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What is a S14 Application and is it applicable to you?

Section 14 Applications: Diversion from courts

Facing criminal charges can be a daunting and distressing experience. The intricacies of the legal system may seem overwhelming, leaving you uncertain about your rights and potential outcomes. At Repute Law, we understand the challenges you may be experiencing and are here to provide the legal guidance you need.

When charged with a criminal offence, your first instinct may be to prepare for a plea and then sentence. However, in some cases, the Court has the power to divert offenders with mental health issues away from the criminal justice system and towards treatment and rehabilitation.

In New South Wales, there are laws that protect those who may have mental or cognitive impairment steering them away from the courts and potentially avoiding a criminal record. This is more commonly known as a Section 14 application and is usually filed in the Local Court.

The Mental Health and Cognitive Impairment Forensic Provisions Act 2020 No 12 allows eligible offenders to be diverted from the court system, providing an opportunity for treatment and education programs to address any issues they may be facing.

If successful, the applicant may be ordered to engage in some type of treatment and will have no record of guilt or conviction against their name. This treatment usually lasts up to 12 months and another court date will be set to ensure the treatment has been completed. There also may be no order made and the matter dismissed.

To be eligible for a Section 14 application, s15 of the Act lists the factors a magistrate may consider when making an order under s14 including:

  • The nature of the mental health impairment.
  • The seriousness of the offence.
  • Suitability of the sentencing options available if found guilty.
  • Any change in circumstances since the alleged offence occurred.
  • Criminal history of the accused.
  • Whether or not the accused has been subject to a mental health order.
  • Whether or not there is a treatment or support plan.
  • Likelihood of reoffending
  • Any other relevant factors

The courts have highlighted the importance of considering an offender’s circumstances when deciding on a Section 14 application. They have stressed the need to assess an offender’s willingness to participate in rehabilitation programs, counselling programs or anything deemed fit for treatment and the potential impact of a conviction on their future prospects. Section 14 is discretionary in nature and an avenue to provide meaningful rehabilitation opportunities for offenders.

It is important to note that if you do not comply with any order made under a s14 application, you could be asked to reattend court and your matter dealt under the normal laws which could mean severe penalties and a conviction.

Repute Law: Your Trusted Criminal Law Firm

At Repute Law, we recognise the significance of experienced legal representation when facing criminal charges. Unlike many others, we are one of the only law firms comprised entirely of Senior Criminal Defence Lawyers with extensive court experience. With no junior lawyers attending court, we guarantee your case will be handled by a seasoned professional dedicated to achieving the best possible outcome for you.

Additionally, our team includes qualified lawyers serving as Case Concierges®, offering exceptional client service and expert advice on your options throughout your criminal law case. We believe in being Court Ready® and ensuring you are fully prepared before entering the courtroom. This service is unique to Repute Law and encompasses things like what to wear to Court and how to address the Court.


When your future is at stake, seeking the right legal advice is paramount. Repute Law’s Senior Criminal Defence Lawyers possess the experience and exceptional skills to handle your criminal law case effectively. Understanding the nuances of Section 14 applications gives you insights into a potential alternative to conviction and the possibility of rehabilitation.

By engaging Repute Law at the earliest opportunity, our Senior Criminal Defence Lawyers can promptly gather evidence, interview witnesses and prepare the best possible defence. Our team will negotiate with the police, aiming to minimise reputational loss by seeking to have the charges reduced or even dismissed without going to Court. Early representation could mean the difference between a conviction and an acquittal.

Don’t navigate the complex legal system alone. Contact Repute Law today to receive the guidance you need. Our team of Senior Criminal Defence Lawyers and dedicated Case Concierges is ready to assist you and secure the best possible outcome for your criminal law matter. Trust Repute Law to unlock the possibilities and protect your rights in New South Wales.

Contact Repute Law Today

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The content in this blog is to provide general information only and is not intended to provide and does not constitute legal advice on any matter. You should not rely upon the information contained in this blog as legal advice. Please contact us if you wish to discuss anything relevant in this blog. Any communications arising from this site are not intended to and do not create a legal relationship between Repute Law and any person.

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