Appeals from Magistrates to District Court
If you disagree with an order made by a magistrate or justice of the peace (JP), you may appeal to a judge of the District Court.
Who can appeal
Different parties can appeal a decision, depending whether it’s a civil or criminal case.
Who can’t appeal
- Victims of crime, though they may apply for assistance
- Family or friends of the accused
- Members of the public
How to appeal
The process to follow, including what forms you need to file with the registry, will depend on the decision you wish to appeal.
It is a good idea to consult with a lawyer on whether you have valid grounds to appeal even if you propose to conduct the appeal yourself.
Court staff can’t provide legal advice or make recommendations about your case, but they can assist you with general court procedures and practice.
If you are more than 50kms from the nearest District Court, you can give the notice of appeal to the clerk of the court at the Magistrates Court where the order you are appealing was made. Locate your nearest District Court.
Time limits to file your appeal
Generally, there is a timeframe for appealing a decision to the District Court. Again, the type of decision you’re appealing will determine how long you have to file your notice of appeal with the District Court.
The timeframe usually starts from the date the court delivers its decision.
You may be able to apply for an extension of time for filing your notice of appeal, depending on the type of decision you’re appealing.
In the application, state the reasons for the delay and the grounds for applying for the extension.
Cost of appealing
You may have to pay a filing fee when filing your appeal with the District. Filing fees and charges are available in the scale of fees in Uniform Civil Procedure (Fees) Regulation 2009.
If you’re appealing a sentence or being found guilty of an offence, there is no cost to file an appeal. However, if your appeal is unsuccessful, the court may order costs against you in certain matters.
Paying your fees
EFTPOS facilities are available at all registries. Make cheques payable to the Registrar of the Court to which you make payment.
You can’t get an exemption from paying filing fees, but you may be able to apply to have the filing fee reduced by order circumstances. Read about getting a reduction of civil court fees.
Find out whether you need to pay the offender levy if your appeal is successful or unsuccessful.
Paying your Magistrates Court fine
If the Magistrates Court orders you to pay a fine, you must still pay it even if you’re appealing the decision.
If the fine has been referred to State Penalties Enforcement Registry (SPER) and you’ve received an enforcement order, SPER will suspend the enforcement order until the court hears your appeal. If you have any queries about this, contact SPER.
If your appeal is successful, the money you have paid will be refunded.
Orders to pay someone restitution or compensation are stayed until the end of the appeal and you don’t have to pay unless a special order is made.
Bail while appealing
You can apply to the Supreme, District and Magistrates Courts for bail. The judge or magistrate will decide whether to release you.
Getting more information
When you lodge your appeal, you receive a copy of practice direction 07/2020 - Appeals, which explains your obligations.
Registry staff at the District Court or Magistrates Court can give you general or procedural information, though they can’t provide legal advice. Read more about the difference between procedural and legal advice.
A lawyer can help you put your document together and present your arguments in court. If you don’t have a lawyer, you can contact:
- Legal Aid Queensland: 1300 651 188
- Queensland Law Society: 1300 367 757
- QPILCH (Queensland Public Interest Law Clearing House): (07) 3846 6317