An appeal may be filed by an accused person or the prosecution to reverse one or more of the following types of court decisions:
After you have filed an appeal, the court will ask you to attend a hearing to present your case.
Both the accused and the prosecution can file an appeal. Victims and other people not involved in the court case cannot appeal.
If you are prosecutor in a private prosecution, you may not appeal against the court's decision unless you have obtained permission from the Attorney-General to do so.
If you are the defendant in a private prosecution, you can appeal against the court's decision.
The party who files an appeal is known as the appellant.
You can only appeal against a decision made by the court.
If you pleaded guilty, you cannot appeal against your conviction. You can only appeal against your sentence or any other order made by the court.
If you did not plead guilty, you can appeal against your conviction, sentence and court order, or any combination of these.
This table summarises what you can appeal against in each scenario:
|If you...||What you can appeal against|
|Pleaded guilty||Sentence, court order, or both.|
|Claimed trial (did not plead guilty)||Conviction, sentence, court order or any combination of these.|
You should have reasons to support why you are dissatisfied with the court's decision.
For example, if you are appealing against your conviction, your appeal should be based on one or more of the following:
If you are appealing against your sentence, you need to show that the punishment is unfair or unduly harsh in the circumstances of the case, for example, when compared to the harm caused by the offence or any previous case involving similar facts and circumstances.
The court may reject your appeal without a hearing if you do not provide any reasons which could raise a reasonable doubt as to the correctness of the court's decision. (1)
To start the appeal process, you must file a Notice of Appeal within 14 days of a sentence or order.
This includes the weekends, but excludes the day on which the sentence was made.
If the date of your sentence or order is 1 September, you must file your appeal by 15 September.
Note: If you were charged before 2 Jan 2011, the deadline is 10 days.
The General Division of the High Court will hear appeals against decisions made by the State Courts (Magistrate’s Court or District Court). Find out how to appeal against a decision of the State Courts.
The Court of Appeal will hear appeals against decisions made by the General Division of the High Court (excluding the appeals it handles). Find out how to appeal against a decision of the High Court.
These are the possible outcomes if you appeal:
|Judge's decision||What it means|
|Appeal is allowed||You get some or all of the changes you asked for. For example, your conviction is set aside, the sentence is reduced or changed, or the court order is reversed or altered.|
|Appeal is dismissed||There are no changes to the original court's decision.|
|Enhancement in sentence||When you appeal against your sentence, the judge may decide to increase it.|
|Retrial or remitted to the original court||The case is sent back to the original court for a retrial, or for other reasons such as for further evidence to be recorded.|
The court's decision on appeal is final and cannot be further appealed against.
The prosecution can appeal against one or more of the following court decisions:
If the appeal is successful, one or more of the following may happen:
|Prosecution appeals against your...||If the appeal is allowed...|
|Acquittal||You will be convicted.|
|Sentence or court order||Your sentence or court order may be altered.|
In other instances, the appeal judge may dismiss the appeal or send the case back to the original court for a retrial or for other reasons, such as for further evidence to be recorded.
Refer to Chapter 7: Appeal of the Guidebook for Accused in Person (PDF, 362 KB).