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Appeal from
Local Court
to the
District Court

Appealing from the Local Court to the District Court


If you feel the verdict from the local court was unjust or incorrect, you have the option to appeal to the District Court of NSW under section 11 of the Crimes (Appeals and Review) Act 2001 (NSW).

A successful appeal to the District Court can result in the local court Magistrate’s orders being set aside, resulting in either an acquittal by overturning the guilty verdict and dismissing the charge(s), or a reduced penalty, including a section 10 dismissal (non-conviction).

There are 3 types of Appeals to the District Court:

  1. Conviction appeal: challenging the local court Magistrate’s decision to find you guilty.

  2. Severity appeal: Contesting the severity of the sentence issued by the local court Magistrate.

  3. All grounds appeal: filing both a conviction appeal and a severity appeal.

The appeal process involves a reevaluation of all the evidence presented in the local court.

An appeal to the District Court does not aim to determine whether the Magistrate erred; instead, a District Court Judge independently reviews the evidence to reach a conclusion.

What is the time limit and process of lodging a District Court Appeal?

If you want to appeal the sentence imposed by the local court Magistrate, you have 28 days from the sentencing date to file a severity appeal.

If you wish to challenge the local court Magistrate’s guilty verdict, you also have 28 days from the sentencing date to file a conviction appeal.

Permission from the District Court is required for a conviction appeal if:

  • You were convicted in absentia by the local court due to non-appearance; or

  • You initially pleaded guilty in the local court but now wish to plead not guilty.

What happens if your 28 day period to lodge an Appeal expires?

If the 28-day period lapses without filing an appeal, you can still file within three months of the sentencing date, but you will need to apply for leave to appeal. This entails providing compelling reasons for the delay, typically via an affidavit.

If leave to appeal is granted, the District Court Judge may immediately proceed to hear the appeal or adjourn it to a suitable date.

Can you make a Bail Application on Appeal?

Regardless of whether it’s a severity appeal, conviction appeal, or all grounds appeal, you can request bail immediately after sentencing in the Local Court. This can be done by lodging an appeal in the local court registry on the same day as sentencing and then applying for appeals bail. Bail can also be sought in the District Court during the first court appearance for the appeal. The court may grant bail if there’s a reasonable chance of success on the appeal and if there's no unacceptable risk.

What are the possible outcomes of a District Court Appeal:

For Conviction Appeals The District Court Judge may:

  1. Remit the case back to the local court for reconsideration according to the District Court’s directives; or

  2. Overturn the guilty verdict, acquit you, and dismiss the charge(s); or

  3. Dismiss the appeal.

For Severity Appeals The District Court Judge may:

  1. Adjust the original sentence to be more lenient; or

  2. Adjust the original sentence to be heavier, after warning you and providing an opportunity to withdraw the appeal to maintain the existing sentence; or

  3. Dismiss the appeal.

Can new evidence be introduced in a District Court appeal?

In a severity appeal, new evidence can be presented to the Judge under section 17 of the Crimes (Appeal and Review) Act 2001 (NSW). However, in a conviction appeal, new evidence can only be introduced with the Judge's permission under section 18 of the same Act. The Judge will grant permission if it serves the interests of justice.

A District Court Judge will only grant leave for you to introduce fresh evidence on a conviction appeal if satisfied that it would be in the interests of justice.

It is much easier to introduce new or fresh evidence on an appeal in the District Court than an appeal in the NSW Supreme Court of Criminal Appeal (CCA).

However in a conventional Appeal, the District Court will only direct a person to attend to give Evidence in the witness box, if the Court is satisfied that: 

  1. There is substantial reasons why, in the interest of justice, the person(s) should attend to give evidence; or

  2. If the offence is an offence of violence against the alleged victim, the court will only grant leave to direct the alleged victim to attend court to give evidence if there are special reasons why, in the interest of justice.

If you intend to ask the court to direct a person attend court to give evidence in the witness box, you are required to give notice of this to the prosecution first.

Why Choose Invictus Legal for Your District Court Appeal


Invictus Legal offers extensive experience in handling appeals, ensuring you receive the best possible outcome. Our services are available 24/7 via our legal hotline at 0410 600 230.


We also provide free initial consultations for all criminal offense cases, offering an overview of your options and potential outcomes at the earliest opportunity. Don’t risk your future; contact us today to pursue the most favorable outcome for your appeal. 

If you wish to Appeal, don’t jeopardise your future and contact us today to achieve the best outcome.

Make a booking to arrange a free consult today!

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Invictus Legal | Sydney Criminal & Traffic Defence Lawyers



Level 35, Tower One, International Towers,

100 Barangaroo Avenue,

Sydney, 2000, NSW, Australia


Tel: 02 8046 7634

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