Our Criminal Lawyers are experienced in all jurisdictions of common law, including the Local Court, Children’s Court, Drug Court, Coroner’s Court, District Court, Supreme Court, Court of Criminal Appeal, High Court of Australia and the Crime Commission.
Most criminal matters are dealt with by a Magistrate in the Local Court. There is no Jury in the Local Court. It is the Magistrate who hears the evidence, makes findings and imposes penalties.
If your matter is a more serious offence that carries higher penalties, the matter will likely be referred to the District Court.
The Supreme Court sits above the District Court and deals with the most serious matters including all murder charges.
Court of Criminal Appeal
A person who has been convicted or sentenced by a Supreme Court or District Court judge may appeal to the Court of Criminal Appeal. In some instances, an appeal can also be made from the Land and Environment Court in its criminal jurisdiction.
An appeal in this jurisdiction is ordinarily heard by three judges, although five judges may sit when complex legal matters arise. If a decision is not unanimous, the majority decision is upheld.
High Court of Australia
The High Court is the highest court in Australia and its decisions are final.
To appeal to the High Court from the Court of Criminal Appeal, an applicant must first obtain special permission from the High Court. There is no automatic right to have an appeal heard by the High Court and this means special leave by the demonstration of exceptional reasons must be obtained.
This is a highly complex process and requires merit advice and an experienced legal team of both solicitors and barristers.
The Parramatta Drug Court is a specialist jurisdiction that takes referrals from the Local and District Courts of offenders who are dependent on drugs and who are eligible for a Drug Court program.
The State Coroner’s Court ensures that all deaths, suspected deaths, fires and explosions are properly investigated. If necessary, an inquest into the death is held. Coroners can also refer matters to the ODPP for election on whether criminal proceedings should be pursued.
The Children’s Court deals with minors involved in criminal cases as well as applications for apprehended violence orders, applications for compulsory schooling orders and cases involving the care and protection of children. We take a sensitive approach to such matters, and work with children, their parents and police to get the best outcome.