Aboriginal Legal Service (NSW/ACT)

Going to court

ALS lawyers represent Aboriginal people in courts across NSW and ACT.

Getting to court - Tips on getting the best outcome

Fact Sheets about going to court

 
 

WHEN IS YOUR COURT DATE?

Click on the links below to find out when your court date is.

NSW Local Court
Court Lists   
Address and Phone Numbers

     

ACT Magistrates Court
Court Lists
Address and Phone Number

NSW District Court
Court Lists
Address and Phone Numbers

 

ACT Supreme Court
Court Lists
Address and Phone Number

NSW Supreme Court
Court Lists
Address and Phone Number

 

Still not sure of your court date? 
Phone your local courthouse OR
Phone ALS on 1800 765 767

     

WHERE'S YOUR LOCAL COURT? 

 


 

 



 


 


View ALS Court Circuit in a larger map

 

 

KEY PEOPLE IN COURT

 

Judge/Magistrate  - Presides over a criminal trial
- Determines the legal guilt or innocence of the defendant, or directs the jury in its role to do so
- Determines appropriate punishment for a defendant who is convicted of an offence
   
Jury - Represents the community
- Determines the legal guilt or innocence of the defendant
- Fulfils the due process right to be judged by one's peers
   
Defence counsel  - Acts as legal representative on behalf of the defendant
   
Prosecution/Crown  - Presents the case against the defendant Acts on behalf of the state
   
Defendant - Individual accused of committing a criminal offence(s)
   
Witness - Individual who may have seen, or has other relevant information about, a criminal offence
   
Complainant - Individual against whom the offence was committed


 

 

What's the difference between the courts?


Local Court 

This is where it all begins. If you get done for a crime like stealing a toothbrush, breaking an AVO, driving without a licence, swearing at a policeman or tackling a stranger, this is where you'll end up.
 
The Local Court is the starting point for all criminal cases. A Magistrate will hear what you or your lawyer have to say, and then they'll make a decision. There are no Judges or Juries here. 
 
Local Courts deal with matters like:
 

CRIMINAL PROSECUTIONS AND COMMITTAL HEARINGS 

  • These are called ‘summary offences’. An offence means a person has broken the law or committed a crime. Summary offences include offences relating to traffic, minor stealing, offensive behaviour and some types of assault.
     

APPREHENDED VIOLENCE ORDERS - AVO'S 

ASSAULTS  

  • An assault is a physical attack. The Local Court will hear offences like common assault, assault occasioning actual bodily harm, and the assault of police officers.
     

CRIMINAL PROSECUTIONS AND CARE AND PROTECTION MATTERS INVOLVING CHILDREN UNDER 18 YEARS 

  • Local Courts have specialist Children’s Courts that deal only with matters involving children. 
     

FAMILY LAW 

  • Family law issues can be dealt with in the Local Court. There are however many Family Law cases that are decided by the Family Court of Australia and Federal Magistates Court.
     

CORONIAL INQUIRIES 

  • Coronial inquiries investigate deaths to find out the likely cause of the death. They also investigate fires.
     

CIVIL ACTIONS 

  • This is when you go to court to try and get back money owing to you. If it's in the Local Court, the amount must be less than $60,000.

 



District Court

This is the middle court. It's a trial court. In this court, the facts of the case are presented and the Judge will make a 'finding'.

The District Court deals with lots of criminal matters like:
 

OFFENCES AGAINST THE PERSON 

  • This includes offences like manslaughter, malicious wounding to inflict grievous bodily harm and dangerous driving.
     

SEXUAL ASSAULTS

  • This includes offences like sexual assault, indecent assault and carnal knowledge.
     

OFFENCES RELATING TO PROPERTY

  • This includes offences like robbery from a person, break enter and steal, larceny (stealing) and embezzlement (taking money that someone entrusted to you and using it for something else).
     

OFFENCES INVOLVING DRUGS

  • This includes offences like the importation of heroin and other drugs into Australia, supply prohibited drug and possess prohibited drug.
     

OFFENCES INVOLVING FRAUD

  • This includes offences like passing valueless cheques, obtaining money by deception and forgery.
     

SEVERITY APPEALS 

  • This is where you can appeal against the sentence given to you at the Local Court.
     

ALL GROUNDS APPEAL 

  • This is where you can appeal convictions of the Local Court.
     


Supreme Court of NSW and ACT

The Supreme Court of NSW and the ACT Supreme Court are the highest courts of NSW and ACT.

They deal with the most serious criminal cases. 

They also hear appeals from decisions made by the lower State courts or single Judges of the Supreme Court.

 



Family Court of Australia

The Family Court is a specialist court dealing with family and child support disputes.
 

 



Federal Magistrates Court

The Federal Magistrates Court deals with less complex disputes under Commonwealth laws.

That includes family law and child support, administrative law, bankruptcy law, discrimination, workplace relations and consumer protection law. 

 



Federal Court of Australia

The Federal Court deals with matters in which an injunction is sought against an officer of the Commonwealth Government. It also deals with matters arising under Commonwealth laws, including bankruptcy, corporations, industrial relations, taxation and trade practices laws. 

The Federal Court of Australia hears appeals from the decisions of single judges of the Court and decisions (except family law decisions) of the Federal Magistrates Court. It also hears appeals from some decisions of State and Territory Supreme Courts.

Watch these films: 
How a Case Travels through the Federal Court
The Court Room
The Role of Judicial Officers in Australia
The Federal Court and the Australian System of Justice

 



High Court of Australia

The High Court is the final court of appeal in Australia. 

The court has a Chief Justice and six other judges. 

One of the High Court’s principal functions is to decide disputes about the meaning of the Constitution.

The High Court is also the final court of appeal within Australia in all other types of cases, including those dealing with purely State matters such as the interpretation of State criminal laws.