case on the material and evidence that were before the Magistrate. It is necessary for you to show some error by the Magistrate. Once an error is established, the Judge can make any order that the Magistrate could have made including upholding the appeal or dismissing the appeal.

Is my appeal before a Judge in Court?

Yes, a Judge of the District Court will hear the appeal.

How do I commence an appeal?

An appeal is commenced by the appellant (convicted person) filing a serving an appeal notice.

What will my appeal cost?

Conviction appeals are not inexpensive. There is a filing/hearing fee for an individual to commence the appeal plus legal costs. To discuss your options in a free consultation with National Criminal Lawyers see

Relevant law

The principal Act that govern criminal appeals in NSW is the Crimes (Appeal and Review) Act 2001 (NSW) (CARA).

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If you have a matter wherein you have been convicted in the Local Court and would like to appeal contact our Team at National Criminal Lawyers. We are well versed and specialists in obtaining favorable outcomes. Please contact our office on 02 9893 1889 or visit for more information about your options.

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