Victorian Genealogy

Finding People and Places in Victoria, Australia.

 


Court Records

Judges, some magistrates and court officials were public servants. See Public Servants.
Solicitors and barristers worked in courts. See Barristers, Solicitors and Conveyancers.
Shorthand writers worked in courts. See Shorthand Writers.

Prisoners were sentenced in courts. See Prison Records.

 

OVERVIEW


VICTORIA

The original court records for Victoria may be found in Public Record Office Victoria and in local repositories.

There are three main levels of courts in Victoria:

  1. Courts of Petty Sessions or Police Courts (1838-1969) or Magistrates Courts (1969-Present); these handled more minor issues. They included Licensing Courts until 1958 and Revision Courts. They also included Children's Courts from 1907.
  2. Courts of General Sessions (1853-1968) or County Courts (1852-Present); Courts of General Sessions handled criminal matters and County Courts handled more serious civil matters or in country areas insolvency (1871-1928). In 1852 County Courts took over the role of Courts of Requests (1839-1852) and in 1853 Courts of General Sessions took over the role of Quarter Sessions (1839-1853). County Courts included Courts of Mines. County Courts took over the role of Courts of General Sessions in 1968. County Courts handle appeals against decisions of the Magistrates Courts in criminal matters.
  3. Supreme Court of Victoria (1852-Present) deals with criminal cases such as murder, manslaughter and treason, issues to do with property such as probate (see Probate and Administration Records), civil actions involving large claims and appeals against decisions of the lower courts. The Supreme Court includes the Colonial Court of Admiralty from 1911 until 1988 and Commercial Courts. Historically it also dealt with matters relating to equity (this relates to trusts), lunacy, divorce (1861-1975) and in Melbourne insolvency (1871-1928). Prior to separation in 1851 the highest court was the Supreme Court of New South Wales (1836-1841) or Supreme Court of New South Wales, Port Phillip District (1841-1852).

 

AUSTRALIA

Court hearings for Commonwealth matters were heard in the Victorian state courts until 1976 and the records of these courts may be found in Public Record Office Victoria and in local repositories; these records are separate to those of the state courts.

There are three main levels of courts in Australia:

  1. Federal Circuit Court (2013-Present). This was previously known as Federal Magistrates Court (1999-2013). This deals with family law and child support, administrative law, admiralty law, bankruptcy, copyright, human rights, industrial law, migration, privacy and trade practices.
  2. Federal Court (1976-Present). It handles matters relating to federal law with the exception of family law. These matters include taxation, trade practices, native title, intellectual property, industrial relations, corporations, customs, immigration and bankruptcy. There is an appeals division known as the Full Court. The Federal Court may hear appeals from the Federal Circuit Court on all matters except family law.
  3. High Court of Australia (1903-Present). It has the power of judical review over laws passed by the Parliament of Australia and the parliaments of the States, and the ability to interpret the Constitution of Australia. From 1986 it effectively became the final appeal court for lower courts both federal and state.

 

GREAT BRITAIN

Appeals for the Supreme Court of Victoria and later the High Court of Australia could be taken to the Privy Council in Great Britain until 1986. In this year Privy Council appeals were effectively abolished through legislation.

 

VICTORIAN COURTS OF PETTY SESSIONS/ POLICE COURTS

 

OVERVIEW

COURTS OF PETTY SESSIONS / POLICE COURTS 1838-1969 OR MAGISTRATES COURTS 1969-PRESENT

These handled more minor issues. They included Licensing Courts until 1958 and Revision Courts. They also included Children's Courts from 1906.

LICENSING COURTS 1838-1968

These were for licensing various occupations such as publicans, auctioneers, victuallers and hawkers. They were under the jurisdiction of the Courts of Petty Sessions or Magistrates Court. From 1958 to 1968 there was the Victorian Licensing Court.

REVISION COURTS

These were for revising the electoral rolls. They were under the jurisdiction of the Courts of Petty Sessions or Magistrates Court.

CHILDREN'S COURTS 1907-PRESENT

These were for children's issues. They were under the jurisdiction of the Courts of Petty Sessions or Magistrates Court.

KOORI COURTS 2002-PRESENT

These are for indigenous Australians who have pleaded guilty. They were under the jurisdiction of the Magistrates Court. There are also Koori Children's Courts and Koori County Courts.

 

RECORDS

Original court records for Victoria may be found in Public Record Office Victoria. In the case of local court records they may also be found in local repositories.

