Appeals to the Supreme Court from the Magistrates Court

Guidelines for Self-Represented Litigants Conducting Appeals to the Supreme Court from the Magistrates Court

The following guidelines have been prepared to assist self-represented litigants wishing to file their own Notice of Appeal.

Contents:

On filing the Notice of Appeal

Ordering the Transcript

The Appeal Index

Settling the Draft Appeal Index

Costs (Civil Appeals)


On Filing the Notice of Appeal 

Upon filing your Notice of Appeal (Form 5.4), you will receive back two or more sealed copies.  A sealed copy must then be served personally on each respondent, and on the Registrar of the Magistrates Court within 7 days of the date of filing (see rule 5107 of the Court Procedures Rules 2006, volume 3).

At the time of filing your Notice of Appeal, a date will be appointed for settling the appeal index (see the last page of your Notice of Appeal). The procedure for settling the appeal index is described below in Settling the Draft Appeal Index.

A Notice of Appeal should include:

  • the decision of the Magistrates Court which you are appealing;
  • the name of the person(s) making the decision;
  • the date of the decision;
  • the orders you are seeking by the appeal, and
  • the grounds of appeal you are relying on (briefly but specifically).

The orders sought by your Notice of Appeal must be orders that the Supreme Court is able to make.  The grounds of appeal must support your application for those orders. 

You are, of course, entitled to represent yourself in court proceedings.  However, the law in relation to appeals is not simple and it may be in your interests to obtain legal advice as to whether the orders you seek by your Notice of Appeal and the grounds upon which you rely are valid. 

Please note that court staff may not provide you with legal advice.

You may, at any time up to the settling of the appeal index, file and serve an Amended Notice of Appeal. All amendments in an Amended Notice of Appeal must be underlined in red.

Ordering the Transcript

In most cases you will need to order a copy of the transcript of the hearing/sentencing in the Magistrates Court. This is usually required in putting together your Appeal Book.  It is possible in some circumstances to order a portion of the transcript (called an extract) if, for example, your appeal related only to the sentence given in a criminal matter, and not to the conviction.  In such a case, it may be possible to order just that part of the transcript relating to the sentence.

As you are the appellant, the ordering of the transcript and the cost of obtaining the transcript is your responsibility.  You can obtain a Transcript Order Form from the front counter at the Magistrates Court.  You must file a copy of the transcript within 14 days of filing your notice of appeal (see rule 5110, Court Procedures Rules 2006, volume 3).

The Appeal Index

The Appeal Index sets out a list of all the documents which will be included in the Appeal Book.  A Draft Appeal Index must be filed and served on each respondent not later than 3 days prior to the date given for settling the appeal index.  

The Appeal Index should be divided into 4 columns:

No.         Description of document              Date                Page         

NO. = the number of the item in the appeal book
DESCRIPTION OF DOCUMENT = the name of the item and the transcript page reference, if applicable
DATE = the date of the document or the date on which the evidence was given
PAGE = the page number in the appeal book (every page of the appeal book must be clearly numbered)

The Documents could be listed under the following categories (where applicable):

  • Notice of Appeal;
  • the Decision/Order being appealed (this must be a copy of the formal order,
    a warrant, a bench sheet or that particular section of the transcript in which
    the Magistrate makes the order, if there was no formal order);
  • reasons for Decision (where no written reasons are given a copy of that part
    of the transcript in which the reasons are given verbally).


    The following should be in date order, except Exhibits

  • originating process in the Magistrates Court (i.e. the document that first brought the parties before the Court e.g. summons, charge sheet, application);
  • pleadings (if applicable - e.g. Defence, Counterclaim) or Benchsheets (if applicable);
  • transcript of Evidence (divided into sections for each witness and the pages in the transcript where each witness is examined, cross-examined and re-examined);
  • exhibits (i.e. those documents that were handed up as evidence to the Magistrate at the time of the hearing) – these should be listed according to who tendered the exhibit and in the order in which they were tendered, and
  • Certificate of Examination (Form 5.7).

Only those documents which were evidence before the Magistrates Court and which are relevant to the appeal should be included in the Appeal Book.  For example, if you are only appealing against the sentence given, and not the conviction, you will not need that part of the transcript relating to the evidence of the witnesses in the hearing. 

Only those documents which were evidence before the Magistrates Court and which are relevant to the appeal should be included in the Appeal Book.  For example, if you are only appealing against the sentence given, and not the conviction, you will not need that part of the transcript relating to the evidence of the witnesses in the hearing. 

Fresh evidence that was not before the Magistrates Court cannot be included in the Appeal Book.   If you are relying on fresh evidence, you must seek leave to introduce it at the time of the hearing of the Appeal before the Judge (see rule 5193, Court Procedures Rules 2006, volume 3).

The following are examples that can be referred to when setting out your appeal index: 

Please note that these are examples only.

Settling the Draft Appeal Index

At the date for the settling of the Appeal Index each party (or his/her legal representative) meets with the Registrar/Deputy Registrar of the Supreme Court to determine what documents should be included in the Appeal Book.  This occurs in chambers and the parties should wait outside Court 4 in the Supreme Court Building at the date and time allocated (this is given and written on the Notice of Appeal when it is filed). 

At least 3 days before this date, you should have filed and served on each respondent a copy of your draft appeal index. 

If all the papers are in order, a date for the hearing of the appeal before a Judge will be allocated.  Directions will also be made concerning the filing and serving of Appeal Books and the number of Books required (usually 3 or 4).

Costs (Civil Appeals)

You should be aware of the possibility of costs orders being made against you in the event that your appeal is dismissed, or if you cause the other party to incur additional costs through your delay or non compliance with directions of the Court.

Should you wish to discontinue your appeal after the Notice of Appeal has been served on the other party, then, unless the other party consents to the discontinuance on the basis that each party pays its own costs, then you may be liable for the other party’s legal costs incurred up to the date of discontinuance.