To understand our justice system in Australia as a trained Australian Security Officer, we need to understand the roles of the various courts. The courts system is divided up into five levels in order to interpret the various types of laws. The use of each is determined by the nature (Common or Criminal) and severity of each case.

The Magistrates Court

This court has no jury and is presided over by the Magistrate. It deals with Summary offences ( less serious than most other offences) and the Magistrate can sentence a person to up to three years in prison. Decisions made here can be appealed to a higher court.

The County Court

Here a judge, with or without a jury, deals with indictable offences. This court level has original jurisdiction for civil cases, and can deal with all criminal cases excluding murder, treason and related offences. This is also where criminal appeals from the Magistrates, Childrens’ and Family Courts are heard.

The Supreme Court

Presided over by a single judge with or without a jury, the Supreme Court is the highest in the state. It is divided into two divisions, the Trial Divison and the Court of Appeal. Here the state’s most serious criminal and most complex civil cases are heard, as well as appeals and tribunals.

The Full Court of the Supreme Court

This division involves three judges sitting on a board to hear appeals from judges of the Supreme Court.

The High Court

The High Court of Australia exists to deal with cases of special federal significance. This includes challenges to the constitutional validity of laws and to hearing appeals from Federal, State and Territory courts.


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