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Courts of the ACT


Andrew Fraser

The Australian Capital Territory has a two tiered court system. The ACT Magistrates Court is where most matters will begin. There are two other divisions of the ACT Magistrates Court; these are the ACT Childrens Court and Galambany Circle Sentencing Court. As their names suggest, the Childrens Court hears offences alleged against people 17 years of age and under, and the Galambany Circle Sentencing Court hears offences that have been committed by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Senior to the ACT Magistrates Court is the ACT Supreme Court. There are two tiers of the ACT Supreme Court; the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal. Before a matter is heard in the Court of Appeal it must first be heard and determined by the Supreme Court and then appealed to be heard by the Court of Appeal. The Supreme Court is the most senior court of the Australian Capital Territory.

Each of these Courts has jurisdiction to hear and determine different criminal offences. The Court that will hear and determine a certain matter is based on the seriousness of the offence, particularly, the maximum penalty for the offence.

In other states and territories, such as NSW, there is a third Court between the Magistrates Court (or Local Court in NSW) and the Supreme Court, called the District Court. The ACT does not have a District Court so matters can travel straight to the Supreme Court from the Magistrates Court.

Select the name of a court for more information:


where to next?

If you suspect that you may be under investigation, or if you have been charged with an offence, it is vital to get competent legal advice as early as possible. Our lawyers are highly specialised in criminal law and will be able to guide you through the process while dealing with the various authorities related to your matter.

Why Choose Armstrong Legal?

Contact Armstrong Legal:
Canberra: (02) 6288 1100
Brisbane: (07) 3229 4448
Sydney: (02) 9261 4555
Melbourne: (03) 9620 2777