The District Court of Western Australia (http://www.districtcourt.wa.gov.au) is an intermediate trial court placing it between the Magistrates Court and the Supreme Court in the Western Australian courts hierarchy.
The District Court deals with serious criminal offences including serious assaults, sexual assaults, serious fraud and commercial theft, burglary and drug offences. The District Court also determines civil claims up to $750,000 and has unlimited jurisdiction in claims for damages for personal injury.
The District Court hears appeals from magistrates in civil actions.
The Magistrates Court (http://www.magistratescourt.wa.gov.au) deals in both civil and criminal jurisdictions. All criminal proceedings against adults begin in this jurisdiction. Magistrates deal with the majority of matters summarily (minor offences which can be tried without a jury).
The Magistrates Court deals with civil matters involving claims up to $75,000. For minor cases, the jurisdictional limit is $7,500.
In addition to these courts, there are a number of specialist jurisdictions and courts in Western Australia.
The Family Court of Western Australia (http://www.familycourt.wa.gov.au) comprises five judges and eight magistrates. It is vested with State and Federal jurisdiction in matters of family law and deals with divorce, property of a marriage or defacto relationship, residence, contact and other matters relating to children, maintenance and adoptions.
The State Administrative Tribunal (http://www.sat.justice.wa.gov.au/) in Western Australia deals with a broad range of administrative, commercial and personal matters. These matters span human rights, vocational regulation, commercial and civil disputes, and development and resources issues.
The Tribunal is the primary place for the review of decisions made by Government agencies, public officials and local governments. It also makes a wide variety of original decisions.
The Children's Court of Western Australia (http://www.childrenscourt.wa.gov.au/) has jurisdiction in respect of offences allegedly committed by children (aged 10 - 17 years) and care & protection matters.
The Coroner's Court (http://www.coronerscourt.wa.gov.au/) has jurisdiction to enquire when a person dies apparently from non-natural causes or where the cause of death is not known. The Coroner must establish the manner in which the death arose, the cause of death, the particulars needed to register the death and the identity of the deceased.
The WA Industrial Relations Commission has jurisdiction over industrial relations matters affecting relations between employers and employees. Appeals from the Full Bench of the Industrial Relations Commission on questions of law only are heard by the Western Australian Industrial Appeal Court, which is a panel of three Supreme Court judges.
The Drug Court is available only to offenders involved in drug-related crime. It aims to direct eligible offenders with drug abuse problems into treatment and supervision programs to break the cycle of substance abuse and criminal behaviour.
Family Violence Courts focus on the safety of victims and seek to address the causal factors of an offender’s violent behaviour. Family Violence Courts, which are headed by a Magistrate, aim to break the cycle of family violence by providing the option of programs to address the offender's violent behaviour before sentencing.Last updated: 19-Jul-2012