Last Updated 19 December 2016

The Court of Appeal is actually a part of the Supreme Court and is established under the Supreme Court of Queensland Act 1991 (Qld). As its name suggests, the Court of Appeal is Queensland’s most superior court to which appeals can be taken. The court itself is comprised of the president and at least three but no more than five judges (who are called judges of appeal). Any three judges of appeal sitting together at one time will constitute the Court of Appeal.

Civil matters

The Court of Appeal can hear appeals from decisions of the District Court in its original and appellate jurisdiction in any civil action in which the amount claimed or the property in dispute exceeds the Magistrates Court jurisdictional limit as it applies from time to time ($150 000 at present). When a lesser sum is involved, an appeal can be made with the leave of the Court of Appeal or Judge of Appeal (s 118 District Court of Queensland Act 1967 (Qld)). An appeal can be brought against any order, no monetary or other limits apply.

The Court of Appeal can also review decisions of single Supreme Court judges and decisions that are made by a judicial member of the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal.

Criminal matters

Criminal cases heard by the District Court and the Supreme Court can be reviewed by the Court of Appeal.

A person convicted of an indictable offence in either a District Court or a Supreme Court may appeal as of right (without permission) in respect of any question of law. With the court’s leave (permission), a convicted person may appeal in respect of any finding of fact or against sentence (s 668D Criminal Code Act 1899 (Qld)).

The Attorney-General may appeal on a question of law or against a sentence imposed on a person, but cannot appeal against a person’s acquittal.

Appeals from the Court of Appeal

All appeals from decisions of the Court of Appeal lie to the High Court of Australia. However, the High Court must grant leave to a person who is seeking to appeal a decision of the Court of Appeal.