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Court of Appeal

The Court of Appeal is a division of the Supreme Court that hears all appeals from the District and Supreme Courts, and many tribunals.

It doesn't automatically grant every request for an appeal.

It doesn't hear entire cases; it deals only with the subject of the appeal.

There isn't a jury. It comprises 3 or 5 Supreme Court judges who consider the grounds of the appeal and make a judgment.  Some preliminary matters will be heard by a single judge of the Court of Appeal

Who makes decisions

In an appeal the judges make all decisions. 

Who attends court

Appeal hearing

In an appeal hearing the reasons for the appeal and any supporting documentation is presented to the court by the appellant. The appellant is the person or organisation that commenced the appeal and may be represented by a solicitor and/or a barrister.

The respondent is the opposing person or organisation to the appeal and may be represented by a solicitor and/or a barrister.

Court staff

Court staff may attend appeal hearings.

Judges’ associates assist the judges with proceedings.

 A bailiff may be present to announce the beginning and end of the court session, and assist the judges with proceedings.

What happens at an appeal hearing


At the hearing:

  • each side present their cases—the appellant first followed by the respondent
  • the judges listen to the argument, and read any materials provided to the court and decide if an error of law was made or a crucial fact was overlooked in the original hearing. The judge will make an order and give reasons for their decision.


If the judges decide that there was no error in law or crucial fact overlooked they will dismiss the appeal and nothing changes.

If the judges decide that there was an error in law or a crucial fact overlooked they may:

  • order a retrial or resentence or
  • make a different order in place of the original order;
  • if the appeal is against a sentence, increase or decrease the length of the sentence;
  • if the Attorney-General appeals against sentence, the sentence may be increased.

Further information

Group tours

The Supreme Court of Queensland library organises tours of the Supreme Court for schools and community groups.

Last updated
20 May 2014
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