Legal Services

Criminal Appeals in Victoria

Criminal Appeal Lawyers in Melbourne

Our expert criminal lawyers have extensive experience appealing convictions and sentences in the Victorian Justice System. We can help you make an appeal to the County Court, the Supreme Court or Court of Appeal, or the High Court of Australia.

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What is a Criminal Conviction Appeal?

An appeal in criminal law is the process whereby a higher court reviews a criminal conviction decision made by a lower court.

In a criminal matter, it is possible to file an appeal against:

  • The sentence passed by the lower court; or
  • Both the conviction and sentence passed by the lower court.

If a person is found guilty in the Magistrates Court, County Court, Supreme Court or Court of Appeals in Victoria, they can apply to appeal the decision.

The general hierarchy of criminal courts in Victoria, from lowest to highest, is:

Submitting a formal appeal is a complicated process and can potentially result in a higher penalty being imposed if the superior court finds you guilty again.

If you feel as though another firm has let you down in your criminal matter and your decision deserves to be reconsidered, please don’t hesitate to contact our expert team at Sher Criminal Lawyers. Our defence specialists have years of experience appealing cases at all levels of the Victorian Justice System and work hand-in-hand with Senior and Queen’s Counsel. We are devoted to helping you seek the best possible outcome in your matter.

Appealing a Magistrates Court Decision

If you are found guilty of an offence in the Magistrates Court of Victoria, you may seek an appeal against either:

  • The sentence (i.e. the penalty imposed); or
  • The conviction (i.e. the finding of guilt) and the sentence.

An appeal against a decision from the Magistrates Court to the County Court arises under s254 of the Criminal Procedure Act 2009 (Vic). In certain circumstances, it may also be possible to appeal a Magistrates Court decision directly to the Supreme Court of Victoria.

The prosecution also has the right to appeal against a sentence imposed by the Magistrates Court if they find it unsatisfactory (s255(4)).

Appealing a County Court or Supreme Court Decision ​

If you have been found guilty of an offence in the County Court or Supreme Court of Victoria, you can seek leave to appeal against that decision in the Court of Appeal. This right arises under pt6.3 of the Criminal Procedure Act 2009 (Vic).

In regard to the original decision, you can seek leave to appeal against either:

  • The sentence (i.e. the penalty imposed); or
  • The conviction (i.e. the finding of guilt) and the sentence.

There is no guarantee that the Court of Appeal will grant leave to hear your appeal. The Court will have to consider many factors before deciding to either grant or refuse leave.

Appeals to the High Court of Australia

If you have been found guilty of an offence upon appeal in the Court of Appeals, you may be able to seek leave to appeal to the High Court of Australia.

Appealing to the High Court of Australia is a highly complex process that requires the highest calibre of legal knowledge and experience.

An appeal can only be brought to the High Court of Australia under rigid circumstances including if:

  • A case involves interpretation of the Constitution;
  • The High Court has to examine one of its previous decisions;
  • The High Court considers a case to involve a principle of law that is of major public importance.

Although High Court appeals are extremely complicated, it may be beneficial to consider the merits of your case.

Your right to appeal a criminal conviction in Victoria

Appeal matters are highly complex. There are many rules and regulations in regard to initiating an appeal. In the superior courts, there is no guarantee that you will be granted leave to appeal a conviction or sentence unless you can prove that certain circumstances exist. Further, there is always a possibility that the sentence imposed by the superior court will be more severe than the original sentence.

If you wish to appeal a court decision, it is vital that you obtain advice and representation from a criminal lawyer who is extensively experienced in appeal matters. An appeals expert will understand the different rules, regulations and requirement that must be met to successfully lodge and run an appeal in each Victorian court.

Sher Criminal Lawyers specialises in criminal appeals. We have advised and represented clients in appeal matters at all levels of the Victorian Justice System.

If you wish to appeal your court decision, please contact us immediately. Appeals must be lodged within a set time frame. The earlier we are contacted, the more time we have to prepare your appeal application.

Our specialist appeal lawyers are available 24/7 and offer free consultations by way of Zoom, Facetime or in person at our Melbourne and Moorabbin offices.

FAQs

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