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The Supreme Court. Supreme Court. The Supreme Court is the highest Victorian Court. The Supreme Court is presided over by a judge referred to as ‘Justice’. The Supreme Court consists of a Trial Division and a Court of Appeal. Trial Division

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supreme court
Supreme Court
  • The Supreme Court is the highest Victorian Court.
  • The Supreme Court is presided over by a judge referred to as ‘Justice’.
  • The Supreme Court consists of a Trial Division and a Court of Appeal.
  • Trial Division
  • The Trial Division has extensive original jurisdiction in both criminal and civil matters.
  • The Supreme Court can hear civil claims for unlimited amounts. Generally, the Supreme Court will hear civil cases involving large claims over $200 000.
  • The Supreme Court’s criminal jurisdiction involves hearing the most serious indictable offences, such as treason, murder and attempted murder.
  • Other types of cases also heard and determined by the Trial Division include:

● some appeals from the Magistrates’ Court and VCAT

● applications for bail, winding up of companies, probate.

supreme court criminal jurisdiction
Supreme Court- Criminal Jurisdiction
  • The Supreme Court hears the most serious criminal cases, such as murder, attempted murder, defensive homicide, child homicide, treason and some corporate offences.
  • All criminal cases where the accused pleads ‘not guilty’ are heard before a judge and jury of 12.
supreme court civil jurisdiction
Supreme Court- Civil Jurisdiction
  • The Supreme Court has unlimited civil jurisdiction and can hear civil cases claiming any amount.
  • A civil case is heard before a judge alone, or if the parties agree, before a judge and a jury of six.
  • The Supreme Court refers some civil cases to mediation so that they can be dealt with quickly, informally and cheaply.
appeals in supreme court
Appeals in Supreme Court

Criminal Cases

  • A single judge of the Supreme Court can hear appeals from the Magistrates Court on a point of law.
  • If the judge decides that the magistrates decision should stand, the appeal is dismissed. If the judge agrees that there has been an error in law and the magistrate’s decision should be quashed (overturned) then the appeal is allowed.
  • Civil Cases
  • In civil cases, a single judge in the Supreme Court can hear appeals from the Magistrates’ Court on a point of law. A single judge can also hear appeals from the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal.
  • Appeal from the Supreme Court- In criminal and civil cases, the Court of Appeal hears appeals from a single judge of the Supreme Court.
court of appeal
Court of Appeal
  • The Court of Appeal is part of the Supreme Court.
  • A Court of Appeal is usually presided over by three judges.
  • At the court’s discretion, it can sit with five justices on ‘matters of significant importance’.
  • It has no original jurisdiction, and is the highest Victorian appeal court.
  • The court of appeal hears;
  • All appeals from the Supreme Court Trial Division
  • All applications for new trials
  • Appeals from the County Court constituted by a judge.

Criminal Jurisdiction

  • A person who has been found guilty in the County Court of Supreme Court may appeal to the Court of Appeal (consisting of three to five justices) on the following grounds:
  • Point of law
  • On a conviction
  • On the severity of the sanction
  • The court may:
  • Dismiss an appeal
  • Allow an appeal
  • Quash the sentence passed at trial and impose a new sentence
  • Order a new trial
court of appeal civil jurisdiction
Court of Appeal- Civil Jurisdiction
  • The Court of Appeal hears appeals in its civil jurisdiction from the County Court and a single judge of the Supreme Court.
  • It can also hear appeals from VCAT.
  • The grounds for appeal in a civil matter include:
  • A point of law
  • Question of fact
  • Amount of damages
case transfer
Case Transfer
  • Case transfer
  • Victorian courts have adopted a process that allows for cases to be transferred between the courts.
  • Cases are transferred to maintain a balance between the workloads of the courts and greater efficiency in the use of judges’ time. A case will be transferred depending on:
  • the amount of ‘judge time’ available
  • the nature and complexity of the case
  • the willingness of the parties to have the case heard in another court.
  • These procedures allow for individual cases or several cases concerned with an area of law to be transferred.
  • When a case is transferred, the court hearing the case will exercise the powers of the court in which the case was originally listed for hearing.
high court of australia
High Court of Australia
  • The High Court, located in Canberra, is the highest court in the Australian hierarchy.
  • The High Court exercises both original and appellate jurisdiction.
  • The High Court hears all matters arising under the Constitution, interpretation of the Constitution, disputes involving the Commonwealth, disputes between states and trial of Commonwealth offences.
  • Seven judges (the Chief Justice and six junior judges or justices) are appointed by the Governor-General-in-Council to preside over the High Court. High Court judges do not have to retire until the age of 70.
  • Appeals from a single judge of the High Court are heard by a Full Court of the High Court.
  • The High Court hears appeals from the Supreme Courts, the Family Court and the Federal Court.
coroner s court
Coroner’s Court
  • The Coroner’s Court is presided over by a coroner who is a magistrate.
  • The main function of a Coroner’s Court is to investigate deaths and establish cause of death.
  • The coroner also has the power to investigate fires.
  • During an inquest, a coroner has the power to summon a person to attend as a witness; to produce documents or other materials that may be used as evidence; to inspect, copy and retain for a reasonable time items submitted at an inquest; and to order people to answer questions on oath or affirmation.
children s court
Children’s Court
  • The jurisdiction of the Children’s Court is limited to criminal offences and welfare matters concerning young people.
  • The Children’s Court hears summary and indictable offences committed by persons under 18 years and under 19 at the time of the hearing.
  • It does not hear cases of murder, manslaughter, arson causing death, or culpable driving causing death.
  • The Children’s Court deals with welfare cases involving young people under 17 years.
  • The Family Division also has jurisdiction to hear applications for intervention orders relating to family violence and stalking where either party is under the age of 18 years.
  • The Children’s Court also has a Children’s Koori Court division to hear matters relating to criminal offending by Koori children and young persons, other than sexual offences.
  • The Children’s Court is presided over by a County Court judge known as the President of the Children’s Court. Specially trained magistrates supported by a registrar, counsellors assisting the magistrate and court liaison officers staff the court.
question time
Question Time 
  • Complete Questions 1-8 on page 282-283