The Supreme Court of the Australian Capital Territory is the superior court for the Australian Capital Territory (ACT). It has unlimited jurisdiction within the territory in civil matters (although it usually only hears matters involving more than A$250,000), and hears the most serious criminal matters. Criminal trials may be heard before a judge and jury, or by judge alone at the election of the accused. All matters are heard before a single judge, including appellate matters from the Magistrates Court, the Children's Court, and the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal. In the Australian court hierarchy it is one of eight state and territory Supreme Courts having unlimited jurisdiction in their respective parts of Australia. Whilst the Supreme Court is the highest ACT court in the Australian court hierarchy, an appeal by special leave can be made to the High Court of Australia.
The court was established on 1 January 1934 by the Seat of Government Supreme Court Act 1933 (Cth), since amended and now known as the Supreme Court Act 1933 (ACT). The first judge of the court was Lionel Lukin. The first Chief Judge was Russell Walter Fox, appointed when the office was created in 1977. It was substituted with the office of Chief Justice in 1982 and the first Chief Justice was Richard Blackburn.
Pursuant to section 37E of the Supreme Court Act 1933 (ACT), the court is known as the Court of Appeal when it exercises its appellate jurisdiction under Part 2A of the Act.
The courthouse includes two jury courts and in December 2013 The Canberra Times reported that the court would soon be upgraded to meet the requirements of the city's judicial system over the next 50 years.
Judges of the Supreme Court of the Australian Capital Territory