|Description of this AgencyDescription of this Agency|
A specialised Children's Court was established in 1906 under the provisions of an Act to Establish and Regulate Children's Courts (No.2058). The Melbourne Children's Court commenced operation in 1907, when cases where heard at the Melbourne Court of Petty Sessions. This system continued until the 1930's when the Children's Court moved into it's own premises.
Prior to the establishment of Children's Courts in 1907 cases involving children were included within the records of the individual Court of Petty Sessions.
Function and Responsibilities
Originally the Children's Court was established to hear and inquire into all charges against children and direct trial and appropriate action.
As at July 2000 the Melbourne Children's Court has the authority under the Children and young Persons Act 1989 to hear cases involving children and young people under 17 years of age. The court is divided into two divisions, Criminal and Family.
The Family Division hears and determines protection and irreconcilable differences applications.
The Criminal Division hears and determines all criminal charges (apart from murder, attempted murder, manslaughter, culpable driving and arson causing death. These cases must be heard in either the County or Supreme Courts.) against children between the ages of 10 and 16 when they commit the offence. The Criminal Division of the Children's Court also holds committal proceedings for children charged with the serious offences listed above.
As at July 2000 seven full time magistrates currently sit exclusively at the Melbourne Children's Court.
In the 1980s cases were regionalised within the Melbourne metropolitan area so that cases can be heard close to the child's place of residence. As well as the Melbourne Children's Court, other Children's Courts are located at Broadmeadows, Dandenong, Frankston, Preston, Ringwood, Sunshine and Werribee.