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Court of Appeal

The Supreme Court also has two separately constituted courts – the Court of Criminal Appeal and the Court of Appeal. The court was established on the 1st of January 1966 and operates under the Supreme Court Act 1970 (NSW). It is the final court of appeal in New South Wales for civil matters.

The Court of Appeal hears appeals from single judges of the Supreme Court as well as appeals from other NSW courts and tribunals. For example, it hears appeals relating to contractual disputes, commercial disputes and civil suits for personal injury or negligence. Most appeals require leave to be granted by the court and must relate to an error of fact or law by the Judge who determined the matter in the lower court such as the District Court or the Local Court.

Appeals are typically determined by three Judges, however some cases will be determined by five Judges. The Judges do not need to unanimously agree on the outcome and an appeal can be decided by a majority. In certain cases, grants of leave or appeals relating to the amount of compensation ordered can be determined by fewer than three Judges.

If an appellant is not happy with the decision that the court has made, they can apply to the High Court of Australia for special leave to appeal the decision in the High Court. Leave will only be granted by the High Court in limited circumstances, so in effect, it is is the final court where an appeal can be heard for the majority of matters.

Leadership of the Court of Appeal

When the court was formed in 1966 the first president was Sir Gordon Wallace who was born in Redfern and studied law at the University of Sydney after a period in the Australian military. The current president of the court is Andrew Bell who took the position on the 28th of February 2019 after a long career in law, having studied at the University of Sydney. The current Chief Justice of NSW is Tom Bathurst who was appointed to the position on the 1st of June 2011. He also serves as the Lieutenant-Governor of New South Wales, as a deputy Governor of New South Wales, a position he has held since the 1st of February 2012. He also graduated from the University of Sydney’s Law School. Between 2013 and 2019, Margaret Beazley was the president of the Court of Appeal, the first and only woman to hold the position.

If you require information on lodging an appeal or any other legal matter please contact Armstrong Legal.

Trudie Cameron

This article was written by Trudie Cameron

Trudie Cameron is the Practice Director of Criminal Law and is responsible for supervising and managing the New South Wales Criminal Law team in addition to her own caseload. She practices in both NSW and the ACT. Trudie is an accredited specialist in criminal law, practising exclusively in criminal and traffic law. Trudie defends clients charged with both state and...

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