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If you have been convicted of a criminal or traffic offence the Local Court, and you are not happy with the result, you have the right to appeal the Magistrate’s decision to the District Court.




In short, there are many orders that you might wish to challenge by appealing to a higher court for fair judgement, but before you make any decision you should always seek legal advice or hire an experienced criminal lawyer or traffic lawyer who can help you understand all the pros and cons.


An appellant (the person wanting to appeal their case) has the right to appeal against a large array of decisions that were made by the Local Court. However, before any decision to appeal is made, be sure to always seek legal advice from a qualified criminal lawyer or traffic lawyer, who will be able to assist you with understanding the strength of your prospective appeal.


Appeals can be lodge in various instances, including matters such as:


  1. If a Magistrate in the Local Court found the appellant guilty of an offence, and they feel that contrary to the Magistrate’s findings, they are not guilty; or


  1. The appellate was given a penalty by the Local Court, and feels it is too harsh (in the District Court, this is known as a ‘severity appeal’); or


  1. The Local Court Magistrate has disqualified the appellate from driving for what they believe is an excessive period of time, or alternatively, that the appellant feels their licence should not have been disqualified in the first place; or


  1. A Local Court Magistrate refused an application to annul a conviction entered in the appellant’s absence; or


  1. If an appellant feels that an AVO (Apprehended Violence Order) was not required in their case and was still made against them; or


  1. An application for an Apprehended Violence Order (AVO) was made and it was refused or rejected; or


  1. The appellant is a party to an Apprehended Violence Order (AVO) which has been varied or revoked by the Local Court, or the Local Court refused to vary or revoke an AVO.




An appeal can be lodged at any Local Court. There is a special form called a Notice of Appeal available at the Local Court registry. You should go and explain to the Local Court registry that you would like to appeal the decision that was made in your matter. From here, the Local Court will be able to assist you with completing a Notice of Appeal document.


You will be required to pay a fee for the lodging of the Appeal. This fee can be postponed or waived upon request to the registrar if you are a low-income earner, however you will have to provide proof of your lack of finances to the registry. It is a good idea to take all necessary documents with you when you lodge your Appeal, if you are seeking to postpone of waive the filing fee.


When should the appeal be lodged?


When you are given an order from the Local Court that you wish to appeal, you are given 28 days from the date of receiving that order to lodge an Appeal. It is always a good idea to lodge an Appeal as soon as a decision is made by the Local Court, although this is not strictly necessary, given that the Appeal is lodged within the 28 day period.


As stated earlier, it is a good idea to seek legal advice from a Sydney criminal lawyer or Sydney traffic lawyer who will be able to assist you with your appeal, and indicate your best prospects of success.


Delayed Appeals


If you miss the 28 day time period that is given to lodge an Appeal, you will need to lodge another form called an Application for Leave to Appeal, and explain to the Court (or registry) why you did not lodge an appeal within the prescribed time frame. If your application is successful, you will be given 3 months from the date of your conviction in the Local Court to file an Appeal.  


If you do not file an appeal some time within the granted 3 month period from the date of the order that was made by the Local Court, you will be “out of time” to lodge an appeal, and will not able to appeal your decision at all. Therefore, it is essential that you make sure that you do not run out of time if you are considering the lodgment of an appeal.




If you are facing any criminal law charges or traffic law charges that you are considering to appeal and need help, give us a call at Sydney Criminal Defence Lawyers. We will connect you with a District Court Appeal lawyer in Sydney who can walk you through the basics of your charges and learn more about your case. From there, we will identify and build the best defence possible for your situation. To schedule a consultation today, give us a call on (02) 8059 7121.