The Magistrates Court is the first level of the Court system and deals with most legal disputes in Victoria.
It has seven divisions:
- The Industrial Division (employee disputes)
- Neighbourhood Justice
- Drug Court
- Koori Court
- Family Violence Court
- Municipal Electoral A body set up to hear and decide disputes, usually with less formality and less strict rules of evidence than in a court proceeding.
- Victims of Crime Assistance A body set up to hear and decide disputes, usually with less formality and less strict rules of evidence than in a court proceeding.
It has ‘Original jurisdiction’ gives a court authority to hear a case first. This means that if you have a legal issue and you want to take it to court, your first attempt must be at the court with ‘Original Jurisdiction’ over the issue. Note: ‘Original jurisdiction’ can also be called ‘first instance jurisdiction.’ over:
- Less serious criminal offences (summary offences), such as: traffic offences, property damage, common assault or offensive behaviour
- Burglary and theft (if the accused agrees)
- Determining if there is enough evidence in a serious criminal offence that the accused need to stand trial (committal proceedings)
- Civil matters with claims under $100,000
- Intervention orders
- Family violence matters (for most issues)
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