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When Can a Court Case be Adjourned and Why?

Court cases are adjourned with the goal of ensuring fair and equal access to justice by all parties involved.

Courts function to uphold the law and disseminate justice. Despite it being an important experience for key parties, there are some instances where the court case needs to be adjourned. Here are some common reasons why court cases are adjourned and when a party might request this of the judge or magistrate.

What Does Adjourned Mean?

When a court case is adjourned, it means that the trial or hearing is postponed or deferred to another date. For a court case to be successfully adjourned, there must be sufficient reasoning by either or both parties involved. These reasonings are considered by the magistrate on a case-by-case basis. It is ultimately the court’s decision to decide whether the reasoning is adequate for a delay, even when both parties are in agreement.

Why Would A Court Case Be Adjourned?

Court cases are adjourned with the goal of ensuring fair and equal access to justice by all parties involved. Within this framework, there are numerous possible reasons you or your lawyers could submit an application for adjournment. Adjourned courts allow more time to:

  • collect new evidence or amend existing police ‘facts’;
  • assess and review the evidence to form a case;
  • seek legal representation or interpreters; or
  • request for charges to be with drawn or arrange a private settlement.

The court may also be adjourned if key parties can’t be present on the day. This includes the defendant and witnesses. Submitting an adjournment for application is much better than not appearing in court. If you fail to appear, the magistrate or judge could issue a warrant for your arrest, or the case could be considered in your absence.

When Can a Court Case Be Adjourned?

Court can be adjourned before a hearing or at any point during a trial for extenuating circumstances. For instance, the recent spread of COVID-19 has caused a delay on several court dates. A judge can also decide to adjourn for medical emergencies, understaffed courts and matters that pertain to the case being appealed to the High Court.

Should I Apply For My Queensland Court Case to Be Adjourned?

If you are the defendant, prosecution or a key witness, and you know you have a valid reason for being unable to attend or needing more time before a hearing, you should apply for a court case to be adjourned. Be aware that processes and exceptions may differ from state to state. You can request an adjournment as a court event in Queensland online or by emailing the relevant registry.

How Does the Court Decide Whether to Adjourn

If you’ve submitted a request to adjourn your court hearing, it may not be approved by the magistrate or judge for a few reasons:

  • The application doesn’t provide adequate proof
  • The request is unreasonable
  • The adjournment will have a negative effect on the administration of justice or procedural unfairness

Providing proof of injury or rehabilitation will be necessary to qualify your application if you know you’re unable to attend. Short adjournments that are requested for only a few days or hours at most are also usually accepted.

Request Legal Representation from Guest Lawyers

If you’ve been asked to appear in court and wish to seek legal advice, get in touch with Guest Lawyers. We can help you navigate the process of understanding your charges, preparing you for court and expert legal representation. Guest Lawyers are available to represent you in more than one court. We specialise in criminal law, including traffic offences, drug charges, assault cases and more. If you’re looking to apply for bail or whether you should plea guilty, we also provide easy to understand legal services. Our distinguished criminal lawyers located in Brisbane have also provided free material on our website that may help you with commonly asked questions about the law pertaining as it pertains to Queensland.