Litigation and Dispute resolution
In NSW, we have Local Court, District Court and Supreme Court as well as NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal. Let’s have a quick look at each:
Local Court of New South Wales
Jurisdiction: usually hears criminal and civil cases, AVO and bail applications, appeal from RMS decisions, includes Children’s and Coronial Courts
Maximum Monetary Jurisdiction: $100,000
Superior Court: District Court of New South Wales or Supreme Court of New South Wales
Local Court hears most criminal cases at first instance. In terms of civil disputes such as contract disputes and unpaid bills, the jurisdiction of the Local Court is limited to $100,000. Civil disputes under $20,000 are heard in the Small Claims Divisions which is less formal and any dispute over higher amounts is heard in the General Division of the Local Court.
Apprehended Violence Orders
Police or private individuals can apply for Apprehended Domestic Violence Orders if they believe there is reasonable ground to fear.
The person who needs protection is called exactly that “Person in Need of Protection” or “PINOP”. On the other hand, the defendant is the person against whom protection is sought. If there is a domestic relationship between the PINOP and the defendant (for example they are partners), the AVO is called Apprehended Domestic Violence Order (“ADVO”) and if such relationship does not exist, the AVO is call Apprehended Personal Violence Order (“APVO”).
AVOs are civil cases and do not give the defendant a criminal record. They can however be disruptive to a firearm licence. If you need to seek ADVO/APVO against some one or you have been served with an application for an ADVO/APVO, you should seek legal advice as soon as possible.
District Court of New South Wales
Jurisdiction: most criminal cases except very serious charges such as murder, civil disputes, some compensation and work health and safety claims, appeals from Local Court’s decisions including Children’s Court
Maximum Monetary Jurisdiction: $750,000, in motor accident claims there is no monetary limit
Superior Court: Supreme Court of New South Wales
District Court of New South Wales is the larges trial court in Australia and is an intermediate court. District Court Act 1973 (NSW) governs the operation of the Court and appointments of it officers. Officers of the District Court include: the Chief Judge, Judicial Officers or Judges, the Judicial Registrar, and Registrars. At the moment, the Chief Judge of the District Court is The Honourable Justice D M Price, AO.
Supreme Court of New South Wales
Jurisdiction: inherent and statutory
Maximum Monetary Jurisdiction: unlimited
Superior Court: High Court of Australia
Supreme Court of New South Wales is the highest court in the state and has inherent jurisdiction, which means it has unlimited civil jurisdiction and hears most serious criminal cases. Supreme Court supervises and can hear appeals from all courts and tribunals in NSW. Appeals from the decisions of the Supreme Court are referred to Court of Appeal or Court of Criminal Appeal which still belong to the Supreme Court and then the High Court of Australia sitting in Canberra.
Supreme Court also serves non-litigious functions such as granting probates for deceased estates and admitting new lawyers.
Supreme Court Act 1970 (NSW) governs the operation of the Court and appointments of it officers. Officers of the Supreme Court include: the Chief Justice, President of the Court of Appeal, Appeal Judges, Judges, Associate Judges, and Registrars. The current Chief Justice of the Supreme Court is the Honourable Thomas Frederick Bathurst, AC.
New South Wales Civil and Administrative Tribunal
New South Wales Civil and Administrative Tribunal (“NCAT”) was established on 1 January 2014 pursuant to s 7 of the Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 2013 (NSW) (“NCAT Act”). It is intended to be cheaper, faster and less formal than normal court proceedings.
NCAT has four divisions: Administrative and Equal Opportunity, Commercial and Consumer, Guardianship and Occupational.
Administrative and Equal Opportunity Division, as the name suggests, review administrative decisions made by NSW government agencies including:
Consumer and commercial division, is by far the busiest division and hears several disputes including Home Building, Retirement Villages, Retail Leases, Agents commission and fees disputes.
Guardianship division is all about some one with limited decision making capacity. This division can make relevant orders either in term of lifestyle (Guardianship Orders) or financial affairs (Financial Management Orders) for someone who cannot look after their affairs. This division can also conduct reviews of Power of Attorney and Enduring Guardianship Documents.