 

PUBLIC RECORD OFFICE VICTORIA - OUTWARD LETTER BOOKS, POLICE MAGISTRATE, PORT PHILLIP DISTRICT 1836-1840 (VPRS 1)

http://www.access.prov.vic.gov.au/public/component/daPublicBaseContainer?component=daViewConsignment&entityId=1&consignment=P0001

 

PUBLIC RECORD OFFICE VICTORIA - CONFIDENTIAL DESPATCHES TO GOVERNOR BOURKE, POLICE MAGISTRATE, PORT PHILLIP DISTRICT 1836-1837 (VPRS 2)

http://www.access.prov.vic.gov.au/public/component/daPublicBaseContainer?component=daViewConsignment&entityId=2&consignment=P0000

 

PUBLIC RECORD OFFICE VICTORIA - DUPLICATED RETURNS AND REQUISITIONS, POLICE MAGISTRATE, PORT PHILLIP DISTRICT 1836-1839 (VPRS 5517 P1)

http://access.prov.vic.gov.au/public/component/daPublicBaseContainer?component=daViewConsignment&entityId=5517&consignment=P0001

 


PUBLIC RECORD OFFICE VICTORIA - PORTLAND POLICE MAGISTRATES DUTIES REGISTER 1840-1853 (VPRS 108)

This has been digitised.

http://access.prov.vic.gov.au/public/component/daPublicBaseContainer?component=daViewConsignment&breadcrumbPath=Home/Access%20the%20Collection/Browse%20The%20Collection/Consignment%20Details&entityId=108&consignment=P0000

 

PUBLIC RECORD OFFICE VICTORIA - CASTLEMAINE POLICE MAGISTRATE'S REGISTER 1852-1853 (VPRS 5347)

This has been digitised.

https://prov.vic.gov.au/archive/VPRS5347

 

PUBLIC RECORD OFFICE VICTORIA - RICHMOND COURTS, WATCHHOUSE CHARGE BOOK 1881-1884 (VPRS 1871)

This has been digitised.

https://prov.vic.gov.au/archive/VPRS6921

 

ANCESTRY - VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA, SELECTED TRIAL BRIEF AND CORRESPONDENCE REGISTERS AND OTHER IMAGES, 1837-1993

These are provided by Public Record Office Victoria. These records are not indexed but can be browsed by description and range. They include:

Castlemaine Prison Police Magistrate's Register includes Castlemaine Police Magistrate's Register 1852-1853 (VPRS 5347).

County of Bourke Court Of Petty Sessions Deposition Book includes Melbourne Courts Letter Book - Letters Outward 1843-1852 (VPRS 50).

https://search.ancestry.com.au/search/db.aspx?dbid=60672

 

PUBLIC RECORD OFFICE VICTORIA - ARARAT COURT OF PETTY SESSIONS 1859-1940

The following records have been digitised:

Cause List Books 1859-1888 (VPRS 1677)

https://beta.prov.vic.gov.au/collection/VPRS1677

Court of Petty Sessions Registers 1888-1940 (VPRS 1680)

https://beta.prov.vic.gov.au/collection/VPRS1680

 

PUBLIC RECORD OFFICE VICTORIA - AVOCA COURT OF PETTY SESSIONS 1888-1931 (VPRS 288)

The following records have been digitised:

Court of Petty Sessions Registers 1888-1931

https://beta.prov.vic.gov.au/collection/VPRS288

 

PUBLIC RECORD OFFICE VICTORIA - BALLAN COURT OF PETTY SESSIONS 1862-1940 (VPRS 1358)

The following records have been digitised:

Cause List Books 1862-1888

Court of Petty Sessions Registers 1888-1940

https://beta.prov.vic.gov.au/collection/VPRS1358

 

PUBLIC RECORD OFFICE VICTORIA - BALLARAT COURT OF PETTY SESSIONS 1854-1930 (VPRS 289)

Many of these could not be digitized due to mould.

