What is a criminal motion

A criminal motion is an application to the Supreme Court by the accused or prosecution in a criminal case.

Criminal motions can cover a variety of applications. Common ones include:

  • Bail pending trial or appeal.
  • Variation of the amount of bail.
  • Extension of time to file the Notice of Appeal or the Petition of Appeal.
  • Quashing (to reject, set aside or vary) an order by the State Courts.
  • Transfer of a case from the State Courts to the High Court.
  • Reservation of a question of law to the Court of Appeal by way of a criminal reference.
  • Request for production of papers and documents that are not court records.
  • Adduction (introduction) of further evidence in court.

When you can file

As the accused, you can file a criminal motion at any time during or before your criminal proceedings.

If you are filing a criminal motion to refer a question of law of public interest to the Court of Appeal, you should file within 1 month of the related High Court decision, unless the Court of Appeal permits.(1)

How to file a criminal motion

You can file to either the High Court or Court of Appeal, depending on your case. There are no filing fees.

You need to submit these 2 documents via eLitigation:

A Notice of Motion form

You can access forms 72 to 75 from the Schedule of the Criminal Procedure Rules 2018.

Which form you need depends on what you are applying for:

  • For variation of bail: Form 73.
  • For extension of time to file an application: Form 74.
  • For adduction of further evidence: Form 75.
  • For other applications: Form 72.

In general, the form should include:

  • Information on your original case (case number, date, parties involved).
  • The nature of your application (what you are applying for).

A supporting affidavit

This is a signed statement made under oath that explains the reasons for your application.

After filing a criminal motion

After you file a criminal motion, the court will inform you of your hearing date via post or email.

You have to attend court and explain your case. The judge will decide whether to approve or reject your application.


Legislation associated with this topic includes Sections 405 to 409 of the Criminal Procedure Code.

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