Mention and Further Mention

If you have been charged with a summary criminal offence, you will be summonsed, bailed or remanded to a Mention date at the Magistrates’ Court of Victoria. If you are charged with an indictable offence that can be heard summarily by the Magistrates’ Court, your matter will also be listed for Mention. Your case will not be formally listed for a plea of ‘guilty’ or ‘not guilty’ during the mention court process. Instead, it typically involves a brief appearance before a Magistrate to update the Court on the status of your case.

First Mention

The first Mention is the is the first listing of any criminal matter proceeding through the Magistrates’ Court.

At a first Mention, if your charges are straightforward and you are pleading ‘guilty’, your case might be heard, determined and finalised by the Court on that date. If you are pleading ‘not guilty’ to the charges, your case must proceed to a Contest Mention on a future Court date.

In some circumstances, a first Mention can be administratively adjourned without an appearance by you or your lawyer at Court. If you are on bail, you must always attend Court on the listed date.

Further Mention

A further Mention is a subsequent Mention of the matter at Court. A further Mention provides another opportunity for discussions between the parties with a view to resolution.

If your charges have resolved, your case might proceed and finalise with a plea of ‘guilty’ at the further Mention stage. If you are pleading ‘not guilty’, the Court will expect an update from the parties about the progress of the matter, and your case will then proceed to a Contest Mention hearing.

What Happens at a Mention or Further Mention?

While each case is unique, you should expect the following at a Mention or further Mention of your case:

  • Appearance – You, your criminal defence lawyer, and the prosecutor will be required to appear before a Magistrate at Court on the listed date.
  • Case Update – The purpose of the Mention is to provide an update on the progress of your case. This may include finalising your charges with a plea of ‘guilty’, or if the matter has not resolved, progressing your case to a Contest Mention.
  • Adjournment – If necessary, the Court may grant an adjournment of your case to a later date to allow for provision of outstanding material from police, for you to obtain additional preparatory material, or to allow further resolution discussions between your lawyer and the Prosecution.
  • Directions – In some situations, the presiding Magistrate can make orders in relation to steps that must be taken before your next Court appearance, such as deadlines for the filing or serving particular documents by either party considered to be necessary to progress your matter.
  • Next Court Date – If your case does not finalise at the Mention or further Mention stage, a new Court date will be set for your Court proceedings to continue.

Man Going Through a Mention Court Process

How to Approach the Mention or Further Mention

It is important that you approach the Mention process with a willingness to comply with the Court’s legal requirements and Court etiquette. The following guidelines will help ensure that your case proceeds smoothly through the Court process:

  • Appear in Court. It is crucial of course that you attend Court for your Mention unless advised otherwise by your lawyer or the Court. Failure to appear can result in a warrant being issued for your arrest.
  • Dress Appropriately. Dress neatly and conservatively for your Court appearance. This demonstrates respect for the Court and an understanding of the significance of the proceedings.
  • Listen Carefully. During the Mention hearing, listen carefully to the proceedings and any instructions or directions given by the Magistrate. If you do not understand the proceedings, be sure to raise your questions with your lawyer.
  • Be Respectful. Address the Court respectfully at all times. This includes standing when spoken to by the Magistrate and addressing the Magistrate as ‘Your Honour’.
  • Provide Necessary Information. If addressed by the Magistrate, provide any relevant information truthfully and accurately. This might include confirming personal details or in some circumstances, answering questions related to your case.
  • Avoid Discussing the Case Publicly. Do not discuss the details of your case publicly, especially on social media.
  • Prepare for Future Proceedings. Depending on the outcome of the Mention, you may need to prepare for future Court appearances. Carefully follow your lawyer’s directions about future preparations for Court.

How Doogue + George Can Help You

It is crucial that you have a case strategy in place before the Mention of your case at Court. We can assist you to formulate the best approach for particular charges and unique circumstances. We will appear on your behalf at Court to either finalise your matter with a plea of ‘guilty’, or if you are contesting the charges, progress your matter to the next Court hearing stage.

If you require additional time to prepare your case and you are on summons, we can assist you to adjourn your matter either administratively, or with the assistance of a lawyer at Court. Of course, if you are on bail, you must attend Court for every listing of your matter, in order that a warrant not be issued for your arrest.

What Follows a Mention in the Court Process?

If your matter does not finalise at Mention stage, the next steps will vary depending on the nature of the charges against you and the specific circumstances of your case. Common scenarios are as follows:

  • Plea of Guilty – Your case might be adjourned and booked in for a fixture plea of ‘guilty’. If your matter is complex, this allows additional time for your case to be heard and considered by the presiding Magistrate.
  • Bail Application – If you are in custody, your case may be booked in for a bail application on a future Court date.
  • Plea of Not Guilty – If you are pleading ‘not guilty’ to the charges, your case will proceed to the next Court stage, being a Contest Mention, or in limited circumstances, proceed straight to a Contested Hearing.