The following records have been digitised:

Cause List Books 1854-1892 (1858,1862,1870, 1874,

Court of Petty Sessions Registers 1888-1940

https://beta.prov.vic.gov.au/collection/VPRS289

 

PUBLIC RECORD OFFICE VICTORIA - BALLARAT EAST COURT OF PETTY SESSIONS 1858-1921 (VPRS 290)

The following records have been digitised:

Cause List Books 1858-1888

Court of Petty Sessions Registers 1888-1921

https://beta.prov.vic.gov.au/collection/VPRS290

 

PUBLIC RECORD OFFICE VICTORIA - BEECHWORTH COURT OF PETTY SESSIONS 1875-1907

The following records have been digitised:

Record Books 1875-1877 (VPRS 2204)

http://access.prov.vic.gov.au/public/component/daPublicBaseContainer?component=daViewConsignment&breadcrumbPath=Home/Access%20the%20Collection/Browse%20The%20Collection/Consignment%20Details&entityId=16652&consignment=P0002

Cause List Books 1875-1888 (VPRS 16652)

http://access.prov.vic.gov.au/public/component/daPublicBaseContainer?component=daViewConsignment&breadcrumbPath=Home/Access%20the%20Collection/Browse%20The%20Collection/Consignment%20Details&entityId=16652&consignment=P0002

Registers 1888-1907 (VPRS 2170)

http://access.prov.vic.gov.au/public/component/daPublicBaseContainer?component=daViewConsignment&breadcrumbPath=Home/Access%20the%20Collection/Browse%20The%20Collection/Consignment%20Details&entityId=2170&consignment=P0003

 

PUBLIC RECORD OFFICE VICTORIA - BUNINYONG COURT OF PETTY SESSIONS 1856-1936 (VPRS 296)

The following records have been digitised:

Cause List Books 1856-1888

Court of Petty Sessions Registers 1888-1936

https://beta.prov.vic.gov.au/collection/VPRS296

 

PUBLIC RECORD OFFICE VICTORIA - CARNGHAM COURT OF PETTY SESSIONS 1875-1916 (VPRS 1371)

The following records have been digitised:

Cause List Books 1875-1888

Court of Petty Sessions Registers 1888-1910

Snake Valley Court of Petty Sessions Registers 1911-1916

https://beta.prov.vic.gov.au/collection/VPRS1371

 

PUBLIC RECORD OFFICE VICTORIA - CRESWICK COURT OF PETTY SESSIONS 1860-1863, 1888-1941 (VPRS 1387)

The following records have been digitised:

Cause List Books 1860-1863,1888

Court of Petty Sessions Registers 1888-1941

https://beta.prov.vic.gov.au/collection/VPRS1387

 

PUBLIC RECORD OFFICE VICTORIA - CROWLANDS COURT OF PETTY SESSIONS 1861-1868 (VPRS 1679)

The following records have been digitised:

Cause List Books 1861-1868

https://beta.prov.vic.gov.au/collection/VPRS1679

 

PUBLIC RECORD OFFICE VICTORIA - DAYLESFORD COURT OF PETTY SESSIONS 1860-1940 (VPRS 3110)

The following records have been digitised:

Cause List Books 1862-1888

Court of Petty Sessions Registers 1888-1940

https://beta.prov.vic.gov.au/collection/VPRS3110

 

PUBLIC RECORD OFFICE VICTORIA - GORDON COURT OF PETTY SESSIONS 1864-1924 (VPRS 2515)

The following records have been digitised:

Cause List Books 1864-1888

Court of Petty Sessions Registers 1888-1924

https://beta.prov.vic.gov.au/collection/VPRS2515

PUBLIC RECORD OFFICE VICTORIA - LEXTON COURT OF PETTY SESSIONS 1888-1915 (VPRS 324)

The following records have been digitised:

Court of Petty Sessions Registers 1888-1915

https://beta.prov.vic.gov.au/collection/VPRS324

 

PUBLIC RECORD OFFICE VICTORIA - LINTON COURT OF PETTY SESSIONS 1860-1916 (VPRS 325)

The following records have been digitised:

Cause List Books 1860-1888

Court of Petty Sessions Registers 1866-1869, 1874-1878, 1888-1916

https://beta.prov.vic.gov.au/collection/VPRS325

 

PUBLIC RECORD OFFICE VICTORIA - MOYSTON COURT OF PETTY SESSIONS 1865-1902 (VPRS 1688)

The following records have been digitised:

Cause List Books 1865-1888

Court of Petty Sessions Registers 1888-1902

https://beta.prov.vic.gov.au/collection/VPRS1688

 

PUBLIC RECORD OFFICE VICTORIA - PIGGOREET COURT OF PETTY SESSIONS 1865-1884 (VPRS 1370)

The following records have been digitised:

Cause List Books 1865-1884

https://beta.prov.vic.gov.au/collection/VPRS1370

 

PUBLIC RECORD OFFICE VICTORIA - SCARSDALE COURT OF PETTY SESSIONS 1860-1916 (VPRS 1367)

The following records have been digitised:

