Supreme Court of Victoria
|Supreme Court of Victoria|
Arms of the Supreme Court of Victoria
|Composition method||Appointed by Governor on the advice of the Executive Council.|
|Authorized by||Victorian Constitution|
|Decisions are appealed to||Court of Appeal, High Court of Australia|
|Judge term length||mandatory retirement by age of 70|
|No. of positions||61|
|Chief Justice of Victoria|
|Currently||The Honourable Chief Justice Marilyn Warren AC|
|Since||26 November 2003|
The Supreme Court of Victoria is the superior court for the State of Victoria, Australia. It was founded in 1852, and is a superior court of common law and equity, with unlimited jurisdiction within the state. Those courts lying below it include the County Court of Victoria and the Magistrates' Court of Victoria. The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal, which is not a court, serves a judicial function. Above it lies the High Court of Australia. This places it around the middle of the Australian court hierarchy. The building itself is on the Victorian Heritage Register.
- 1 Architecture
- 2 Jurisdiction of Supreme Court
- 3 Locations
- 4 Current Judges
- 5 See also
- 6 References
- 7 External links
The Law Courts, 192-228 William Street, are part of a complex of buildings which together with the Supreme Court Library and Court of Appeal are known as the Melbourne Law Courts. Architects AL Smith and AE Johnson won a competition for their design and prepared the working drawings. The competition created a scandal because one of the partners, Johnson, was on the judging panel. Johnson resigned from the Public Works Department and joined Smith in a long and successful partnership. J J Clark and P Kerr undertook the detail drawings for the Public Works Department, which also supervised the works. Erected in 1874-84, the Law Courts comprise two storeys constructed of brick on Malmsbury bluestone footings and faced with Tasmanian freestone. The first court sitting was held in February 1884. In plan the Law Courts comprise a square block of buildings each street facades measuring 85 metres. The design is reputed to be based on the design of James Gandon's Four Courts building in Dublin, following a suggestion to Smith and Johnson by Chief Justice Sir William Stawell. One court occupies each of the four corners of the square, and the remaining four courts occupy the lateral north and south wings. The remaining areas occupied by administrative offices and Judges' Chambers, all enclosing a circular courtyard. A covered carriageway leads from Lonsdale Street to the central courtyard. In the courtyard sits the Supreme Court Library. Stylistically the design draws on the classicism of the Renaissance. The three floors appropriate to the Renaissance palazzo form of a base, piano nobile and attic storey. The parapet hides the roof. The recessed central bay to the William Street facade is treated as a double open arcade of Ionic and Composite columns. Some severity is lent to the building by the plentiful use of blind windows and niches. A variety of treatments are applied to the window openings and aedicules, variously being round arched, broken pediments or flat arched. The Law Courts design included provision for an integrated heating and ventilation system.
The Supreme Court of Victoria is located on the corner of Lonsdale and William Streets, Melbourne; adjacent to the Melbourne Magistrates' Court and the County Court of Victoria. These buildings known collectively as the Melbourne Law Courts comprise a complex of two story brick constructions, resting on a Malmbury bluestone and Tasmanian freestone base. The combination stone base is acknowledged for the expert masonry craftsmanship used in its construction. The site is contained within a square block with a court positioned at each of its corners. Additional courts are located along the lateral, north and south wings. Administration offices and Judges Chambers enclose a circular central courtyard from which rises the Supreme Court Library with its central tower and dome.
Key influences and design approach
Johnson and Smith were English immigrants who designed public buildings in a Classical style. Their design for the Melbourne Supreme Court is no exception, and draws on the style of Renaissance revival architecture. The Library tower is particularly expressive of this style with its three floors appropriating to form a base, piano nobile and attic story. A former Chief Justice, Sir William Stawell, suggested that the building may have had design origins in James Gandon's Four Courts building in Dublin.
Jurisdiction of Supreme Court
The Supreme Court has two divisions - the Trial Division and the Court of Appeal.
