Reviews of convictions and sentences: Crimes Appeal and Review Act 2001

This page contains information about how to have a conviction reviewed or annulled under the Crimes (Appeal and Review) Act 2001.

In New South Wales, the criminal law allows a conviction or sentence to be reconsidered in certain circumstances. The primary way this happens is through an appeal to a court. Apart from an appeal, a conviction or sentence may be reviewed in New South Wales under the procedures set out in the Crimes (Appeal and Review) Act 2001

The Review of convictions or sentences under the Crimes (Appeal and Review) Act 2001: fact sheet (PDF, 157.7 KB) sets out information about the kinds of applications that may be made under this Act, and relevant procedures. 

It is recommended that you seek independent legal advice before making an appeal to any court or seeking a review of a conviction or sentence (see contact list below). 

Reviews of convictions and sentences under Part 7 of the Crimes (Appeal and Review) Act 2001

In February 2007, Part 7 was added to the Crimes (Appeal and Review) Act 2001. These provisions allow the NSW Governor to direct an inquiry into a particular conviction or sentence. The provisions of Part 7 also allows the Attorney General to refer a matter to the Court of Criminal Appeal to be dealt with as an appeal (even if an appeal has been heard previously).

The procedures available under Part 7 of the Crimes (Appeal and Review) Act 2001 are only used in more exceptional circumstances. A petition or application will be considered where all appeal avenues have been exhausted but a person still asserts his or her innocence and is able to bring forward fresh material which was unavailable at the time of the trial or appeal and has not been previously considered by the court.

The Review of convictions or sentences under the Crimes (Appeal and Review) Act 2001: fact sheet (PDF, 157.7 KB) sets out information about the kinds of applications that may be made under this Act, and relevant procedures. 

Annulments of convictions and sentences under Part 2 of the Crimes (Appeal and Review) Act 2001

If you were not present when the conviction or sentence was imposed, you can apply to the Local Court for an annulment under section 4 of the Crimes (Appeal and Review) Act 2001. An application under section 4 can only be made within two years of the date of the conviction or sentence. If the Court grants an annulment, the conviction or sentence imposed in your absence will need to be considered again by the Court, and you will then have the opportunity to be present. To apply, or for more information about how to apply, you should contact the Local Court that recorded the conviction or sentence. Details of Local Courts are listed on the Local Court website.

Under section 5 of the Crimes (Appeal and Review) Act 2001, you may apply to the Attorney General to refer your case back to the Local Court, even if more than two years have passed since the date of the conviction or sentence, and even if you were present in court when you were convicted. 

After receiving your application, the Attorney General decides whether or not to refer your case back to the Local Court. Before referring your case back to the Court, the Attorney General needs to be satisfied that a question or doubt exists as to your guilt or your liability for the penalty.

It should be noted that the Attorney General does not grant the annulment. That is a matter for the Local Court to determine if the Attorney General makes a referral back to the Court.

For further information, please see the Annulment of Local Court convictions or sentences under the Crimes (Appeal and Review) Act 2001: fact sheet (PDF, 146.9 KB)

Last updated:

13 Oct 2022

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