Listen to a page in your language
You can hear this page in another language or listen in English by clicking on this icon at the top of the web page:
The Supreme Court has produced videos in multiple languages to help people who are representing themselves in the Court. The videos include information and advice such as how to prepare for a hearing, how to complete an affidavit and what to expect on the day of a hearing.
Translating and interpreting – telephone assistance
If you need an interpreter to phone the Supreme Court on your behalf, please call the Translating and Interpreting Service and say the English name of your language. Then ask the interpreter to phone the Supreme Court of Victoria.
Phone numbers for different areas of the Court can be found on the Contact us page of our website.
You can visit the Translating and Interpreting Service website for more information about the service.
About the Supreme Court of Victoria
The organisational structure of the Supreme Court shows the Chief Justice at the head of the organisation. Below the Chief Justice, the Court has two divisions, the Court of Appeal and the Trial Division. The Trial Division includes the Criminal Division, Commercial Court, Common Law Division and the Costs Court. Court Services include the Principal Registry, Probate, Funds in Court and Juries.
The Supreme Court is the highest court in Victoria. It hears criminal and civil cases that are among the most complex and serious in the state. It also hears some appeals from Victorian courts and tribunals.
The Supreme Court is made up of the Trial Division and the Court of Appeal. The Court also provides a number of administrative services.
It is possible to sit in court and observe most cases heard at the Supreme Court. Visit Attending Court for more information.
For information on current cases before the Court, see the Daily Hearing List.
Most Supreme Court cases are heard in Melbourne, however the Court also travels to hear cases in locations across Victoria including Ballarat, Bendigo, Geelong, Hamilton, Horsham, Morwell, Mildura, Sale, Shepparton, Wangaratta, Warrnambool and Wodonga.
Court users are encouraged to contact the Court with any questions in relation to circuit sittings.
About the Court of Appeal
The Court of Appeal decides appeals against decisions made in the County Court and by judges of the Trial Division of the Supreme Court. It also decides appeals brought against decisions made by the President or Vice-President of the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT).
The Court of Appeal decides whether a trial was conducted fairly, and whether the law was applied correctly. Usually two or three judges will hear an appeal.
In most cases an application must be made to have permission from the Court of Appeal to bring an appeal to court. This is called ‘seeking leave to appeal’.
About the Trial Division
The Trial Division includes a number of separate divisions, these are described in more detail below:
The Criminal Division
The Criminal Division of the Supreme Court of Victoria hears serious criminal cases such as murder, manslaughter, attempted murder, and terrorism. Judges of the Criminal Division also hear applications under a number of Acts, including the Bail Act 1977.
The Commercial Court
The Commercial Court hears complex commercial (business-related) disputes. Each case is entered into a Commercial Court ‘list’ to be managed by a judicial officer. There are also specialist lists, which deal with cases involving particular areas of law.
The Common Law Division
The Common Law Division manages a range of cases, including relating to personal injury, professional liability (a legal proceeding brought by somebody who has suffered as a result of the negligent actions of a professional), property, and wills and estates disputes. It also hears some appeals, and reviews decisions made by public bodies and officials.
Proceedings must be placed into a specialist list. Each list deals with a specific area of law and is managed by a judicial officer with specialist expertise in that area of law. The Notice to the Profession – Specialist Lists in the Common Law Division – provides the names of the specialist lists and a brief description of the types of proceedings appropriate for each list. The party that initiates a proceeding must nominate an appropriate specialist list for the proceeding.
The Costs Court holds hearings where there is a dispute between parties over the costs involved in cases that have been heard in the Supreme Court, County Court, Magistrates' Court and the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT). It also hears costs disputes between legal practitioners and their clients.
The Costs Court examines the costs and makes an assessment (this process is called ‘taxation’ of costs). For example, the Court may reduce a lawyer’s bill of costs, or it may order one party in a matter to pay costs to another party.
Wills and probate
The Probate Office deals with all applications for:
- grants of probate (legal documents issued by the Court, which allow the executor or administrator to deal with the deceased's assets), and
- administration (when the deceased left no will).
The Probate Office can give you general information about:
- grants of probate and administration of deceased estates
- applying for probate or administration
- the ‘small estates’ service
- searching probate records
- probate forms and fees.
Supreme Court services
The Supreme Court Principal Registry performs a range of administrative functions and services including:
- maintaining the secure storage of Court files
- issuing subpoenas (legal documents that compel an individual to attend the trial of the proceeding to give evidence, or to produce documents for evidence in the case)
- serving legal documents overseas
- providing copies of documents
- providing procedural advice on urgent matters
- collecting Court fees.
Registry staff cannot give you legal advice, but they can help with general information about the Court, its rules, procedures and processes.
Are you considering representing yourself (without a lawyer) in a legal proceeding?
The Supreme Court’s Self-Represented Litigant Coordinator can help with:
- procedural and practical guidance (but not legal advice)
- information about alternative methods of resolving a dispute
- organisations that provide free or low cost legal services (we can help you find legal representation).
- guides to help you represent yourself in a range of proceedings.
A list of the current fees is available on the Supreme Court website, or in hard copy from the Principal Registry or Court of Appeal Registry:
- Prothonotary’s Office fees (these are the fees for matters heard in the Commercial Court, Common Law Division and Costs Court)
- Court of Appeal fees
- Probate fees
There are no fees for matters heard in the Criminal Division.
If it will cause you financial hardship to pay the fee, you may apply for a fee waiver (meaning you will not have to pay the fee) by completing a Fee Waiver Application form. You will need to provide evidence to support the details you write in your application.
Funds in Court
Funds in Court assists a special judge called the Senior Master in administering all funds paid into the Court in civil proceedings. These funds are paid in as either ‘award’ or ‘non-award’ funds.
‘Non-award’ or ‘disputed’ funds include, for example, monies paid as security for costs, or pending the outcome of a proceeding in the Court when there is a dispute over the funds.
‘Award’ funds are administered for ‘beneficiaries’ who have been awarded compensation in a court case but who are not able to manage the funds themselves, either because they are under the age of 18 or because of, for example, an accident, injury or illness, or intellectual impairment.
Jury service is an important part of Victoria’s justice system. Every year thousands of Victorians give their time to attend court as a member of the jury. If you have been randomly selected from the electoral roll for jury service, you can find information at Juries Victoria.
Law Library of Victoria
The Law Library of Victoria is an important resource for the courts, as well as for the legal profession and the community. It includes the combined collections of the Supreme Court, the County Court, the Magistrates’ Court and VCAT. Members of the public cannot borrow items from the Law Library of Victoria, but may visit the Supreme Court Library during opening hours. The library has a wide range of digital legal resources, which are available for public use on the computers in the library.