Fact sheet – Adjournment

If you need to go to Court but you do not know how you want to resolve your case or you have been unable to get legal advice you can ask for more time, this is called an adjournment.

You can talk to a lawyer for free at Tasmania Legal Aid.

To get free legal information call 1300 366 611 or use the Legal Talk chat from the bottom right hand corner of this website. Legal Talk and our phone lines are available Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm.

A lawyer can help you with:

- Advice about your options

- Speaking to the Court and applying for an adjournment on your behalf

- Negotiating with the other party.

I need to go to court but I’m not sure what to do?

If you need to go to Court but you are not sure what you want to do then you should ask for more time. Asking for more time when you are in Court is called an "adjournment".

Who do I ask for an adjournment?

You need to ask the Magistrate or Judge for an adjournment. Generally on your first appearance in Court you will be granted an adjournment for a few weeks to talk with a lawyer and consider whether you want to plead guilty or not guilty.

Are there different types of adjournment?

There are two different types of adjournment:

  1. Adjournment without plea (which means you don’t need to tell the Court if you are pleading guilty or not guilty and you need more time to decide)
  2. Adjournment with a plea (which means you have told the Court whether you are pleading guilty or not guilty but still require more time to finalise the case)

How do I ask for an adjournment?

If you want an adjournment you should say to the Court the following:

“I am not in a position to finalise my matter today…” and then explain why you need more time. If you have a lawyer they will do this for you.

It is important that you do not lie to the Court as this is a crime.

What happens if my matter is adjourned?

If your case is adjourned you will be given another date to return to Court. This is so that you have time to prepare or talk with a lawyer and get legal advice.

If you have any bail conditions these may continue up until your next appearance so it is a good idea to follow any bail conditions if you have them.

What happens if I still don’t know what I want to do after an adjournment?

The Court is not likely to grant you another adjournment without entering a plea unless you have a good reason why you should have more time. If you have not used the extra time to prepare the Court will probably order you to enter a plea of either guilty or not guilty.

If you are waiting on information or your lawyer is unavailable then the Court may consider a further request for time because those things are outside of your control.

Last updated: 7-February-2024