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During COVID-19, if your matter is being heard in the Local Court, you don’t need to go to court to enter a plea of not guilty. You can file a Written Notice of Pleading with the court.
To file a Notice of Pleading, you can:
To complete this form online, you don’t need to register an account.
For more information, see COVID-19 (Coronavirus): Important information for entering a plea in Local Court matters on the NSW Online Registry website.
If you are on bail, you can still file a Written Notice of Pleading online during COVID-19 only.
You must file your Notice at least seven working days before your court date.
Once the Court has received your Notice, it will contact you by email and tell you what is going to happen next.
Before you complete a Written Notice of Pleading, you should get legal advice.
If you know how you want to plead, but you can't get to the court on the date on the Court Attendance Notice (CAN) to tell the magistrate, you may be able to fill out a form telling the court what you want to do. The form is called a 'Written Notice of Pleading'. On the form you need to tell the court whether you intend to plead guilty or not guilty.
If you tell the court that you intend to plead not guilty, you may not need to attend the mention, but you will still need to attend court for the hearing of your case.
You cannot use a Written Notice of Pleading if you are on bail for the offence and your bail conditions require that you attend court.
A Written Notice of Pleading form must be sent to the court that you have to attend at least seven days before the mention date. If you send it any later and do not attend court, your case may be heard in your absence (without you) and the court may find you guilty.
A blank Written Notice of Pleading may be sent to you with your CAN. If you have not received a Written Notice of Pleading form, you can get one from:
If you use a Written Notice of Pleading to plead not guilty, you will need to include the following:
After you complete the form you should:
You should send the Written Notice of Pleading to the local courts postal address, not the address that appears on your CAN. You can find the local courts postal address on the
Local Courts website.
Instructions: Instructions for filling out a Written Notice of Pleading - Pleading not guilty.
Sample: Sample Written Notice of Pleading - Pleading not guilty.
The court may reject your Written Notice of Pleading, if you pleaded not guilty, if:
If the court rejects your Written Notice of Pleading the case will be adjourned (postponed) and you will be notified that you are required to attend personally before the court on the next occasion.
If you do not go to court on the new date, the case may be heard without you or a warrant may be issued for your arrest.
After your court date, the court registry will send you a letter telling you the date that your case will be heard by the magistrate. If you want to know the date that was set by the magistrate sooner, you can call the court registry and ask a court officer.
Before the hearing date you should start preparing your case.
For more information, see
Preparing for the hearing - Step by step guide.