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District Court


The District Court is the middle court in the states legal system and it is decided by a judge and a jury unless the trial is a non jury trial.

What does this court do?

 This court hears:

  • Indictable criminal matters (except murder).
  • Appeals from magistrate decisions mostly from criminal matters.
  • Civil cases where the amount claims is up to $750,000 or more if the parties agree.

The maximum jail sentence a judge can impose is specified by the relevant criminal law but it is often much more than the maximum 2 years that can be imposed by a magistrate.

Criminal matters

A criminal matter is usually heard by a judge and jury. The judge decides the law while the jury decides upon questions of fact. A case can be heard by a judge alone if the accused requests so and the prosecution agrees.

Who can appear?

All the people involved in the disputes can appear at the District Court. Namely people in civil claims and criminal law breaches, meaning people who are charged and prosecuted by the Director of Public Prosecutions.

Court Location

The permanent court in Sydney sits at:

  • In Crime – the Downing Centre, 143-147 Liverpool Street, Sydney. 

  • In Civil – the John Maddison Tower, 86 Goulburn Street, Sydney.

Outside of Sydney there are designated places, but the Chief Judge determines the dates and duration of sittings, which is published in advance in Government Gazette and available online.

Our dedicated team can assist you with queries relating to matters involving the District Court.Complete and submit the Express Enquiry form on the top right hand side of this page and we will contact you to discuss your enquiry, or call us on 1300 QUINNS (1300 784 667) or on +61 2 9223 9166 to arrange an appointment.