Magistrates Court of Tasmania
The Magistrates Court of Tasmania is the main day-to-day court in the Australian state of Tasmania and exists in accordance with the laws handed down by the Tasmanian Parliament. The court is an inferior court to the Supreme Court of Tasmania and, in terms of the Australian court hierarchy, is at the bottom level.
Jurisdiction of the court
The court has jurisdiction in a number of areas, including minor and moderately serious criminal matters, civil claims involving less than $50,000 or where the parties consent, child protection, youth justice, and coronial matters.
The majority of the court's workload is in minor (or "summary") criminal matters; the court also has jurisdiction over serious (or "indictable") criminal matters where the value of the property involved, or the nature of the crime, mean that the matter may be heard by the Magistrates Court of Tasmania according to Tasmanian law. Criminal matters in the Magistrates Court are heard by a single magistrate sitting alone and do not involve a jury.
Serious criminal matters are heard by the Supreme Court of Tasmania after having been "committed" to the Supreme Court by the Magistrates' Court. This committal involves an examination of whether or not the defendant has a case to answer - however, in practice, this is normally a procedural step that grant the prosecution and defence an opportunity to examine the details of the case.
The court also deals with civil disputes involving property valued at less than $50,000 and property disputes involving de facto relationships (where the parties agree to the settlement proposed). Disputes involving $5,000 or less are heard by the Magistrates' Court's Minor Civil Claims division.
Appeals from the Magistrates' Court of Tasmania in all matters are to a single justice of the Supreme Court of Tasmania.
Structure of the court
The Magistrates' Court of Tasmania operates from four courthouses in Tasmania, located in Burnie, Devonport, Launceston and Hobart. All of these courthouses operate on a full-time basis and provide circuit courts to more regional and remote parts of the state of Tasmania.
The current list of magistrates of the Magistrates' Court of Tasmania are:
- Magistrate D J Jones
- Magistrate M Brett
- Magistrate M Bartlett
- Chief Magistrate M R Hill
- Magistrate S F Mollard
- Magistrate O McTaggart
- Deputy Chief Magistrate M Daly
- Magistrate CP Webster
- Magistrate G Hay
- Magistrate C Rheinberger
- Magistrate S J Cooper
- Magistrate T J Hill
- Magistrate R J Marron
- Magistrate S J N Brown