What Happens At A Local Court Hearing

Referenced from Local Courts NSW:

When you are first charged with an offence, your matter will be brought before  a  Local Court of NSW.

For matters that are viewed to be of a less serious nature, they will be determined within the Local Court, however if the matter is of a more serious nature will be heard for a short time within this Court but transferred to the District Court.

What penalties can a Local Court impose?

The Local Court has the power to impose the following penalties:

  1. Section 10:

  2. Fine

  3. Good behaviour bond

  4. Community service order (CSO)

  5. Suspended sentence

  6. Intensive correction order (previously periodic detention)

  7. Periodic detention

  8. Prison sentence

Section 10

When you appear before the court and plead guilty, you will receive a criminal conviction but also a penalty. It is the discretion of the Court to waiver both conviction and penalty. In considering this, the Court must come to the conclusion that there are exceptional circumstance, in considering this they can take into consideration the following:

  • Your age, character, record, health and mental condition.

  • The trivial nature of the offence.

  • Any extenuating circumstances

  • Anything else the Court think is relevant.


One should be aware that, order comes in a variation of forms and can have attached to it a good behaviour bond for a period of time or the provision that you complete an intervention program. 

This order is a discretion of the Court and only given in exceptional cases.


The Court can impose a fine as a penalty.

The maximum penalty the Local Court can impose depends on the amount prescribed under the Legislation, advice on this can be provided at our initial consultation.

When considering the fine the Magistrate and/or the Judge will considering your financial ability to pay in light of your financial obligations, as provided to the Court by us.

You will be given 28 days from the date of sentence to pay the fine, but can contact the Court Registry to apply for a payment plan if you cannot meet the repayment of the fine in time.

Good behaviour bond

The Local Court has the power to make an order that you be of good behaviour for a period of time of up to 5 years. Breaking this order can occurring if you break the law.

If you breach this order, you can be brought before the Court and resentenced for you original offence along with receiving a penality for breach of your bond.

You should be aware that a Good Behaviour Bond can be unsupervised or supervised. If you are supervised, this will be by NSW Probation Service, where you must comply with request they may have such as mandatory counselling, random drug and alcohol screening.  and Parole will supervise you and can ask you to comply with requests to attend counseling and intervention programs.

Orders and judgments in civil cases.

In civil cases, a court can make an order or a judgment, or both. An order is usually made during the case ordering a party to file or serve documents or do other things.

A judgment is the order a magistrate or assessor makes when deciding the case.  

A default judgment can be given in cases where there is no defence filed.  

After a judgment or default judgment is made, the amount to be paid is due immediately. If a defendant does not pay, the judgment amount can be enforced.