Cause List Books 1863-1888

Court of Petty Sessions Registers 1888-1903

https://beta.prov.vic.gov.au/collection/VPRS1367

 

PUBLIC RECORD OFFICE VICTORIA - SMYTHESDALE COURT OF PETTY SESSIONS 1860-1933 (VPRS 1361)

The following records have been digitised:

Cause List Books 1860-1886

Court of Petty Sessions Registers 1888-1933

https://beta.prov.vic.gov.au/collection/VPRS1361

 

PUBLIC RECORD OFFICE VICTORIA - TALBOT COURT OF PETTY SESSIONS 1862-1934 (VPRS 1394)

The following records have been digitised:

Cause List Books 1862-1888 (1864, 1869, 1873-1878, 1885-1887 MISSING)

Court of Petty Sessions Registers 1888-1934

https://beta.prov.vic.gov.au/collection/VPRS1394

 

PUBLIC RECORD OFFICE VICTORIA - TRENTHAM COURT OF PETTY SESSIONS 1863-1917 (VPRS 3125)

The following records have been digitised:

Cause List Books 1863-1888, 1882-1888 MISSING

Court of Petty Sessions Registers 1888-1917

https://beta.prov.vic.gov.au/collection/VPRS3125

 


FINDMYPAST - COURTS OF PETTY SESSIONS RECORDS

There are 74 courts included in these records. They are searchable. Please note that the start dates of Geelong and Heywood Courts are incorrect.

https://search.findmypast.com.au/search-world-Records/victoria-petty-sessions-registers

 

FAMILYSEARCH - COURT RECORDS

These have been digitized but need to be accessed at a Family History Centre.

 

FAMILYSEARCH - AUSTRALIA, VICTORIA, COURTS OF PETTY SESSIONS REGISTERS INDEX, 1858-1985

Original records held by Public Record Office Victoria. This index does not include images.

https://www.familysearch.org/search/collection/2485052

 

AUSTRALASIAN LEGAL INFORMATION INSTITUTE - MAGISTRATES' COURT OF VICTORIA 2006-PRESENT

Court hearings may be accessed.

https://www.austlii.edu.au/au/vic/

 

CHILDREN'S COURTS 1907-PRESENT

These were for children's issues. They were under the jurisdiction of the Courts of Petty Sessions or Magistrates Court.

 

PUBLIC RECORD OFFICE VICTORIA - CHILDREN'S COURT RECORDS 1907-PRESENT

Cases involving children earlier than 1907 were heard in the same courts as adults. The majority of Children's Court records are closed for a period of 99 years, under Section 9 of the Public Records Act. Contact the Children's Court of Victoria (see below) to apply for access to closed records.

https://prov.vic.gov.au/explore-collection/explore-topic/childrens-court-records

 

CHILDREN'S COURT OF VICTORIA

http://www.childrenscourt.vic.gov.au/

 


VICTORIAN COURTS OF GENERAL SESSIONS/ COUNTY COURTS

 

OVERVIEW

Courts of General Sessions (1853-1968) or County Courts (1852-Present); Courts of General Sessions handled criminal matters and County Courts handled more serious civil matters or in country areas insolvency (1871-1928). In 1852 County Courts took over the role of Courts of Requests (1839-1852) and in 1853 Courts of General Sessions took over the role of Quarter Sessions (1839-1853). County Courts included Courts of Mines. County Courts took over the role of Courts of General Sessions in 1968. County Courts handle appeals against decisions of the Magistrates Courts in criminal matters.

INSOLVENCY COURTS 1842-1928

These were for insolvencies or bankruptcies. See Insolvency and Bankruptcy Records.

COURTS OF MINES 1858-1969

These were for mining disputes. They are under the jurisdiction of the County Court of Victoria.

KOORI COURTS 2002-PRESENT

These are for indigenous Australians who have pleaded guilty. They were under the jurisdiction of the Magistrates Court. There are also Koori Children's Courts and Koori County Courts.

