2 JurisdictionJurisdiction refers to the power, or authority of a court to hear and determine specific disputes.Original jurisdiction refers to the power to hear a case in its first instanceFor example the jurisdiction of the Magistrates’ Court is:Original criminal:Original civil:
3 JurisdictionAppellate jurisdiction refers to the power to hear a case on appeal from a lower courtFor example the appellate jurisdiction of the County Court isAppellate criminal:Appellate civil:
5 Federal Courts Federal Courts operate at a national level. These include:the High Courtthe Federal Courtthe Family Court (operate within each state except WA)Courts within the Victorian hierarchy may interact with these courts depending on the nature of the case they are hearing.All courts in the Victorian hierarchy are bound by precedent set by the High Court***You do not need to know the jurisdiction of these courts***
6 The Court HierarchyThe different courts in Australia are ranked in a hierarchy with the higher courts hearing the more serious or complex cases.We do this for a number of reasons….
7 Reasons for a hierarchy Doctrine of precedent- The existence of a court hierarchy allows for the operation of the doctrine of precedent (lower courts must follow the legal reasoning behind decisions made in higher courts) *Without the existence of a court hierarchy; the doctrine of precedent could not operate*
8 Reasons for a hierarchy Appeals- The court hierarchy allows for a system of appeals to operate effectively. Within the system, if a party is dissatisfied with their outcome in a lower court, they can appeal to a higher court who can review their case and potentially overrule a decision.
9 Reasons for a hierarchy Specialisation- A court hierarchy enables the worlaod of the courts to be divided. This allows each court to develop a level of expertise . The court processes are also streamlined to provide for specialised legal personnel and legal procedures. Judges and Magistrates in each court have a specialised understanding of the law in relation to the types of cases that they hear. This promotes timely resolution of disputes. eg: Supreme Court Trial Division– murder related offences Family Court– family disputes and custodial issues.
10 Reasons for a hierarchy Administrative Convenience- A court hierarchy makes efficient use of the limited financial and physical resources available. This reduces the amount of delays by providing a means for allocating cases according to their seriousness and complexity. The jurisdiction of each court is clearly established an people do not need to waste time and money initiating an action in an inappropriate court. eg minor cases are heard by the Magistrates’ Court
11 Problems with a hierarchy There can be possible confusion as to which court hears which particular caseMore administration and personnel required to run the systemPrecedent can be distinguished, overruled, disapproved or reversed by higher court and may not be appropriateAppeals add to the cost of cases