Dispute your traffic fines/penalties in local court NSW

Challenging Traffic Fines/Penalties in Court

Navigating the legal avenues in New South Wales (NSW) can be daunting, especially for individuals not accustomed to the intricacies of the system. One of the processes individuals may need to understand is how to have a matter determined by a magistrate in the NSW Local Court through Revenue NSW. This article breaks down the process to ensure that everyone can exercise their rights with confidence.

Introduction to Revenue NSW and Penalty Notices

Revenue NSW, formerly known as the Office of State Revenue and State Debt Recovery, is responsible for the collection of state revenue, including fines and penalties. Often, individuals receive a penalty notice (e.g., for traffic or parking offences) and believe that the penalty is either incorrect or unjust. In such cases, they have the option to challenge the notice in court.

How to Have the Matter Determined by a Magistrate

Step 1: Request a Review

Before heading to court, it’s recommended (though not mandatory) to first request a review with Revenue NSW. This gives them a chance to re-assess the penalty based on any additional information or circumstances you provide.

Step 2: Lodge an Application

If unsatisfied with the review outcome or if you decide to skip the review, you can opt to have the matter heard in the Local Court. To do this:

  • Visit the Revenue NSW website and locate the appropriate section to contest the penalty.
  • Complete the “Court Election Form” associated with the penalty notice in question.

Step 3: Await Confirmation

Upon receipt of your application, Revenue NSW will confirm the withdrawal of the penalty notice and notify the Local Court. The Court will then send you a court attendance notice which provides details of the date, time, and location of your hearing.

Step 4: Prepare for Court

It’s essential to:

  • Gather all relevant evidence.
  • Consider seeking legal advice or representation, especially if you’re unfamiliar with court processes.
  • Understand the potential consequences – while the magistrate could dismiss the penalty, they might also uphold it, potentially imposing additional court costs.

Step 5: Attend the Court Hearing

On the designated date:

  • Arrive early, dressed appropriately.
  • Check the court’s daily listings to determine which courtroom your matter will be heard in.
  • Present your case clearly, providing evidence and reasons for contesting the penalty.

Points to Consider

  • Cost Implications: While you might succeed in waiving the penalty, if unsuccessful, you may be required to pay the original fine, additional court costs, and potential legal fees.
  • Time Factor: The court process can be time-consuming. Consider the trade-off between the time spent and the potential benefit of overturning the penalty.
  • Legal Representation: While not mandatory, having a lawyer can help navigate the process, present a compelling case, and potentially increase the chances of a favourable outcome.


Every individual has the right to contest a penalty they believe is unfair or incorrect. While the process to seek a magistrate’s determination in the NSW Local Court via Revenue NSW might seem complex, understanding the steps and being well-prepared can make the journey smoother. It’s all about ensuring justice and fairness in the system.