Last Updated 4 April 2017

The Childrens Court

The Childrens Court is established by the Childrens Court Act 1992 (Qld) and deals with both criminal matters (for children under 17 years of age) and non-criminal matters (e.g. child protection orders issued for children under 18 years of age).

While the Magistrates Court is empowered to deal with children charged with simple offences and less serious indictable offences, the Childrens Court generally deals with most offences involving children, particularly where the charges are for serious indictable offences (offences which, if committed by an adult, would make the adult liable for imprisonment for more than 20 years). However, children charged with serious indictable offences have the right to choose to have the matter heard by a judge and jury in the District Court or Supreme Court.

Childrens Court judges (i.e. a District Court judge sitting as the Childrens Court) are also able to quickly review the sentencing decisions of magistrates, hear bail applications for serious offences and review bail decisions made by magistrates.

Hearings in the Childrens Court are usually closed to the public, though there are exceptions to this especially in the criminal jurisdiction (for further information see the Children and the Criminal Law chapter).

The Mental Health Court

The Mental Health Court is established by the Mental Health Act 2000 (Qld) and, amongst other things, decides on the state of mind of people charged with criminal offences.

A criminal case can be referred to the Mental Health Court if it is believed that the alleged offender:

  • is mentally ill
  • was mentally ill
  • has an intellectual disability
  • at the relevant time was deprived of a relevant capacity (s 27 Criminal Code Act 1899 (Qld)).

The court also hears appeals from the Mental Health Review Tribunal and inquires into the lawfulness of patients’ detention in authorised mental health facilities.

The court is constituted by judges of the Supreme Court, and the court is advised by two assisting psychiatrists who advise the court on the meaning and significance of clinical evidence and issues relating to the treatment and detention needs of people.

The Coroners Court

The Coroners Court is established under the Coroners Act 2003 (Qld). It is the State Coroner’s function to ensure that reportable deaths are properly investigated. Reportable deaths include those where the:

  • identity of the deceased is not known
  • death was violent, unnatural or suspicious
  • death was not reasonably expected to be the outcome of a health procedure
  • death occurred while the deceased was in custody or in care.

The Industrial Court and the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission

Chapter 11 of the Industrial Relations Act 2016 (Qld) establishes a regime of courts, commissions and magistrates to deal with industrial disputes. The Industrial Court consists of a Supreme Court judge who, in this specialist capacity, is called the President of the Industrial Court. The Industrial Court has original jurisdiction to hear proceedings for serious industrial offences and other matters, such as the suspension or deregistration of a union.

The Industrial Court has appellate jurisdiction in respect of matters decided by the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission and industrial magistrates.

The Queensland Industrial Relations Commission is a body that determines disputes between employers and employees.

The Industrial Magistrates Court hears proceedings for less serious offences and claims for wages due under awards or industrial agreements.

The Land Court

The Land Court established by the Land Court Act 2000 (Qld) consists of a president and other members as appointed. Members are not judges. Most powers of the Land Court can be exercised by a single member.

The Land Court has jurisdiction to determine matters relating to Crown leases and special matters relating to land under other Acts. For example under the Acquisition of Land Act 1967 (Qld), the Land Court hears disputes about compensation for land compulsorily acquired by government bodies.

An appeal lies from the Land Court to the Land Appeal Court. The Land Appeal Court consists of a Supreme Court judge and two members of the Land Court, but does not include the member who made the decision under appeal. Appeals from the Land Appeal Court go to the Court of Appeal.

The Planning and Environment Court

The Planning and Environment Court is established by the Sustainable Planning Act 2009 (Qld) and is constituted by a District Court judge. The Planning and Environment Court hears appeals against council town planning decisions.

Appeals from the Planning and Environment Court are heard, subject to leave, by the Court of Appeal (for further information see the Laws Affecting the Environment chapter).