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NCJ Number: 50973 Find in a Library
Title: CRIMINAL COURTS (FROM CRIME AND JUSTICE IN AUSTRALIA, 1977, BY DAVID BILES - SEE NCJ-50969)
Author(s): I POTAS
Corporate Author: Australian Institute of Criminology
Australia

Sun Books Pty Ltd
Australia
Date Published: 1977
Page Count: 21
Sponsoring Agency: Australian Institute of Criminology
Canberra ACT, 2601, Australia
Sun Books Pty Ltd
South Melbourne, 3205, Australia
Format: Document
Language: English
Country: Australia
Annotation: AN OVERVIEW OF AUSTRALIA'S CRIMINAL COURTS COVERS CRIMINAL CODES AND THE CLASSIFICATION OF CRIMES, THE HIERARCHY OF THE COURTS, AND THE FUNCTIONS OF EACH TYPE OF COURT.
Abstract: ALTHOUGH AUSTRALIA INHERITED ENGLISH COMMON LAW, MUCH OF THIS LAW HAS BEEN CODIFIED IN STATUTES DEFINING OFFENSES AND PRESCRIBING PENALTIES THAT MAY BE IMPOSED BY THE COURTS. THE PRINCIPAL ACTS DEALING WITH CRIME IN EACH STATE AND TERRITORY AND IN THE COMMONWEALTH ARE CITED. THE COURTS WITH CRIMINAL JURISDICTION IN AUSTRALIA, RANKED FROM LOWEST TO HIGHEST, ARE: COURTS OF SUMMARY JURISDICTION (MAGISTRATES' COURTS), INTERMEDIATE COURTS (DISTRICT OR COUNTY COURTS), SUPREME COURTS, THE HIGH COURT OF AUSTRALIA, AND THE JUDICIAL COMMITTEE OF THE PRIVY COUNCIL. IN ADDITION TO DEALING WITH LESS SERIOUS OFFENSES, MAGISTRATES PRESIDE OVER CHILDREN'S COURTS, COMMITTAL PROCEEDINGS (HEARINGS TO DETERMINE WHETHER THE EVIDENCE IN A CASE WARRANTS A TRIAL BY JUDGE AND JURY), CORONERS' COURTS, AND BAIL PROCEEDINGS. MAGISTRATES PLAY A VITAL ROLE IN THE ADMINISTRATION OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE IN AUSTRALIA, AND SOME JURISDICTIONS ARE INCREASING THAT ROLE BY MAKING MORE OFFENSES TRIABLE SUMMARILY. THE DISTINCTION BETWEEN SUMMARY AND INDICTABLE OFFENSES IS THE MOST IMPORTANT OFFENSE CLASSIFICATION FROM THE POINT OF VIEW OF THE COURTS. SUMMARY HEARINGS GENERALLY ARE QUICKER AND LESS EXPENSIVE THAN TRIALS FOR INDICTABLE OFFENSES, AND MAGISTRATES ARE STRICTLY LIMITED BY LAW AS TO THE PRISON TERMS AND FINES THEY MAY IMPOSE. INTERMEDIATE COURTS DEAL WITH THE BULK OF INDICTABLE OFFENSES. ONLY THE MOST SERIOUS OFFENSES, SUCH AS MURDER OR RAPE, ARE RESERVED FOR THE SUPREME COURTS. THE INTERMEDIATE COURTS ALSO HAVE AN APPELLATE FUNCTION. SUPREME COURTS EXERCISE BOTH ORIGINAL AND APPELLATE JURISDICTION, TOGETHER WITH SUPERVISORY JURISDICTION OVER INFERIOR COURTS. THE HIGH COURT OF AUSTRALIA EXERCISES ORIGINAL JURISDICTION ONLY IN CASES INVOLVING COMMONWEALTH LAWS OR CONSTITUTIONAL MATTERS. THE HIGH COURT'S ORIGINAL JURISDICTION GENERALLY IS EXERCISED BY A SINGLE JUSTICE, WHEREAS APPEALS, WHICH CONSTITUTE THE BULK OF THE HIGH COURT'S WORK, ARE HEARD BY TWO TO SEVEN JUSTICES. THE JUDICIAL COMMITTEE OF THE PRIVY COUNCIL SITS IN LONDON (ENGLAND) AND MAKES RECOMMENDATIONS TO THE QUEEN REGARDING APPEALS FROM COMMONWEALTH HIGH COURTS. APPEALS TO THE COUNCIL FROM AUSTRALIA ARE RARE, BUT THERE REMAINS A NEED TO ESTABLISH THE HIGH COURT OF AUSTRALIA AS THE FINAL COURT OF APPEAL IN ALL MATTERS. DESCRIPTIONS OF THE FUNCTIONS OF EACH COURT, CRIMINAL TRIAL PROCEDURES, AND RULES REGARDING THE MANNER IN WHICH LOWER COURTS ARE BOUND BY THE DECISIONS OF HIGHER COURTS ARE PROVIDED, TOGETHER WITH A CHART SHOWING THE CRIMINAL APPEAL STRUCTURE OF AUSTRALIAN COURTS. (LKM)
Index Term(s): Appellate courts; Australia; Court structure; Court system; Criminal codes; Judicial process; Trial courts
To cite this abstract, use the following link:
http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=50973

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