Appeals in the NSW Legal System

What is an appeal, how does it work and how can you help me with an appeal?

In the NSW legal system, an appeal is considered to be an application to a higher court to reconsider the decision of a lower court.

In all appeals except appeals from the Local Court to the District Court you will normally need to show that there has been an error of law.

Choosing to be represented by one of our professional solicitors means that your case is fully prepared and presented to the court in its best light, our goal is to ensure you obtain the best possible outcome in your case.

How does the court hierarchy system work with Appeals?

The Local Court

All criminal cases and more than 90 percent of civil cases begin in the Local Court. The Local Court civil jurisdiction deals with civil claims up to $100,000. It deals with most criminal matters including summary offences, which are crimes such as stealing, assault and possession of drugs.  More serious offences are referred to the District or Supreme Court after a committal hearing in the Local Court.

District Court

The District Court is the 'middle court' in the state justice system. It is a trial court which deals with indictable criminal offences, except murder, treason and piracy. Its civil jurisdiction deals with civil claims from $100 000 to $750,000 and all motor accident cases.

Appeals from the Local Court are heard in the District Court.

Supreme Court

The Supreme Court is the highest court in NSW. It has unlimited civil jurisdiction and handles claims of more than $750 000. It deals with the most serious criminal matters, including murder and treason.

The Court of Criminal Appeals is a division of the Supreme court and hears appeals from the District Court and Supreme Court plus certain Land and Environment Court appeals. The Court of Appeal is the highest civil court in the state and hears appeals from the Supreme Court, District Court, Land and Environment Court and some tribunals.


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