Types of courts

The court the case will go to depends on the type of crime that was committed and the age of the accused person.

Cases for less serious crimes are usually heard in the Magistrates’ Court.

Cases for more serious crimes usually start in the Magistrates’ Court and then go to the County or Supreme Court.

It can take time for a case to go through all the hearings, so keep in touch with the team prosecuting your case.

When a case goes to the courts, the justice process will be a little different, depending on:

  • which court the case is heard in
  • how serious the type of crime is
  • whether there are special circumstances for the accused person (for example that they have a mental impairment)
  • whether the person offended as a child, when aged under 18 years.

Things that may be different include:

  • the types of hearings (or stages) the case will go through
  • who will be responsible for prosecuting the crime – the police or the Office of Public Prosecutions
  • who will be in charge of the hearings (a magistrate or a judge)
  • whether a jury will decide about the accused person’s guilt, or it will be the responsibility of the magistrate
  • the principles that inform sentencing – which are different for adults and young people under 18 years of age.

In Victoria, there are three levels of courts:

Getting information about your case

If you are not sure about which court your case is going to be in, you can:

  • check your summons or subpoena letter, if you have received one
  • ask the police officer in charge of your case.

Even if you are not going to attend the court during the case, you can still get information about what happens during the case.