Community Service Orders (ACT)

A community service order (CSO) is a condition that a court may include on a good behaviour order that requires an offender to perform unpaid work in the community at a location specified by Community Corrections. To be eligible for this order, an offender must have been assessed as suitable by a Community Corrections officer. This page deals with community service orders in the ACT.

How do court decide whether to make a community service order?

Under Section 88 of the Crimes (Sentencing) Act 2005, before making a CSO , the court must be satisfied that community service work is appropriate for the offender and that it is appropriate for them to perform it.

Under section 89 of the Crimes (Sentencing) Act 2005, the court must receive a pre-sentence report on an offender before making a community service order. In deciding whether to make a community service order, the court must consider:

  • The pre-sentence report;
  • Any medical reports it has been given on the offender;
  • Any evidence given by the person who prepared the pre-sentence report;
  • Any evidence given by a corrections officer about the offender.

Who is not suitable?

Section 90 of the Crimes (Sentencing Act) 2005 outlines the factors that may render an offender unsuitable for a CSO, such as severe alcohol or drug problems, significant psychiatric or psychological disorders, inability to perform the required tasks, a serious criminal record, or difficulties reporting for community service regularly.

If the court’s decision regarding a community service order is contrary to the pre-sentence report’s recommendation, the court must provide a rationale for including or declining the order’s inclusion as a condition of a good behaviour order.

How many hours will I need to do?

Under section 91 of the Crimes (Sentencing) Act 2005, the number of hours of community service required under a good behaviour order must be between 20 hours and 500 hours, except for young offenders who can be ordered to serve a maximum of 200 hours of community service.

How long do I have to do my community work?

If the required number of hours of community service is less than 250, the community service must be completed within a year. If it is 250 hours or more, it must be completed within two years. The number of hours ordered by the court is based on the severity of the offence/s committed.

Will a community service order result in a conviction and a criminal record?

Yes. Under section 87 of the Crimes (Sentencing) Act 2005, an offender must be convicted of the offence before a good behaviour order with a CSO can be imposed. Therefore, a CSO will always be accompanied by a conviction.

If you require legal advice or representation in any legal matter, please contact Go To Court Lawyers.


Michelle Makela

Michelle Makela is a Legal Practice Director at Go To Court Lawyers. She holds a Juris Doctor, a Bachelor of Science (Psychology) and a Master of Criminology. She was admitted to practice in 2006. Michelle has over 15 years experience in the legal industry, working across commercial litigation, criminal law, family law and estate planning. 
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