Asking for a rehearing

Asking for a rehearing

A rehearing means your case is heard all over again. You can request a rehearing if you did not go to court for your hearing.

Sometimes, if you did not turn up, the magistrate will:

  • listen to the charges against you
  • find you guilty
  • decide on a penalty
  • make an order sentencing you without you being there to tell your side of the story. This is called an ex parte hearing.

If the magistrate makes an order without you there, the court will serve a notice in writing to your address.

This notice tells you what order the magistrate made. It will also tell you that you can apply for a rehearing. You have 28 days from the date you get the notice to apply for a rehearing.

How to apply for a rehearing

To apply for a rehearing, go to the Magistrates’ Court and tell the court staff that you want to apply to come back to court for a rehearing. The court staff will give you an ‘Application for a rehearing’ form. Fill it in, sign it and give it to the registrar.

You must also serve a copy of your application on the informant (the police officer that charged you). You have seven days to do this after you file your application form.

Can the informant ask for a rehearing?

The informant can apply for a rehearing on your behalf. If this happens the informant will give you a notice that tells you when you have to go to court for the rehearing.

What happens to the orders against me?

After you file the application for a rehearing at court, the orders the magistrate made against you when you were not there will be stayed. This means that they are put on hold until the magistrate decides if your case can be heard again.

This does not apply to orders against your drivers licence. If the magistrate ordered that your licence be cancelled, suspended or varied, you will also have to apply to stay these orders. The application for staying these orders is on the ‘Application for a rehearing’ form. Sign and date this part of the form too.

What happens at the rehearing?

Go to court on the date set for your rehearing. The magistrate will look at your application for the rehearing and decide whether your case can be heard again.

What if I did not know that I had to go to court?

The magistrate will grant you a rehearing if they believe that you did not know you had been charged with the offence. This might have happened if you were not served with the charge sheet. The magistrate will set aside the orders and give you a rehearing.

If you are pleading guilty to the charges against you, the magistrate may hear the case against you on that day. If you are pleading not guilty, the magistrate will adjourn your case to another date.

What if I do not go to court for the rehearing

Your application will be struck out and you will need the court’s permission to apply again for another rehearing. The court may not agree to this. If this happens you will have to follow the order that was made at the ex parte hearing.

Get help

Find out how you can get help with going to court for a criminal offence.