Unit 4 Outcome 1 - The Supreme Court

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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
 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
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
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
Criminal Cases
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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
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1)
2)
3)
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:
1)
Point of law
2)
On a conviction
3)
On the severity of the sanction

The court may:
1)
Dismiss an appeal
2)
Allow an appeal
3)
Quash the sentence passed at trial and impose a new sentence
4)
Order a new trial
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:
1) A point of law
2) Question of fact
3) Amount of damages

Case Transfer
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1)
2)
3)
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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
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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
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
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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.
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Question Time 
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Complete Questions 1-8 on page 282283
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