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The Court of Appeal is the final court of appeal in New South Wales. The Court of Appeal hears applications for leave to appeal and appeals from single judges of the Supreme Court and from other NSW courts and tribunals. It has both appellate and supervisory jurisdiction in respect of all other courts in the State system.
Practitioner-related information about the Court of Appeal can be found on the practice and procedure pages.
The Court of Appeal was established in 1966 as Australia’s first intermediate appellate Court. It hears appeals in civil matters against the decisions of the judicial officers of the Supreme Court, other courts, commissions, and tribunals within the State. Its judgments are routinely cited around the nation and by foreign courts.
The Court of Appeal comprises the Chief Justice, the President of the Court of Appeal and nine judges of appeal. In addition, the Chief Judge of each trial division is a member of the Court. Acting judges of appeal also sit in the Court of Appeal when required, and on occasion, a judge of the Supreme Court's trial divisions may sit as an additional judge of appeal for the duration of a specific case.
The Court of Appeal sits in panels, normally constituted by three judges of appeal. If the Judges do not agree, the majority view prevails.
Occasionally, a five-judge bench will convene if there is a perceived conflict between two earlier decisions of the Court, or where a party seeks to challenge a legal principle set in an earlier decision of the Court of Appeal.
Two judges of appeal can determine applications if they relate solely to the amount of compensation for personal injury or death or is a challenge to an interlocutory judgement of a lower court. Applications for leave to appeal may also be dealt with by two judges, although a single judge of the Court of Appeal can determine if the issue of leave should be considered during the substantive appeal hearing, not separately. A judge of appeal sitting alone will also determine many interlocutory applications in an appeal, and in some instances, a single judge of appeal will deliver the Court's judgment.
Appeals against decisions of the Court of Appeal are made to the High Court of Australia in matters of public or general importance. However, before the appeal can progress, the applicant must first obtain the High Court's leave to proceed.
For more information about the sources of the Court of Appeal's jurisdiction, including its supervisory jurisdiction, visit the Practice and Procedure pages.
08 Oct 2023
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