History of the Court

Established in 1852 to handle small civil claims, the County Court is now Victoria’s principal trial court.

The Court hears both civil and criminal matters from across Victoria, as well as appeals from the criminal jurisdiction of the Magistrates’ Court and the criminal and family divisions of the Children’s Court. This adds up to more than 12,000 cases a year.



Colony of Victoria established.


County Courts established by the County Courts Act. They operate in the County of Bourke (part of Melbourne) and some regional towns. Each court has a judge or judges appointed to it. Each judge is a resident judge presiding at a particular court.


Each court given jurisdiction throughout Victoria.


County Courts empowered to make adoption orders.


County Court Act amended to create one County Court in, and for, the state of Victoria. Apart from the power to regulate its own procedure, the County Court has no inherent powers. Jurisdiction is attached to the Court itself and the judges are appointed to exercise that jurisdiction. Unlike the Supreme Court, the County Court is not constituted by the Judges themselves.


Until now the County Court has only dealt with civil matters. After 1 January 1969 the Court has jurisdiction to deal with all criminal cases except a limited number of grave charges such as treason and murder, which are still reserved for the Supreme Court.


The Court moves to its current location which provides better facilities for the judges, court staff, jurors and the general public.

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Page last updated: 29 April 2021