Melbourne Magistrates' Court
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The Melbourne Magistrates' Court is the largest venue at which the Magistrates' Court of Victoria sits. It is a court in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia that deals with, and dispenses of, a range of criminal and civil matters, including criminal prosecutions, money claims and disputes up to $100,000, and family violence and family law proceedings.
Although the current court was established by the Magistrates' Court Act 1989 (Victoria), Victoria has had magistrates since 1836, when the people of Melbourne elected an arbitrator of the city to resolve minor disputes. Captain William Lonsdale, a police magistrate, was appointed in 1836 and the first case was heard at a location near the present site of Southern Cross station (formerly Spencer Street station).
In 1838, a third court, the Court of Petty Sessions was created. By 1890, all three types of courts were held at 235 locations throughout Victoria.
On 20 January 1914, the new City Court was opened at Russell Street in Melbourne and Phillip Blashki JP was the first Chairman of the City Court Bench. The then Prime Minister, Alfred Deakin, presented Blashki with an illuminated address signed by 30 of the court's solicitors when he retired, aged 70.
Lonsdale and LaTrobe Streets buildings
On January 20, 1914, three courts were opened on the corners of LaTrobe and Lonsdale Streets: the City Court, the District Court, and a third Emergency Court. A feature of the District Court is a wooden canopy over the seat upon which the Magistrate sits. This canopy was taken from old Supreme Court which had originally been located at the site.
The Court relocated to its current address on William Street in 1995. Since then, the Old Magistrates' Court Building has been annexed as part of RMIT University, as Building 20, and is used for lectures.