defendant with lawyer speaking to a judge in the courtroom

Writing a character reference for court

See below example from LAW ACCESS webpage at

Points to note:

1. ALL Letter must be original, signed and dated

2. ALL letters must include the names of the author and state how long they have known you

3. ALL letters must be original and not copied from a webpage or template (it is an offence to lie or present false information to court)

4. ETB recommends preparation for court, bring all original and 3 copies of your character reference

5. Be sure your reference mentions awareness of the crime/ offence/ traffic offence/ assault

6. The letter must act in your favour and state the true affect the crime or offence has had on you

7. The letter MUST acknowledge your relationship with the author. For example if you have a letter from your mother ,it can state “My son Tony lives with me, pays board of $100 per week. My son has lived with me for 10 years at my home and he helps me do the shopping”

8. Mentioning details of your character, the responsibilities you have is always helpful. REMEMBER a judge has NO IDEA who you are , this is your chance to tell them

9. Be original

10. Be honest

11. Address the court as “Your Honour”

12. Be respectful

13. Be short – 1 page is usually enough


15 June 2011

To the Presiding Magistrate

Parramatta Local Court

RE: Character reference for Radha Das

My name is Oliver Mills and I am a full time hospitality teacher at Ultimo Tafe.

I am aware that Radha Das has been fined for travelling without a valid ticket. I understand that she is pleading guilty to this offence.

I have known Radha for approximately two years. Radha is one of my students and is currently undertaking a Diploma of Hospitality Management

Radha is a friendly and polite student. She is very punctual and shows great attention to detail. She ensures that every dish she serves is prepared to the best of her abilities. This also applies to her assessments. Every task is completed as directed within the required timeframe.

In my opinion, Radha has a bright future in the hospitality industry.

When Radha arrived at TAFE the day after she received this fine, she told me what had happened at Harris Park Station. I was surprised to hear that she had been fined. Radha was very upset, not only because she was sure that she had purchased a ticket, but because she is a full time student and was concerned that she would be unable to pay the fine.

I have spoken to Radha and I understand that she has never been in trouble before. Radha would like to take responsibility for her actions and move on from this incident.

If you would like me to confirm any of the above, please do not hesitate to contact me on 0400 999 999.
Yours sincerely

O. Mills

Oliver Mills
Ultimo College
Sydney Institute TAFE NSW

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