After the court has decided

Support for families of people sent to prison

If you have had a family member, partner or close friend sentenced to a term in a correctional centre, you can:

Appealing a NSW court decision

You may have a right of appeal against a sentence or order. You should get legal advice before lodging any appeal.

There is usually 28 days to lodge an appeal (in some cases, notice of intention to appeal) against a decision of a court.

Paying a fine in criminal cases

If you have received a fine or order to pay costs in criminal proceedings, you will generally have 28 days to pay. If you do not think you will be able to pay by then, there are some options available.

You can apply to:

  • pay by instalments
  • ask for an extension to the payment due date
  • apply to have payments deducted from your Centrelink benefit

For more information, see brochure: Paying Court Fines

Victims Support Levy

The Victims Support Levy or VSL (formerly Victims Compensation Levy - VCL) is an amount levied on people who are found guilty of offences in NSW courts. The VSL is not a penalty imposed by a court or judicial officer; it is imposed automatically by legislation when a person is convicted of an offence by a court.

A victims compensation levy needs to be paid within 28 days of the court finalising the case. 

For more information, see brochure: Court Levies

Court Costs Levy

From 13 May 2013, people who are found guilty of offences in summary proceedings before a local court may have to pay a Court Costs Levy (CCL). The CCL is not a penalty imposed by a court or judicial officer; it is imposed automatically by legislation when a person is convicted of an offence by the local court. 

A court costs levy needs to be paid within 28 days of the court finalising the case. 

For more information, see brochure: Court Levies

What happens if you do not pay your fine?

If you do not pay the fine on time or make other payment arrangements, the outstanding amount will be referred to the State Debt Recovery Office (SDRO) which will take further action.

The types of action the SDRO can take include:

  • suspending or cancelling your driver's licence or vehicle registration - known as RMS restrictions
  • issuing a garnishee order to take money from your bank account or wages
  • ordering you to do community service 
  • issuing a property seizure order that authorises the Office of the Sheriff to seize and sell your property.

In certain circumstances, you may be able to apply to SDRO to perform unpaid community work or undergo treatment. See the SDRO publication Work and Development Order. If the fine was ordered for a commonwealth offence, other types of enforcement action may be taken against you.

Paying a judgment amount in civil cases

Judgment amounts that are determined in civil cases need to be paid immediately or as ordered by the court.

You need to pay a civil judgment amount directly to the party in whose favour the order was made.

What if you cannot afford to pay a judgment?

If you cannot pay the full amount, want an extension of time to pay or want to pay by instalments you should first speak to the person or firm to whom the money is owed. If they agree, put the agreement in writing. Both you and the other party need to sign this as a record of the agreement.

Alternatively, you can apply to a registrar at the court where the order was made. The registrar will make a decision. However, the other party can object. The objection may have to be heard by a judicial officer.

If you do not comply with the payment arrangement or do not pay the judgment amount as required, enforcement action may be taken to recover the amount owing.

Enforcement of criminal orders for the payment of compensation or costs

Where a court makes an order for payment of compensation or for costs and this has not been paid, enforcement proceedings can be started in the civil jurisdiction of that court.

The creditor (person to whom the money is payable), can request the court that made the order to prepare a certificate of conviction. The certificate must then be registered as a judgment of the court, allowing civil enforcement to commence.

A person seeking to enforce a criminal order for compensation or costs is not required to pay fees for the civil enforcement process.

Enforcement of civil judgments

The most common options for enforcing a court judgment for an amount of money include a:

  • garnishee order
  • examination notice
  • writ of execution, also called a writ for levy of property

Garnishee order: this is an order to a bank or employer to deduct money from the bank account or wages for the amount owing.

Examination notice: this is used to gather information about the financial circumstances of the person that owes the money.

Writ of execution or writ for levy of property: This directs the sheriff to take and sell property of the person that owes the money. There are additional costs added to the amount owing when the sheriff takes action on a writ of execution.

For more information see Enforcing writs for levy of property or property seizure orders.

Breach of Apprehended Violence Order

If anyone fails to obey or breaches an Apprehended Violence Order (AVO), it must be reported to the police. The person can be arrested by the police for breaching the order and may be required to attend court to answer a charge of contravening an AVO.

If you are a protected person in AVO proceedings, it is a good idea to keep a record of any incident that occurs, which will help police in their investigation and any subsequent prosecution.

If you are a victim of domestic violence and need support, see the Women's Domestic Violence Court Assistance Schemes.

Last updated:

07 Aug 2020

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