The Supreme Court’s information hub provides an insight into the work of Court.
My name is Anne Ferguson, and I am the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Victoria.
The Supreme Court hears some of the most serious criminal cases and most complex civil cases in Victoria. It also hears some appeals from Victorian courts and tribunals.
You may be familiar with some of the matters that are heard and decided here. But there are also things about our court you may not be aware of.
As Chief Justice, I want to make sure that what judges do, how we do it and why we make the decisions we make are easily understood by all people.
This Virtual Information Hub provides an insight into how the Court serves the community.
It gives you a glimpse into judicial decisions by providing access to judgment summaries, sentences and recordings of some proceedings. You can download the podcast we made about the Court, Gertie's Law, or watch new lawyers being admitted to practise.
You can also explore how the next generation of lawyers in VCE are building their own knowledge about how the Court operates or delve into our rich history.
I hope you find what you need and take something new away with you.
Thank you for paying a virtual visit to the Supreme Court of Victoria.
What's on at the Court
The Supreme Court hears some of the most serious criminal cases and most complex civil cases in the State of Victoria. It also hears some appeals from Victorian courts and tribunals. The Court has two distinct divisions, the Trial Division and the Court of Appeal. The Trial Division is made up of three divisions: the Criminal Division, the Common Law Division and the Commercial Court. Since COVID-19 began, many matters have been heard in virtual hearings.
The public can view many proceedings first hand by visiting the Court in Melbourne or when it is sitting and hearing matters while on circuit across the state, or via public live streaming. You can also watch lawyers being admitted to practise law or judges’ welcome and farewell ceremonies via our virtual video library.
To find out what matters are scheduled to be heard visit the Daily Hearing List.
The Work of the Court
The Court serves the community by upholding the law through just, independent and impartial decision making and dispute resolution. It is made up of two divisions – the Court of Appeal and Trial Division.
The Court of Appeal is the highest court in the state and determines whether a trial was conducted fairly, and whether the law was applied correctly. It hears criminal or civil appeals of decisions made in the Trial Division of the Supreme Court, the County Court of Victoria and some matters from the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal.
In 2020-21, 371 cases were finalised in the Court of Appeal. The median time to finalise matters decreased from the previous year (from 10.4 to 9.2 months for criminal matters and 9.0 to 8.6 months for civil matters) and clearance rate targets for both criminal and civil appeals were met.
The Trial Division is made up of the Criminal Division, Common Law Division and the Commercial Court. It hears serious criminal and civil cases in Victoria. It also hears appeals from the Magistrates’ Court, the Children’s Court, the Coroners Court and the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal. In 2020-21, over 4,400 cases were finalised in the Trial Division.
Last year, virtual hearings enabled a variety of applications and preliminary hearings to take place in the Criminal Division despite the impact of COVID-19, preparing cases for jury empanelment when trials could resume. In the Common Law Division and Commercial Court, a cross-divisional Group Proceedings List was established to enhance the management of group proceedings (also known as class actions).