Department of Justice is now the Department of Communities and Justice. Find out more >
Submissions are what you say to the magistrate to tell them about the offence, your circumstances and what penalty you would like the magistrate to consider.
You will have a chance to make your submissions after you have entered a plea of guilty, the magistrate has read the documents provided by the police prosecutor, and the magistrate has read any documents provided by you.
You should make sure what you say is well organised and not too long. The magistrate wants to know why and how you committed the offence and what kind of person you are. This may mean giving the magistrate a lot of information about yourself, some of which you may regard as private.
If there are any details about your life which you would prefer not to talk about in front of the courtroom but which you want the magistrate to know about, you can ask the magistrate if you can hand up all or part of your submissions in writing.
You only need to cover the submissions that apply to your case.
You can summarise what happened in your own words. You should tell the magistrate when and where the offence took place and provide brief details about the circumstances of the offence.
Your personal history includes information about:
Your education history includes information about:
Your employment history includes information about:
You can also tell the court what impact you think a conviction might have on your job or future employment.
If the magistrate is considering giving you a fine, they need to know about how much you are able to pay. You should tell the magistrate:
You should also tell the magistrate about your ability to pay any fine that may be imposed.
If you are 'of good character' you are a person who contributes to the community. You should tell the court about:
It is a good idea to get character references from any community organisations you have volunteered for.
For more information about character references, see Your documents.
If you have a criminal history and/or a bad driving record, you should not deny this. You should tell the magistrate:
Your need for a licence (if you're at risk of losing it)
Some offences carry demerit points in addition to a fine. If you get too many demerit points, your licence can be suspended. Your licence may also be suspended for some speeding offences.
If you are convicted, you will receive a letter from Roads and Maritime Services about the length of your suspension.
Telling the magistrate about how losing your licence will impact on your or someone else may help reduce the period of licence suspension.
You can tell the magistrate how you feel about the offence, for example, if you are sorry you committed the offence. You should also tell the magistrate if you have apologised to the victim (if there was one), and whether you have paid for any damage you have caused. If you did pay for damage it is a good idea to bring receipts.
You should tell the magistrate what orders you would like the court to make, for example, you could ask for a fine and/or for no conviction to be recorded.
You should use the words 'I would ask the court to consider...".
To help you work out what might be an appropriate order to ask for, you should get legal advice.
For more information, see:
Sample: Verbal submissions
Sample: Written submissions