Last Updated 19 December 2016
The District Court is established by the District Court of Queensland Act 1967 (Qld) (District Court Act). The District Court sits in limited locations in Brisbane, Maroochydore, Townsville, Rockhampton, Cairns, Beenleigh, Ipswich and Southport as well as on circuit at Gympie, Maryborough and various other locations.
The District Court is generally constituted by one judge sitting alone, although in some civil proceedings and almost all criminal proceedings a jury is involved. The District Court Act also sets out the qualifications for the appointment of District Court judges.
The District Court has three types of jurisdiction.
The District Court usually hears indictable offences (crimes or misdemeanors) that carry a maximum penalty of 20 years imprisonment or less (s 61 District Court Act).
The District Court can also deal with a limited number of criminal offences carrying maximum penalties of life imprisonment including arson, burglary, armed robbery and rape (s 61(2) District Court Act).
Section 614 of the Criminal Code Act 1899 (Qld) permits criminal trials to be heard by a judge alone in certain circumstances.
Civil actions can be heard in the District Court if the amount in dispute or the value of the property in dispute does not exceed $750 000 (s 68 District Court Act).
The District Court has power to hear certain appeals from decisions of the Magistrates Court (s 113 District Court Act).