The court system
There are number of courts and tribunals in Victoria. Their role is to interpret the law, decide who is right or wrong in a dispute, and impose penalties on those that have broken the law.
Each court and tribunal has a jurisdiction. This refers to the area of law or monetary limits that can be heard in that court. A summary of each Victorian court and tribunal can be found below.
Magistrates’ Court of Victoria
The Magistrates’ Court is the first level of the Victorian court system. Sitting in 51 locations, it hears most matters that reach court. There is no jury and each matter is heard and determined by a judicial officer.
See the criminal matters, civil matters, family matters and intervention orders sections for information about Magistrates’ Court processes.
County Court of Victoria
The County Court hears civil, criminal and criminal appeal matters before a judge and / or jury.
The County Court hears more serious criminal matters such as armed robbery, dangerous driving and sex offences. Civil matters more than $100,000 are also heard in the County Court.
See the County Court of Victoria website for more information.
Supreme Court of Victoria
The Supreme Court is the highest court in Victoria. It deals with serious criminal matters and complex civil matters. There are two divisions - the Court of Appeal and the Trial Division.
The High Court of Australia is the only court above the Supreme Court.
See the Supreme Court of Victoria website for more information.
Coroners Court of Victoria
The Coroners Court investigates the causes of deaths and fires. Coroners can only investigate deaths that are unexpected, unnatural, violent or occurred as a result of an accident or injury.
A coroner makes recommendations to help stop similar deaths or fires. Not every death in Victoria is investigated by a coroner.
See the Coroners Court of Victoria website for more information.
Children’s Court of Victoria
The Children’s Court hears matters involving children and young people under the age of 18. It has a Family Division and a Criminal Division.
The Family Division hears matters relating to the care and protection of children, young people at risk and applications for intervention orders.
The Criminal Division deals with children and young people accused of committing crime.
See the Children’s Court of Victoria website for more information.
Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT)
VCAT hears disputes about discrimination, debt, guardianship and the purchase and supply of goods and services.
VCAT generally hears disputes between corporations, tenants and landlords.
See the VCAT website for more information.
This is not a full list of legislation associated with this topic. See the Victorian Government's legislation website for more information.