NSW Court Hierarchy

NSW or New South Wales is a state in Australia and the primary role of its state court is to deal with the state law.  In the general court structure of NSW, there are a total of three tiers. The first tier comprises of the Local Court, the second tier comprises of the District Court and the third tier comprises of the Supreme Court, which is the highest.

Overall, there is a hierarchy structure which is formed and according to which the entire legal system of Australia works.  Besides this, there are other tribunals and courts in the area which deal with other special disputes.  To understand the court hierarchy in NSW, you can go through the following given information.

NSW Court hierarchyThe Supreme Court

The Supreme Court in NSW operates on the appellate level as well as the divisional level.  This is the highest level or apex court in New South Wales area.

  • The divisional level-this level consists of the ordinary judges of the Supreme Court. The judges deal with civil matters and serious criminal matters.  The Supreme Court mainly sits in Sydney or in other large towns in the state.
  • The appellate level-this level consists of the court of appeal and the court of criminal appeal. The court of appeal hears those appeals which arise from civil matters from the compensation court, environment court and the district court.  The court of criminal appeal on the other hand deals exclusively with appeals arising from criminal trials.

District court

This is the second highest level of the court which is headed by a judge in NSW. The court hears both civil and criminal cases and other cases like motor vehicle cases etc.  In most large population centers, the district court sitting is there atleast part of the year.

Local Court

This local court in NSW comes at the bottom of the pyramid in terms of its jurisdiction, power and responsibilities. It is administered by the Attorney General’s department and its jurisdiction is beyond most criminal and summary prosecutions, civil matters and range of other functions like family law, children’s court and coronial matters.

Other Courts

There are many other courts functioning in NSW and they are given as follows:

  • Land and Environment court
  • Compensation court
  • Drug court
  • Coroner’s court
  • Administrative Decisions Tribunal
  • Consumer, Trader and Tenancy Tribunal
  • Victim’s compensation tribunal
  • Industrial Relations Commission

Each of these courts is responsible for serving special and specific functions and only handles cases of a set nature.

Know about Australian Political Hierarchy.