What Are The Statutory Duties Of The Victorian County Court?

981 words - 4 pages

IntroductionThe Victorian County Court is located in the legal precinct of Melbourne's central business district at 250 William st in Melbourne, which is opposite the Supreme Court and the Melbourne Magistrates Court. It currently sits second in the Victorian court heirarchy.The County Court is the State's busiest court, handling most criminal trials and a very major workload of civil cases, it has 46 courtrooms, a jury pool area which can seat up to 400 potential jurors.On May 31 2002, the Victorian Government formally opened the new County Court, which can be seen today, and later that day it was marked with a ceremonial sitting of all judges of the court.The County Court uses state-of-the art technology in courtrooms including audio visual and video conferencing facilities to enhance the management and efficient conduct of cases.The County Court provides a unique opportunity where courtrooms can be used for a range of appropriate uses, such as arbitrations, mediations, court, boards, commissions, seminars and lectures.The County Court Act 1958 also incorporates amendments as at 28 April 2006 (The County Court Act 1958)History Of The County CourtThe Victorian County Court was formed in 1852. It was modelled on the British County Courts which had been established in 1846. The courts principal goal was to handle small civil claims, and eventually this role evolved into both civil and criminal jurisdiction in 1968. Since that time, the courts power has risen and its jurisdiction has widened, proportionate to the claims it addresses.Jurisdictions Of The County CourtCivilUnlike a criminal case where there are defendants and prosecutors, in civil cases the prosecutor is known as the plaintiff. The civil jurisdiction of the County Court covers all claims for personal injuries, irrespective of the amount claimed.Other personal actions where the amount claimed does not exceed $200,000 (unless the parties consent in writing to exceeding that limit and which are not excluded from the County Court by the County Court Act or any other Act.If more than $200,000 is awarded, the plaintiff is entitled to recover the full amount.Claims can be also heard against councils for loss or injury sustained while upon or using roads, land, buildings, etc, under the control of the council or the municipality.Civil JuriesCivil juries of six members can be used, but only the request of the plaintiff of defendant. The civil jury can reach a majority decision.When a civil jury has been requested, the parties must meet the cost of having a jury. (Aldous 2001, p. 231)CriminalThe County Court has jurisdiction to hear all indictable offences, which means a serious criminal offence.Types of cases that cannot be heard in the County Court are Treason, Offences refereed to in Sections 3, 10, 11, and 13 of the Crimes Act 1958, and any other offences which cannot be prosecuted or tried in the County Court. (County Court Act...

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