Appeals from the local court based on Severity

By National Criminal Lawyers


Have you been recently charged and convicted in the Local Court for a criminal or traffic related matter and thought it was too harsh or excessive?

National Criminal Lawyers specialises in appeals to the District Court from the Local Court. These appeals are called “Severity Appeals”.

Bail if sentenced to imprisonment

If you received a sentence of imprisonment, including home detention, you may apply to be released on bail until you appear at the District Court. You can make an application for bail at the Local Court on the same date as you are sentenced and lodge your appeal or you can make it later at the gaol.

What evidence is considered?

The judge who hears your appeal will not start the case from scratch – they will be going off the a sentencing bundle which will be handed up.

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

An Appeal against the severity of a 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 happens to the penalty while appealing

If you are appealing against an order made in a criminal matter the penalty is usually stayed (suspended) once the appeal is lodged. This only happens if you lodge your appeal within 28 days.

Is my appeal before a Judge in Court? 

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

What results can my appeal achieve? 

If the appeal is upheld this means you are likely to be sentence to a lesser sentence. That is to say the judge might decide that a less severe punishment is appropriate. The Judge also can also increase a sentence but not before issuing a warning. If a warning is issued your legal team would usually withdraw the severity appeal.

In an appeal against an AVO the judge may decide that an AVO is not necessary or that the conditions should be changed.

What happens if you are unsuccessful in the District Court?

The orders made by the Local Court will take effect. If you received a sentence of imprisonment from the Local Court and were given bail you will be taken into custody.

What happens at the hearing of the appeal?

A sentence bundle will be handed up to the Judge and a solicitor from the DPP represents the police. The judge will read the Local Court papers. You can give evidence on a severity appeal. You may wish to give evidence yourself or call someone to give evidence about you. You may wish to give the judge some documents about you. These may include medical certificates if you have any health issues; a report from a rehabilitation center or counselor if you have been participating in drug or alcohol rehabilitation; a psychological or psychiatric report if that is relevant or character references.

How do I commence an appeal? 

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

What will my appeal cost?

Severity 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 and contact our office.

We have fixed fee options available.

Relevant law 

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

Our Senior Lawyer Guarantees

If you have a matter wherein you have been sentenced 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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