Although there are many differences between the court systems in the different States and Territories of Australia, the undlying structure of each Supreme Court is similar. Thus in Tasmania the Supreme Court is:
The State Supreme Court consists of the Chief Justice, five puisne judges, one Master and one Registrar.
The Supreme Court of Tasmania is a court of general jurisdiction which means that every matter is within its jurisdiction unless it is expressly excluded.
The Magistrates Court in Tasmania is a court of summary jurisdiction; it hears and determines complaints of simple offences such as traffic and parking offences, drunkenness offences, offences against public order orsafety and public health offences. In addition to its criminal jurisdiction the Magistrates Court also has Divisions dealing with:
Within the Magistrates Court there are a number of Tribunals dealing with specialist areas of law. These are:
Other Tribunals with the State Legal system include:
Matters heard in the Magistrates Courts and Tribunals can be appealed to the Supreme Court where they will be heard by a single judge. These are called Lower Court Appeals. Lower Court Appeal decisions can be appealed to the Full Court of the Supreme Court of Tasmania (for civil cases) and the Court of Criminal Appeal (for criminal cases). These appeals are heard by three judges of the Supreme Court.
Appeal cases from both the Court of Criminal Appeal and the Full Court can then be appealed to the High Court. The High Court's decision is final and no further appeal can be made.