​ሕግንና ደንብን በተመለከተ እርዳታ ማግኘት ይፈልጋሉን? - Amharic | هل تحتاج لمساعدة قانونية؟ - Arabic | ܤܢܝܼܩܵܐ ܝ݇ܘ̤ܬ ܠܗܲܝܵܪܬܵܐ ܩܵܢܘܿܢܵܝܬܵܐ؟ - Assyrian | Need Legal Help? - Auslan | Treba li vam pravna pomoc? - Bosnian | Burmese â Need Legal Help? | 需要法律帮助吗? - Chinese Simplified | 需要法律幫助嗎? - Chinese Traditional | Trebate li pravnu pomoć? - Croatian | ضرورت به کمک قانونی دارید؟ - Dari | Wïc Kuɔɔny në Wɛ̈t Löŋ? - Dinka | آیا به کمک حقوقی نیاز دارید؟ - Farsi | Gadreva na Veivuke Vakalawa? - Fijian | Kailangan ninyo ba ng tulong na panglegal? - Filipino | Besoin d’aide juridique ? - French | Χρειάζεστε βοήθεια σε νομικά ζητήματα - Greek | क्या आपको कानूनी सलाह चाहिए? - Hindi | Butuhkan Bantuan dalam Masalah Hukum? - Indonesian | Hai bisogno di assistenza legale? - Italian | ត្រូវការជំនួយលើបញ្ហាផ្លូវច្បាប់ឬទេ? - Khmer | 법적인 도움이 필요하십니까? - Korean | Ви треба ли помош со правни работи? - Macedonian | कानूनी सहयोग चाहिएको छ? - Nepalese | Necessita de ajuda com questões jurídicas? - Portuguese | Вам нужна юридическая помощь? - Russian | E Manaomia Fesoasoani i Mea Tau Tulafono? - Samoan | а ли вам треба помоћ у правним питањима? - Serbian | Ma u baahan tahay Caawimmad xagga sharciga ah?- Somali | ¿Necesita ayuda con cuestiones jurídicas? - Spanish | சட்ட உதவி தேவையா? - Tamil | ท่านต้องการความช่วยเหลือทางด้านกฎหมายไหม? - Thai | Fiema’u ha tokoni Fakalao? - Tongan | Yasal Danışmaya İhtiyacınız mı var? - Turkish | Cần Được Giúp Đỡ Về Luật Pháp? - Vietnamese |

Mention

This section covers:​ 

    ​What i​​s​​​ a mention?

    When you get your Court Attendance Notice (CAN), it will tell you what court you have to go to and the​ time and date that you must be there.

    This first time that you go to court is called a 'mention'. The purpose of the mention is for the court to find out whether you want to plead guilty or not guilty.      

    What happens at a mention?

    Even though your case may be listed at a certain time, it is a good idea to get to the court half an hour earlier to find out what courtroom your case will be heard in.

    For information about how to find your courtroom, you should watch the video below.

    You can also read a transcript of this video Word icon(36kb). 

    This video is available with the audio description​.

    ​​If you think you are going to be late, you should ring the court registry and let the​m know. If you are not there the court can decide your case without you. The court can also issue a warrant for your arrest to have you brought to the court.

    There are often many cases listed on the same day and you will have to wait until your name is called. You can take a seat in the courtroom or if the courtroom is full you can wait outside. Make sure you stay close enough to the courtroom to hear the court officer call your name. If you leave, or are not there when you are called, your case can be decided without you.

    The magistrate or registrar may close the courtroom for morning tea (usually around 11:30am) and for lunch (usually from 1:00pm to 2:00pm). You will have to leave the courtroom during these breaks. You can check what time the courtroom will reopen with the court officer or the registry.

    It is possible that you could be at the court for a few hours, and sometimes for most of the day, so you should make arrangements with your work or childcare if necessary.

    Hint icon Remember to turn off your mobile phone before going into the courtroom. You should also remove hats and sunglasses and be quiet in the courtroom while the magistrate is dealing with other cases.

    Should you plead guilty or not guilty?

    You will usually appear in front of a registrar or magistrate. You will have to tell the registrar or magistrate whether you are pleading guilty or not guilty.

    Pleading guilty

    If you are pleading guilty this means that you agree with the allegations against you and that you committed the offence.

    You may want to go to court and plead guilty with an explanation if you believe that the penalty is too harsh or if there are special circumstances that you want the court to consider.

    You may also plead guilty in writing, which means you won't have to go to the mention.

    For more information, see Pleading guilty.

    Pleading not guilty

    If you are pleading not guilty this means that you do not agree with the allegations against you and that you either believe you did not commit the offence, or that you have a defence. You usually plead not guilty at the mention, and your case is then listed for a hearing on a later date.

    In some cases you may be able to plead not guilty in writing, so that you don't have to attend the mention.

    For more information, see Pleading not guilty.

    What if you need more time? 

    If you are not ready to have your case heard at court, you can ask the magistrate to move to another day. This is called an 'adjournment'. 

    Examples of why you may not br ready are: 

    • you need more time to talk to a lawyer 
    • you need more time to get a lawyer to represent you 
    • you need time to prepare for the sentence 
    • you need time to go to an intervention program or counselling. 
    Tell the magistrate how long you need and why, For example, if you know you have an appointment to see a lawyer in two weeks, you can tell the magistrate that you need at least two weeks to give you time to see the lawyer. 

    For more information about how to ask for an adjournment, you should watch the video below.

    You can also read a transcript of this video word icon(34 kb).

    This video is available with the audio description​.

    You need to be aware that if the court decides not to adjourn your case, the court can make a decision without you being there. If this happens, you might be able to apply to annul (cancel) the court decision.

    For more information, see Appeals and annulments.  

    What if you cannot make it? 

    If you think you won't be able able to mae it court you can: 

    • ask for am adjournment 
    • ask for the court to move your case to another court (usually only if you are pleading guilty)
    • send a Written Notice of Pleading 

    Ask for an adjournment

    If you can't go to court you should contact the court registry and explain why. It is a good idea to send something in writing, for example a letter or fax.

    If you are sick you should also send a medical certificate that states you are unfit to attend court and why, and ask the court to adjourn your case. You should do this as soon as possible.

    Sample: Sample letter requesting an adjournment  

    Ask for the court to move your case to another court

    If you need to move your case to another court you should contact the court. The court may ask that you put your request in writing.

    Sample:  Sample letter requesting a change of court 

    Send a Written Notice of Pleading

    In some cases you may be able to fill out a form called a 'Written Notice of pleading'. In this form you tell the court whether you want to plead guilty or not guilty.

    You should get legal advice before using a Written Notice of Pleading. You should not use a Written Notice of Pleading if you are on bail.  

    For more information about pleading guilty or not guilty in writing and when you can do it, see Pleading guilty or Pleading not guilty.

    What will happen if you miss court

    If you miss your court date, or if you are late, the court may make a decision about your case when you are not there. The court can adjourn your case, or you can be found guilty in your absence. If the court makes a decision in your absence you won't be able to explain your circumstances to the court, or plead not guilty. The court may also issue a warrant for your arrest.

    If you missed your court date, or if you were late for court and the court made a decision in your absence, you may be able to apply for an annulment of the decision.

    For more information, see Appeals and annulments