Court cases in Australia

Find information about court cases, including law reports, judgments, newspaper articles, police records and commentaries.

Which court?

There is a hierarchy which determines which types of cases are heard in each court. In Victoria, the Magistrates’ Court sits at the bottom of this hierarchy. Above it is the County Court, then the Supreme Court. Australia's highest court is the High Court. If a verdict is appealed, then the appeal will usually be made in the next highest court in the hierarchy. For more information visit the Everyday Law, Victoria Legal Aid and Court Services Australia websites.

How a court case is decided

Judges base their decisions on:
- laws described in legislation (statute law)
- an understanding of legal principles based on community custom (common law)
- decisions made in the past about similar legal cases (precedent).

For a description of the relationship between these aspects of the law, see the sections labeled 'Relationship between statute law and common law' and 'Doctrine of precedent' in the webpage The structure of the court system.

Going to court

To find out what happens during a typical court case, and what you can do to prepare for your day in court, head to our page on finding legal advice.

Disclaimer

Staff at the State Library of Victoria do not offer legal advice. Every effort is made to provide up to date, accurate and relevant legal information but this is not intended to replace qualified legal advice.

This guide includes information about finding legal advice.