Close search

Search the handbook

  • 03 The Justice System
  • The Court System
handbook symbol Tasmanian Legal

In this chapter Expand current chapter list below

The Court System

Why are some crimes heard before a judge only and others before a judge and jury? This chapter explores how the courts are structured, the roles of different actors in the process and the law that governs how the courts operate.


The court system in Tasmania has four streams.

Stream 1: for “lesser” criminal offences: the Magistrates Courts, Tasmania

Stream 2: for serious criminal offences, under the Criminal Code, for example, the Supreme Court of Tasmania

Stream 3: federal offences, such as customs offences, the Federal Court or the Federal Circuit Court (lesser offences)

Stream 4: family law disputes: the Family Court of Australia

For civil offences – meaning, between citizens rather than state vs citizen, these may be heard in the Magistrates Court, Supreme Court or Federal Courts. For example, a dispute about a rental property lease is likely to be mediated through the Magistrates Court.

The Jury System

The right of ‘trial by jury’ is an important safeguard against the power of the state over people’s lives. The primary role of trial by jury is to enable ordinary people to decide on the guilt or innocence of those charged with crimes against the laws of the land, instead of judges or magistrates...

The Courts

Just as Australians live with two sets of law, federal and state, these laws are administered and adjudicated by two separate court systems. Attempts to integrate the two systems have had only limited success. Both federal and state systems have ‘tribunals’, ‘boards’ and ‘commissions’ which deal ...

The Commonwealth Courts

This chapter still needs a description to be added

The State Courts of Tasmania

This chapter still needs a description to be added

Page last updated 19/03/2018

Previous Section Aspects of Crime and Punishment
Next Section Appearing in Court