Understanding Australian Court Cases and Judicial System

The judicial system of Australia is rooted in and derived from English Common Law as it developed in Great Britain over the past centuries. Australia was colonized by the British. That nation brought its legal system with it to this new southern hemisphere nation.

Australian court cases are handled at several levels. Let’s start with those at the lower end of a multi-tiered legal system.

Local and Magistrate Courts

These courts handle minor legal matters and are presided over by a magistrate (as opposed to a judge). The role of the latter varies somewhat from state to state.

Australia is made up of six states. For example, 90% of criminal matters in New South Wales are dealt with by a Local Court. By comparison, in the Australian Capital Territory, a Magistrates Court will handle criminal cases but only to determine if the case should be sent to a higher court.

District and County Court

These are the next level up from Local and Magistrate Courts. This is where cases are heard by a judge rather than a magistrate. District and County Courts also preside over appeals from the lower courts. Finally, District and County Court is where jury trials are held in criminal matters but not major crimes like murder.

Supreme Court

In the U.S., the Supreme Court is the highest in the nation. In Australia, the Supreme Court is the highest court within each state. Here is where the more serious criminal matters are tried with a jury.

The Supreme Court system hears appeals from lower courts. Such appeals can be questions of fact, such as when a judge or magistrate is said to have made an error. They also deal in questions of law. In the latter incidence, an appellant contends that a judge or magistrate erred when applying the law.


Federal Court

Federal Courts preside over criminal matters that result from federal legislation. This legislation applies to all states and territories.


High Court

The High Court in Australia is equivalent to the Supreme Court in the U.S. It’s the highest court in the land. It handles appeals from lower courts and decides landmark cases of primary social, legal, and cultural significance in Australia.

Defamation Laws and Social Media

Despite the relative anonymity internet users enjoy, there is a common yet misguided belief that anything can be published online without legal consequences. People enjoy greater connectivity and freedom of expression than ever before through social media platforms, yet they can still be liable for damage and defamation as a result of content they publish online. Defamation in social media doesn’t take into account whether someone has been offended or insulted, says Melbourne solicitor Glenn Duker. It instead focuses on whether the perception of the offended person has been harmed through the publication of words or pictures. If you believe you’ve been defamed online and wish to press charges, the following information may be useful.

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Why You Need a Property Lawyer like Glenn Duker

After countless inspections, you’ve finally found your dream home and are ready to make an offer. But this is where it can get tricky. Your home is likely the most important financial investment you’ll ever make, and not knowing your legal rights can have profound consequences. That’s why you need the experience and legal advice of a property lawyer like Glenn Duker to assist you throughout the process.

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Advice on Finding a Family Lawyer from Glenn Duker

Family law can be complicated. Because matters that involve family members or loved ones require sensitivity and discretion, it’s important that you put your case in the hands of a lawyer you trust. Whether you’re faced with divorce, resolving disputes, drawing up wills or other family matters, you’ll want a specialist in family law on your case, like Glenn Duker. Here are some tips on how to find the right lawyer for your needs.

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Commercial Litigation – Tips from Glenn Duker

Commercial litigation is a sector of law that focuses on disputes within or between businesses. Disputes are common with businesses, and parties often either seek a speedy negotiated settlement or choose to litigate their disputes in court. Glenn Duker, a lawyer based in Melbourne, has extensive experience in effectively dealing with commercial disputes. From pre-litigation advice and negotiations to mediations and court appearances, he’s assisted parties in all stages of the process.

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