The criminal jurisdiction exercised pursuant to the Justices Act 1959 comprises a major aspect of the work of the Court. The principal courts under this legislation are Courts of Petty Sessions which are usually constituted by a magistrate sitting alone.
A Court of Petty Sessions may hear and determine all summary or simple offences as well as certain offences which would otherwise be indictable.
Usually, indictable offences must be heard and determined in the Supreme Court. However, in certain cases, based upon the amount involved or the election of the defendant, certain indictable offences must and in some cases, may be heard and determined in a Court of Petty Sessions.
In addition, magistrates hear and determine a broad range of offences against the laws of the Commonwealth.