How to Write an Apology Letter to the Court


If you are to be sentenced in Court, there are things you can do to have the Court look at your more leniently.


An apology letter from you to the Court will undoubtedly assist you in showing the Court a relevant factor in sentencing principles. That is, remorse and repentance demonstrate you understand your offence’s seriousness.

Start with the Date you Wrote the Apology Letter

Start with the date you write the letter. Yes, it sounds straightforward and logical. However, we have seen countless letters of apology without a date.

Address the Letter to 'Your Honour.'

People usually start the letter as ‘To whom it may concern. If someone were writing to you directly and asking for you to consider what they say, you would not like them addressing you as ‘To whom it may concern. Make it personal, address the magistrate as ‘Your honour.’

Contents of the Letter

There is no such thing as writing a perfect apology letter. The whole purpose of writing an apology and presenting it to the Court is to illustrate the human aspect of how the events have affected you and to describe you as a person. Remorse is a vital component of an apology letter. So, if you are remorseful of your actions, clearly state that. 


The best way to approach this is to think about the closest people to you and confess a mistake you have made and are willing to change. Then, consider these points (it is not necessary to include everything. These are just points you should think about before writing).


  • Reason for writing – Make a statement about the concerns for everyone’s feelings about the offence or offences;
  • Statement of apology – Give clear and specific details of the offence and harm caused;
  • Statement of responsibility – Make a statement about who is responsible for what happened;
  • Understanding of impact on others – Write about what you have learnt about how the offence has impacted people;
  • What are you doing about changing your behaviour – Let the people you are writing to know what you are doing to change your behaviour or going to do so you don’t get into trouble again;
  • Statement about distancing – Let people know that you are not coming back to hurt them again;
  • Recurrences – Write about your readiness and ability to face the consequences; and
  • Future intentions – Let the people you are writing to you know about your goals and plans for the future.

There may be more issues that need to be canvassed. Speak to your criminal defence lawyers as to what topics are most important.


Going to Court will likely be one of the most significant events in your life, and the Court wants you to recognise that you have appreciated the gravity of the situation. 


Courts have hundreds of offenders before them, many of whom draft apology letters. They are more than able to sniff out insincerity, lack of accountability and other factors which might hurt your case. If you do not think you can indeed be sorry for what you have done, it might be best to forego writing the apology letter. 

Conversely, an awe-inspiring letter will stand out in the Court’s mind and can positively impact your favour. So take the time to work on your letter.

Ending of the Apology Letter

“Yours sincerely, 

[Your Signature]”