The Trial Division sits with one judge, and usually acts as a court of original jurisdiction for serious criminal matters such as murder, attempted murder, corporate offences and certain conspiracy charges, and civil matters which are considered to involve greater complexity or amounts of money more than would be appropriate to have determined in the Magistrates' Court (whose civil jurisdictional limit is $100,000) or County Court (whose jurisdiction has since the beginning of 2007 been unlimited as to amount). The Trial Division also acts as an appeal court from the Magistrates' Court on questions of law, and appeals from the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal on points of law, except against an order of the President or Vice-President of the Tribunal. It also hears federal indictable offences such as treason.
The Court of Appeal hears appeals from the County Court and the Trial Division, as well as appeals on points of law from the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal against the order of the President or Vice-President, and usually consists of a panel of three Judges of Appeal. In rare cases where it is sought to overrule or reconsider the correctness of a previous Court of Appeal decision, it can sit with five judges.
The main buildings for the Supreme Court are located at the corner of William and Lonsdale Streets in Melbourne and in nearby buildings.
The Supreme Court also does circuits to Ballarat, Geelong, Warrnambool, Hamilton, Horsham, Bendigo, Mildura, Shepparton, Wangaratta, Wodonga, Sale and Morwell. In these locations the Court uses the facilities of the local Magistrates' Court.
As of September 2012 (appointment date in brackets):
- Marilyn Warren (25 November 2003)
President of the Court of Appeal
- Chris Maxwell (18 July 2005)
Judges of the Court of Appeal
- Mark Weinberg (28 July 2008)
- Pamela Tate (16 September 2010)
- Robert Osborn (7 February 2012)
- Simon Whelan (Trial Division from 17 March 2004; 16 October 2012)
- Phillip Priest (23 October 2012)
- Joseph Santamaria (20 August 2013)
- David Beach (Trial Division from 5 September 2008; 22 October 2013)
- Emilios Kyrou (Trial Division from 15 May 2008; 29 July 2014)
- Anne Ferguson (Trial Division from 3 May 2010; 12 August 2014)
- Stephen William Kaye (Trial Division from 2003; 3 February 2015)
- Stephen McLeish (5 March 2015)
Judges of the Trial Division
- Elizabeth Hollingworth (7 June 2004)
- Kevin Bell (10 February 2005)
- Kim Hargrave (18 March 2005)
- Anthony Cavanough (8 May 2006)
- Ross Robson (8 August 2007)
- Jack Forrest (8 August 2007)
- Lex Lasry (23 October 2007)
- James Judd (6 March 2008)
- Peter Vickery (6 May 2008)
- Terry Forrest (13 October 2009)
- Karin Emerton (13 October 2009)
- Clyde Croft (9 November 2009)
- Michael Sifris (19 July 2010)
- Peter Almond (28 July 2010)
- John Dixon (16 September 2010)
- Cameron Macaulay (22 September 2010)
- Kate McMillan (8 March 2012)
- Gregory Garde (30 May 2012)
- Geoffrey John Digby (19 November 2012)
- James Dudley Elliott (25 March 2013)
- Timothy James Ginnane (4 June 2013)
- Melanie Sloss (30 July 2013)
- Michael Croucher (30 July 2013)
- Joanne Cameron (12 August 2014)
- Christopher William Beale (2 September 2014)
- Michael Phillip McDonald (16 September 2014)
- Rita Zammit (3 February 2015)
- Peter Julian Riordan (10 March 2015)
- Jane Dixon (judge) (17 August 2015)
- Andrew John Keogh (4 April 2016)
- Peter Barrington Kidd (24 May 2016)
- Maree Evelyn Kennedy (25 July 2016)
- Judiciary of Australia
- List of Judges of the Supreme Court of Victoria
- List of Victorian Supreme Court cases
- "Law Courts". Victorian Heritage Council.
- "Law Courts: 192-228 William Street and 459-505 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne". Walking Melbourne. 2012.
- "Locations". Supremecourt.vic.gov.au. Retrieved 2017-05-22.
- "Judges". Supreme Court of Victoria.