Magistrates' Court of Victoria
The Magistrates’ Court handles criminal, civil and some family law matters. Magistrates' Courts sit in 51 locations and they hear most of the cases that reach court in Victoria.
The Magistrates’ Court is headed by the Chief Magistrate. There are no juries in the Magistrates’ Court – each case is determined by a single judicial officer.
Civil disputes up to the value of $100,000 can be heard in the Magistrates' Court. For example: claims for debts; claims for damages for breach of contract, damage to property or for injury; and limited neighbourhood matters such as fencing disputes.
Most disputes involving larger amounts are heard in the County or Supreme Courts, but in some circumstances the Magistrates' Court can hear cases involving an unlimited amount.
Criminal matters that are heard in the Magistrates’ Court include all summary offences, which are less serious offences than those heard by the County and Supreme Courts. For example: traffic offences, infringements and intervention orders.
The Magistrates’ Court also hears some more serious offences, but only where the accused has elected not to have their case heard before a jury.
Committal hearings are conducted by the Magistrates' Court, where a magistrate decides if there is enough evidence for a serious case to proceed to the County or Supreme Court. The Magistrates' Court also conducts bail hearings.
The Magistrates' Court includes specialist divisions:
The Magistrates' Court also runs the Assessment and Referral Court List for criminal cases where the person accused of a crime has a mental illness or cognitive impairment.