Appeals against sentence
Appealing against a criminal sentence in Victoria can be an intricate process, one that requires a deep understanding of the law and keen attention to procedural details. Whether you’re a legal professional or someone affected by a court sentence, understanding how sentence appeals work is essential. This blog post provides a comprehensive look into the appeals process in Victoria, specifically focusing on sentence appeals.  
Warning! – Notice of Appeal should be lodged within 28 days of date of the judicial officers’ decision. If you or someone you know wishes to a Appeal a decision please contact us immediately!


A sentence appeal allows an individual to challenge the severity, leniency, or other aspects of a punishment handed down by the court. Usually, this appeal is heard by the Court of Appeal, which is a division of the Supreme Court of Victoria. The objective is to ensure that the sentence is just and appropriate.

Grounds for Appealing a Sentence

Before appealing a sentence, it’s crucial to understand the legal basis upon which an appeal can be made. The following are some of the primary grounds:

Manifest Excess

Arguing that the sentence is manifestly excessive means stating that it is unreasonably harsh given the circumstances of the case.

Unjust Leniency

Conversely, the Crown may appeal on the ground that the sentence is too lenient, especially in cases where it does not serve the public interest.

Error in Discretion

If the sentencing judge misapplied discretionary factors, this can serve as a ground for appeal. Mistakes in the application of sentencing laws, guidelines, or principles can also provide grounds for appeal.

How to Lodge an Appeal

The appeal process formally begins when a “Notice of Appeal” or an “Application for Leave to Appeal” is filed. Here’s what you need to know:

Time Limits

The standard deadline for lodging an appeal against a sentence is 28 days from the date of sentencing.

Documents Required

Aside from the notice, other essential documents like transcripts of the sentencing remarks and evidence should be submitted.

The Hearing

The Court of Appeal will schedule a hearing once the necessary documents have been received and processed.


Both the appellant and the Crown will provide written submissions and may have the opportunity to offer oral arguments.

New Evidence

It is generally not possible to introduce new evidence at the appeal stage, unless it could not have been reasonably obtained earlier.

Potential Outcomes

The Court of Appeal has several options when it comes to revising a sentence:

Affirm the Sentence

If the court finds no errors or issues, the original sentence will be upheld.

Reduce or Increase the Sentence

Depending on the appeal grounds, the court can either decrease or increase the length or severity of the original sentence.


In some cases, the Court may set aside the original sentence and impose a new one.
Given the complexities of the law and the stakes involved, consulting with legal experts is highly advisable. A skilled criminal lawyer can guide you through this complicated process.

Final Thoughts

Appealing against a sentence in Victoria is a rigorous and complex undertaking. Understanding the grounds for appeal, the necessary procedures, and potential outcomes is crucial for anyone involved in the legal system. Though this blog post offers a detailed overview, expert legal advice remains indispensable for any specific case.

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