court appearances

Local, district and supreme court appearances

If you’re accused of committing an offence and need legal help, please don’t hesitate to contact us at Spencer Lawyers.

Based in Gosford, our legal team will assess your case, organise a defence and appear in the local, district or supreme court on your behalf.

Not sure what the difference is between the local, district and supreme court?


Your case will most likely be heard at local court. This court is heard by a magistrate with lawyers appearing for the accused. There is no jury involved at local court as the magistrate decides the guilt of the accused.


Approximately 98% of all criminal matters are first heard at local court. Prison sentences are restricted to 2 years.


Convicted crimes with longer sentences appear in the district court. This court is comprised of judges, barristers and juries.


Our legal team is also available to appear at coroners court, ICAC and inquests. Contact our local solicitors for more information today.

Supreme Court

The Supreme Court is the highest judicial court in the country and only hears the most serious cases. If you have pled guilty or been convicted in the Supreme or District court, you may lodge a criminal appeal to the Court of Criminal Appeal. At Spencer Lawyers, we are proud to represent clients in the Supreme court and at the Court of Criminal Appeal.

Court Appearances FAQs

If you’re charged with a legal offence and are required to go to court, it’s customary in New South Wales to appear in the local Magistrates’ Court first. Depending on the type of charge you are facing, your case will be heard in the Magistrates’ Court or passed on to the District or Supreme Court.

It’s always best to make sure you turn up early to your first court date as missing this could result in a warrant being issued for your arrest.

No matter how small you believe your charge to be, having legal representation is essential. A lawyer will help you understand the penalty you could be facing and guide you through all procedures on the day.

If you choose to forgo legal representation, it’s your responsibility to find the allocated courtroom (this information will be on the Daily Law List) and advise the police prosecutor that you are present. Please note – there may be a line to speak to the prosecutor, so be there early.

It’s worth remembering that a criminal offence can affect your livelihood and lifestyle if it ends up on your record, so having a lawyer with you on the day of your court appearance will ensure you’re fully prepared for the potential consequences.

A failure to turn up to court is taken very seriously. If you have missed your court date, make sure to call a criminal lawyer for advice straight away.

A criminal lawyer will get in touch with the relevant courthouse to find out if a warrant has already been issued and then provide legal advice about what you should do next.

If you have missed your court date for a valid reason, for example, you had a doctor’s appointment and are in possession of a doctor’s certificate, make sure to keep hold of these documents as they can be presented to the court as proof of your absence.

Yes. The first thing you will need to say is your name and your role in the case; for example, the defendant. Make sure to speak loudly and clearly when asked to, and do not interrupt anyone.

You may be also asked to give evidence during your time in court, at which point you will be taken to the witness box and asked to take an oath or affirmation promising that you will tell the truth.

When responding to questions about the case, always use respectful language throughout and ask for things to be repeated if you didn’t hear or understand what was said.

Attending court is a requirement and is not to be ignored under any circumstance. The only time you don’t have to attend court is if you have been personally excused by the court itself. If this is not the case, you must be present whenever there is a hearing.

If you don’t attend a court hearing that you were required to be at and don’t have a lawyer appearing on your behalf, the court has a right to order you to pay the Ministers costs and dismiss your application.

You can apply to the court to set aside a judgment or orders made in your absence; however, you will need to file an application in a proceeding and also an affidavit to explain why you did not attend.