2.3 High Court

In the criminal jurisdiction, the High Court deals with the most serious types of criminal offences and may conduct both judge-alone and jury trials. The High Court can impose a sentence of life imprisonment or preventive detention (the District Court must transfer sentencing to the High Court if one of these sentences is likely). The High Court hears criminal appeals from judge-alone proceedings in the District Court and the Youth Court. In some instances, the High Court can also hear sentence appeals from jury proceedings in the District Court.

The High Court deals with a large and diverse civil caseload. It can deal with any civil case, but usually limits itself to cases where more than $200,000 is initiated in the High Court. The court also deals with all of the country’s insolvency proceedings (bankruptcy and company liquidation), administers and grants probates, handles appeals from the District Court (and various tribunals) and conducts judicial reviews. It also deals with a range of other miscellaneous applications such as admiralty, ratings sales and habeas corpus applications.

In summary, the High Court:

  • has jurisdiction over both criminal and civil matters
  • hears criminal appeals from judgealone proceedings in the District Court and in the Youth Court
  • hears appeals from District Court civil cases
  • supervises lower courts and tribunals
  • conducts the judicial review of administrative power
  • hears appeals from the Environment Court, tribunals and regulatory bodies.

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