Explain which courts exist in your State or Territory’s criminal court hierarchy and give a brief description of each court.
In Western Australia (WA) state ‘Supreme Court of Western Australia’, is the highest court that hears serious criminal issues. The court has a ‘General Division’ (handles serious criminal issues) and ‘Appeal Division’ (hears criminal appeals from ‘State Administrative Tribunal’, ‘District Court’ and ‘General Division’). ‘Family Court of Western Australia’ integrates both functions of the superior court and those of the lower court (established following enactment of Family Court Act (WA, 1975))where it is made up of ‘Family Court’ (made up its own judges) and ‘Magistrate Court’ (made up of family law magistrates). The main mandate of the court is to handle matters relating to the settlement of marital properties, divorce, surrogacy and adoption, and child custody. The District Court of Western Australia has criminal jurisdiction to hear the serious and indictable criminal offences that attract a 20 years’ imprisonment maximum penalty and a civil jurisdiction to hear claims that go up to $750 000. Magistrates Court of Western Australia serves as the first tier Western Australian Court (mandated in Magistrates Court (Civil Proceedings) Act 2004 (WA)) with jurisdictions over both criminal (that court be decided by a court of summary jurisdiction or a court of petty sessions) and civil matters.
- Briefly, describe the following court hearings and explain their main purpose:
- Jury Trial
This is a legal proceeding where a jury is tasked with the mandate of either making the fact-finding or makes a decision that gives direction to judge. Section 80 of the Australian Constitution Act stipulates that the trail for