Series VPRS 16736
Court of Petty Sessions Cause List Books - Criminal Cases
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Date Range: Series 1868 - 1890
  Series in Custody 1868 - 1890
  Contents 1868 - 1890
Public Access: Open
Location: Bendigo
Format of Records: Physical
 
Agency which created this SeriesAgency which created this Series
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Date Range Agency Title Agency Number
1868 - 1890 Bendigo Courts (previously known as Sandhurst Courts) VA 3008
Agency currently responsible for this SeriesAgency currently responsible for this Series
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Date Range Agency Title Agency Number
1868 - cont Bendigo Courts (previously known as Sandhurst Courts) VA 3008
Description of this SeriesDescription of this Series
  • How to use the Records
    These records are not available at Public Record Office Victoria and are available through the Bendigo Regional Archives Centre, first floor, Bendigo library, 251-259 Hargreaves Street, Bendigo, 3550.

    Bendigo Regional Archives Centre is an approved as a Place of Deposit for permanent value public records for the region under s14 of the Public Records Act 1973.

    Cases were recorded in cause list books in chronological order by date of hearing.

  • Function / Content
    Courts of Petty Sessions (now known as Magistrates' Courts) dealt with a very large range of "minor" court matters. Cases were heard in three jurisdictions: criminal, civil, and licensing. In the nineteenth century they provided the lowest level of redress in civil and criminal matters. The County Court and the Supreme Court heard and determined more serious criminal cases and larger civil disputes. The licensing jurisdiction included both liquor and non-liquor licensing matters until 1886 when separate liquor Licensing Courts were established.

    Successive Justices Acts required clerks of Petty Sessions to keep a record of all decisions and orders made by Courts of Petty Sessions. This record is the authoritative record of the court. Until about 1888, volumes used for this purpose were called Cause List Books (a cause meaning a case). Most Courts of Petty Sessions dealt with criminal, civil and licensing matters as they arose. Accordingly, Cause List Books generally give details of all these types of cases. Only the largest and busiest courts recorded civil, criminal and licensing matters separately.

    Cause List Books are generally in a common format. At the top of each page are recorded details of the name of the court, the date of sitting and the name of the Chairman of the court and other presiding officer(s). For each case heard, details are given of the name of the complainant, defendant, any fees to be paid, the cause (ie the criminal charge or the nature of the civil claim), the decision and any remarks. The remarks column was sometimes used to record the payment of fines or fees. In order to authenticate entries made in the Cause List Book the presiding officer(s) of the court signed it at the end of each day.

  • Recordkeeping System
    Entries in the Cause List Books were made in chronological order according to the date the case was heard by the court and each case received a consecutive number. At most courts this numbering sequence reverted to 1 at the commencement of each day the court sat. Thus cases were identified by the date of hearing and their number.

    This identifying symbol was annotated onto all documents lodged with the court prior to or during the case. The documents were known as "process" and were placed together to create a case file. In most instances files dating from the nineteenth century have been destroyed.

    From about 1888 Cause List Books became known as Registers. Altough their format altered slightly from this time their purpose remained the same.

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Previous SeriesPrevious Series
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Transfer Date Series Title Series Number
0 - 1868 Court of Petty Sessions Cause List Books VPRS 16734
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Consignment Number Contents Date Range Public Access No. of Units
P0001 1868 - 1890 Open 32
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