County Court of Victoria

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County Court of Victoria
County Court of Victoria - Logo.svg
Established 1852
Jurisdiction  Victoria
Location Headquartered in Melbourne, with 12 circuit courts located in Bairnsdale, Ballarat, Bendigo, Geelong, Horsham, Mildura, Morwell, Sale, Shepparton, Wangaratta, Warrnambool and Wodonga
Coordinates 37°48′48″N 144°57′27″E / 37.8134°N 144.9575°E / 37.8134; 144.9575Coordinates: 37°48′48″N 144°57′27″E / 37.8134°N 144.9575°E / 37.8134; 144.9575
Composition method Appointed by Governor on the advice of the Executive Council.
Authorized by County Court Act 1958
Decisions are appealed to Supreme Court
Decisions are heard for appeals from Magistrates' Court
Judge term length Mandatory retirement by age of 70
Chief Judge
Currently Peter Kidd
Since 8 September 2015

The County Court of Victoria (formally "the County Court") was established in 1852 by the County Courts Act 1852. The court has jurisdiction in the State of Victoria, Australia. Its role has since changed significantly.

Since 8 September 2015, the Chief Judge of the County Court is His Honour Chief Judge Peter Kidd, a former Senior Crown Prosecutor.


The Victorian County Court (which holds the same level of seniority as the district courts in other states except Tasmania) was formed in 1852 as the court for the County of Bourke. It was modelled on the British county courts, which were established in 1846. Originally, the Court's principal purpose was to handle small civil claims, but this role evolved (with the partnering of the Court of General Sessions in 1968) into both civil and criminal jurisdiction. Since that time, the Court's jurisdiction has increased considerably.



The County Court is the general trial court for Victoria. It has jurisdiction to hear all indictable criminal matters except treason, murder and manslaughter, which are heard in the Supreme Court of Victoria.

The County Court also hear appeals from the Magistrates' Court regarding criminal cases. These are hearings de novo. (Civil appeals from the Magistrates' Court are only permitted on a point of law and are heard in the Supreme Court Appeals Division.) All decisions of the County Court except appeals from the Magistrates Court can be appealed in the Supreme Court Appeals Division.


The County Court has original jurisdiction in all civil matters. Cases heard in this jurisdiction include commercial matters, building disputes and damages arising from a wide range of incidents including medical negligence, serious injury and defamation. The Court is also able to hear Workcover matters.

The Court's civil jurisdiction also covers actions where jurisdiction is specifically conferred on the County Court by statute:

  • The Administration and Probate Act
  • The Settled Land Act
  • The Adoption Act
  • The Strata Titles Act
  • The Cluster Titles Act
  • The Transfer of Land Act
  • The Property Law Act
  • The Trustee Act[1]

County Court judges[edit]

Name Date appointed
Chief Judge Peter Kidd 8 September 2015[2]
Judge Michael McInerney 21/6/1994
Judge Marilyn Harbison 5/2/1996
Judge Carolyn Douglas 7/10/1997
Judge Rachelle Lewitan 16/5/2001
Judge Graeme Hicks 20/8/2001
Judge John Smallwood 20/8/2001
Judge Susan Cohen 20/8/2001
Judge Meryl Sexton 20/8/2001
Judge Frances Hogan 2/10/2001
Judge Irene Lawson 26/3/2002
Judge Giuseppe Gullaci 4/6/2002
Judge Michael Bourke 10/9/2002
Judge Liz Gaynor 10/9/2002
Judge Phillip Coish 10/9/2002
Judge Jane Campton 22/10/2002
Judge Roy Punshon 8/4/2003
Judge Frances Millane 2/12/2003
Judge Sandra Davis 26/10/2004
Judge Felicity Hampel 9/2/2005
Judge Jeanette Morrish 9/8/2005
Judge Paul Grant 26/4/2006
Judge David Parsons 22/8/2006
Judge Sue Pullen 22/8/2006
Judge Lisa Hannan 3/10/2006
Judge Damian Murphy 24/10/2006
Judge Chris O'Neill 24/7/2007
Judge Duncan Allen 21/8/2007
Judge Philip Misso 11/12/2007
Judge Katherine Bourke 11/12/2007
Judge Jane Patrick 15/4/2008
Judge Peter Wischusen 15/4/2008
Judge Paul Lacava 27/5/2008
Judge Frank Gucciardo 27/5/2008
Judge Mark Taft 29/9/2008

See also[edit]


External links[edit]