About us

  • The Magistrates' Court is the busiest court in Tasmania, handling over 30,000 cases each year.
  • The Magistrates Court is part of the third - or judicial arm - of government. The other arms are the legislature (Parliament) and the executive (Government).
  • The Court has 15 magistrates and 50 administrative staff who are based in Hobart, Launceston, Devonport and Burnie.
  • Specially trained and approved Justices of the Peace conduct out-of-hours courts.
  • Magistrates sit in the various Divisions of the Court in the following locations daily at Hobart, Launceston, Devonport and Burnie and on a regular basis in Queenstown, Smithton, Currie, Whitemark, Scottsdale, St Helens and Huonville.

Administrative Appeals Court

The Administrative Appeals Court hears and determines cases where someone wishes to appeal a legal decision they are not happy with.

Practice and procedure

Practice and procedure for applications and proceedings in the Administrative Appeals Court are published in Practice Direction 1 of 2002.

How to appeal a legal decision

Read information on applying for an appeal and the process for lodgment.

Decisions

Administrative Appeals decisions are published on the Australasian Legal Information Institute (AustLII) website.

Children’s Court

This division determines child protection matters, including care and protection orders and assessment orders.

This information is for parents/guardians of children involved in child protection matters.

About us

  • The Magistrates' Court is the busiest court in Tasmania, handling over 30,000 cases each year.
  • The Magistrates Court is part of the third - or judicial arm - of government. The other arms are the legislature (Parliament) and the executive (Government).
  • The Court has 15 magistrates and 50 administrative staff who are based in Hobart, Launceston, Devonport and Burnie.
  • Specially trained and approved Justices of the Peace conduct out-of-hours courts.
  • Magistrates sit in the various Divisions of the Court in the following locations daily at Hobart, Launceston, Devonport and Burnie and on a regular basis in Queenstown, Smithton, Currie, Whitemark, Scottsdale, St Helens and Huonville.

Children’s Court

This division determines child protection matters, including care and protection orders and assessment orders.

This information is for parents/guardians of children involved in child protection matters.

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Civil Court

Civil Court deals with disputes involving amounts

  • up to and including $5,000 (minor civil claim)
  • from $5,001 to $50,000 (civil claim)
  • more than $50,000 if all parties agree.

If you are making a claim, you are known as a ‘claimant’ or ‘civil litigant’. The other party is known as the ‘defendant’.

Read more about civil litigants and the civil claims process.

Other responsibilities of the Civil Court are

Decisions

Civil Court decisions are all now available on the Australasian Legal Information Institute (AustLII) website.

Coroners Court

This division is a specialist court that conducts inquests and investigations into certain deaths ('reportable deaths') and incidents (including fires and explosions) regardless of whether a death occurred.

The coroner must find, if possible:

  • the identity of the deceased person
  • how the death occurred
  • the cause of death
  • when and where death occurred
  • the details needed to register the death with the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages.

The coroner may comment and make recommendations about public health or safety, or the administration of justice, to help prevent similar deaths and incidents from happening again.

The Australian Domestic and Family Violence Death Review Network Data Report 2018

The Australian Domestic and Family Violence Death Review Network was established in 2011 as an initiative of state and territory death review processes, and is endorsed by all state and territory Coroners and the Western Australian Ombudsman. The Network’s goals include producing national data concerning domestic and family violence related homicides in accordance with the National Plan to Reduce Violence Against Women and their Children 2009-2021. With this work the Network seeks to contribute to the formation of evidence-based policy and decision making in relation to domestic and family violence, enhancing opportunities for prevention and intervention and contributing to the enhanced safety of women and their children across Australia.

The Network has published its first report in 2018.
Download Australian Domestic and Family Violence Death Review Network Data Report 2018 (pdf, 3 MB)

Criminal and General Court

Criminal matters

The Criminal Court (Court of Petty Sessions) hears and determines a broad range of criminal cases in both the State and Federal jurisdictions. Commonly heard offences are drink driving, traffic offences, assaults, drug offences and theft. Preliminary hearings for more serious crimes (such as murder and manslaughter) may be held here to decide if there is enough evidence to send the accused person to the Supreme Court for trial.

most of the Courts work is discharged in Courts of Petty Sessions which

If you are involved in a criminal case - visit Going to Court for more information on what it means for you.

General matters

Decisions

Criminal decisions are all now available on the Australasian Legal Information Institute (AustLII) website.

Conciliators and Mediators

List of Appointed Conciliators and Mediators

Youth Justice Court

The Youth Justice Court hears and determines cases involving young people who are alleged to have committed offences while under the age of 18.

A single Magistrate hears all youth justice matters. This allows for a consistent approach and more time to deal with issues experienced by many young offenders such as alcohol and drug use, homelessness, illiteracy and education problems.

The Youth Justice Court maintains a “specialist list” of cases involving young offenders with alcohol and drug abuse, mental health problems, or any other particular problem or combination of problems where the Court might appropriately intervene.

Cases on the specialist list receive more intensive supervision by the Court and appropriate case management by the relevant agencies.

Read more about going to court as a young person.

