When the court has reviewed the parties’ evidence, a verdict is delivered in the matter. A discontent party may appeal against the court’s order. However, the right to do so is limited, such as to errors of law. Different rules apply to orders made in different courts.
Verdicts delivered by the Small Claims division at Local Court may be appealed to the District Court. This is recommended when the reason for the appeal is lack of jurisdiction or the party is convinced that the procedure has been unfair “Procedural Fairness”. If the order is made in the General Division, an appeal is to be made directly to the Supreme Court, if it is a question of law.
To make an appeal for verdicts delivered by the Local Court, the party has to seek leave to appeal by lodging a Summons at the higher court within 28 days of the date of the judgement. Leave can be granted by the Court which obliges the Summons to be filed within 7 days of the date of the judgement.
A White Folder has to be filed at the higher court, which contains a Notice of Appeal as well as a Summary of Argument which outlines why the appeal is made and why it should be granted, a transcript of the judgement being challenged and other documents which support the decision to grant leave. To file a Notice of Appeal there is a fee of that needs to be paid in relation to a single notice. Further, the appealing party must identify under which provision the right of appeal arises. This should be included in the Notice of Appeal. Moreover, the Notice of Appeal should also contain the grounds of the appeal and how they constitute an error or law.
How does the Court act?
The Local Court reviews appeals against decisions made by the Local Court or by an appeal in the District Court. This depends on the circumstances.
If there’s an appeal against a decision made by the District Court, it will be determined by the Court of Appeal.
If a party is discontent with a verdict in the Supreme Court, an appeal against the judgement can be lodged in the High Court. The right to appeal a decision made by the Supreme Court depends on the circumstances of the matter once again. There have to be special reasons which have to be proved in a preliminary hearing in the High Court.
After the application to seek leave has been filed, a copy of the appeal needs to be served on the respondent and the court that is appealed from. In addition to that, the respondent needs to file a response to the appeal within 4 weeks from the date of filing the leave application.
A filing of an appeal does not automatically result in a stay of proceedings. Rather, the appealing party may lodge a Notice of Motion, supported by an affidavit to stay the proceedings.
Difference between “fresh” and “new” evidence
If the appealing party has additional evidence that wasn’t part of the original sentence, the fresh evidence may be taken into account by the court, in the appeal. Of course there is a distinction between the terms “fresh” and “new” evidence. Fresh evidence is evidence which the applicant wasn’t aware of by the time of the original trial and the evidence could not have been obtained with reasonable diligence. On the other hand, new evidence, is evidence that the applicant was aware of. It is evidence that was available by the time of the original sentence, but wasn’t used. The new evidence could have been used and obtained by reasonable diligence. This means that the information can’t be relied upon in the appeal.
Have you got any concerns about a decision against you and you require advice about appealing to a higher court? If so, please don’t hesitate to contact us.