Aim, Purpose & Values

Aim

The aim of the Magistrates Court is ensure a fair, just and safe Tasmania.

We serve the community by providing access to an accountable, independent and impartial system of justice administered according to law.

Purpose

The purpose of the Magistrates Court is to:

  • provide an open, transparent and accessible system of justice
  • apply the Rule of Law
  • protect and respect individuals’ rights

Values

The Magistrates Court values judicial independence, and acts independently from Government as it performs its judicial functions.

Its staff:

  • behave with integrity and respect
  • are accountable and cooperative
  • act without bias under the State Service Code of Conduct.

Code of Ethics

Non-Judicial Officers of the Magistrates Court

1. Provide impartial and even handed treatment to all persons

Guideline: Impartiality -

  • All persons coming to court are entitled to fair and equitable treatment, regardless of their personal circumstances or legal situation.

2. Demonstrate the highest standards of personal integrity, honesty and truthfulness in all our professional and personal dealings, avoiding the misuse of court time, equipment, supplies or facilities for personal use

Guideline: Personal Integrity -

  • The fundamental attitudes and work habits of individual employees.
  • Behave towards all persons with respect, courtesy and responsiveness, acting always to promote public confidence in the court system.

3. Safeguard confidential information, both written and oral, unless disclosure is authorised by the Court, refusing ever to use such information for personal advantage, and abstain at all times from public comment about pending proceedings except for strictly procedural matters.

4. Refrain from any actual impropriety, such as -

  • breaking the law
  • receiving gifts or favours related to court employment
  • accepting outside employment that conflicts with the Court duties
  • recommending private legal service providers

Guideline: of improper behaviour includes -

  • Improperly intervening to expedite administrative processes on behalf of a particular client
  • Seeking any favour, soliciting any gift or actually receiving any gift or the promise of one that could be construed as reward for past or future services.

5. Uphold the dignity of the Court and promote respect for the Court's duty to administer justice independently and impartially according to law.

6. Serve the public by providing procedural assistance that is as helpful as possible without giving legal advice.

7. Furnish accurate information as requested in a competent, cooperative and timely manner.

8. Improve personal work skills and performance through continuing professional education and development to ultimately provide greater service to the community.

9. Guard against any act of discrimination or bias based on religion, race, gender, age, language, appearance or sexual orientation, or any ground proscribed by the Anti-Discrimination Act 1998.

10. Renounce any use of positional or personal power to harass another person sexually or in any other way.

Guideline:

  • As well as sexual harassment there is also verbal, physical and psychological harassment

11. Protect the technological property of the Court by preserving the confidentiality of electronically and manually stored information and abstain from improper personal use of court computer systems and hardware.

Court's divisions

  • Administrative Appeals Court
    This division hears and determines cases where someone wishes to appeal a legal decision they’re not happy with.
  • Children’s Court
    This division determines child protection matters, including care and protection orders and assessment orders.
  • Civil Court
    This division deals with disputes involving amounts of up to $50,000 in value; or more than $50,000 if everyone agrees.
  • Coronial Court
    This division conducts inquests and investigations into certain deaths and incidents.
  • Criminal and General Court
    This division commonly hears offences such as drink driving, traffic offences, assaults, drug offences, stealing, family violence and restraint orders. 
  • Youth Justice Division
    This division hears and determines cases involving young people who are alleged to have committed offences under the age of 18.

Magistrates

There are 15 Magistrates

  • 9 are based in Hobart
  • 3 in Launceston
  • 2  in Devonport, and
  • 1 in Burnie.

The Chief Magistrate, the Deputy Chief Magistrate, and Magistrates are formally appointed by the Governor of Tasmania.

  • All Magistrates exercise a state-wide jurisdiction.
  • Magistrates are also Coroners.
  • Magistrates are legal practitioners who have at least 5 years experience as a Lawyer.

Burnie

  • Magistrate T Jago

Devonport

  • Magistrate L Topfer
  • Magistrate D Fairley

Hobart

  • Chief Magistrate C J Geason
  • Deputy Chief Magistrate M F Daly
  • Magistrate (vacant)
  • Magistrate O McTaggart
  • Magistrate C P Webster
  • Magistrate G A Hay
  • Magistrate S J Cooper
  • Magistrate A McKee
  • Magistrate R Marron

Launceston

  • Magistrate S J N Brown
  • Magistrate S E Cure
  • Magistrate K J Stanton

Correct at July 2019.

Court User Groups build on the Court's goals of community engagement and continuous improvement. The feedback they provide is valuable for the Court's strategic planning and service delivery, and therefore its reputation in the community.

Participants in Court User Groups include:

Court User Groups operate in Hobart, Launceston, Devonport and Burnie..

For schools

Visiting Court

If you’d like your students to visit the Magistrates Court, please contact your local court. Please advise the number of students who will be coming, and the day and time you have in mind.

Alternatively, the Magistrates and/or Court officers can come to your school to talk about court powers and procedures.

Mock Court

If you’d like to hold a mock court at your school or workplace or at the Magistrates Court, please contact your local court.

Online resources