 

RECORDS

 

PUBLIC RECORD OFFICE VICTORIA - CRIMINAL TRIAL BRIEFS AND REGISTERS 1841-ONWARD (VPRS 30)

This is a finding aid for criminal trial briefs. These are closed to the public for a period of 75 years under the Public Records Act. The records are not online.

https://prov.vic.gov.au/explore-collection/explore-topic/criminal-trial-briefs-and-registers

 

PUBLIC RECORD OFFICE VICTORIA - CRIMINAL TRIAL BRIEF REGISTER I 1855-1891 (VPRS 3523)

These have been digitized.

https://prov.vic.gov.au/archive/VPRS3523

 

PUBLIC RECORD OFFICE VICTORIA - CRIMINAL TRIAL BRIEF REGISTER II 1892-1961 (VPRS 3524)

Those dated between 1892 and 1912 have been digitized.

https://prov.vic.gov.au/archive/VPRS3524

 

ANCESTRY - VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA, SELECTED TRIAL BRIEF AND CORRESPONDENCE REGISTERS AND OTHER IMAGES, 1837-1993

These are provided by Public Record Office Victoria. These records are not indexed but can be browsed by description and range. They include:

https://search.ancestry.com.au/search/db.aspx?dbid=60672

 

PUBLIC RECORD OFFICE VICTORIA - BEECHWORTH COURTS OF GENERAL SESSIONS 1854-1942

The following records have been digitised.

Minutes of Proceedings 1854-1868 (VPRS 16729)

http://access.prov.vic.gov.au/public/component/daPublicBaseContainer?component=daViewConsignment&breadcrumbPath=Home/Access%20the%20Collection/Browse%20The%20Collection/Consignment%20Details&entityId=16729&consignment=P0002

Criminal Record Record Books 1874-1942 (VPRS 16730)

http://access.prov.vic.gov.au/public/component/daPublicBaseContainer?component=daViewConsignment&breadcrumbPath=Home/Access%20the%20Collection/Browse%20The%20Collection/Consignment%20Details&entityId=16730&consignment=P0002

 

AUSTRALASIAN LEGAL INFORMATION INSTITUTE - COUNTY COURT OF VICTORIA 1993-PRESENT

Court hearings are be accessed on this website.

https://www.austlii.edu.au/au/vic/

 

SUPREME COURT OF NEW SOUTH WALES

 

OVERVIEW

Prior to separation the highest court in Victoria was the Supreme Court of New South Wales (1836-1841) or Supreme Court of New South Wales, Port Phillip District (1841-1852). Supreme Court of New South Wales deals with criminal cases such as murder, manslaughter and treason, issues to do with property such as probate (see Probate and Administration Records), civil actions involving large claims and appeals against decisions of the lower courts. The Supreme Court includes Commercial Courts. Historically it also dealt with matters relating to equity (this relates to trusts) and lunacy.

 

RECORDS

PUBLIC RECORD OFFICE VICTORIA - SUPREME COURT EQUITY CASE FILES 1841-1982 (VPRS 31, 257, 259, 282, 792, 793, 12025)

Equity case files may relate to property trusts, deceased estates, mortgages, guardianship, lunacy, the property of people lacking legal capacity, contract law, bankruptcy and other commercial matters. The records are not online. This is a finding aid for equity case files.

https://prov.vic.gov.au/explore-collection/explore-topic/civil-and-other-non-criminal-court-cases/supreme-court-equity-case

 

ANCESTRY - NEW SOUTH WALES, AUSTRALIA, CRIMINAL COURT RECORDS, 1830-1945

These records are provided in association with State Records Authority of NSW. They include those of Supreme Court of New South Wales. This collection includes criminal case calendars, indexes of criminal cases and eligible jurors, criminal case registers and returns, registers of depositions, registers of fines and forfeitures, and other related records.

https://search.ancestry.com.au/search/db.aspx?dbid=5325

 

MACQUARIE UNIVERSITY - DECISIONS OF THE SUPERIOR COURTS OF NEW SOUTH WALES 1788-1899

This includes Port Phillip District cases 1841 to 1847. They are taken from manuscript collections and newspapers.

http://www.law.mq.edu.au/research/colonial_case_law/nsw/cases/port_phillip_district/

 

NEW SOUTH WALES STATE ARCHIVES AND RECORDS - VICE ADMIRALITY COURT: CASE PAPERS, 1826-1911 (NRS 14493)

Includes an index of court cases naming ships involved.

https://www.records.nsw.gov.au/archives/collections-and-research/guides-and-indexes/series-list/14493


SUPREME COURT OF VICTORIA

 

OVERVIEW

Supreme Court of Victoria (1852-Present) deals with criminal cases such as murder, manslaughter and treason, issues to do with property such as probate (see Probate and Administration Records), civil actions involving large claims and appeals against decisions of the lower courts. The Supreme Court includes the Colonial Court of Admiralty from 1911 until 1988 and Commercial Courts. Historically it also dealt with matters relating to equity (this relates to trusts), lunacy, divorce (1861-1975) and in Melbourne insolvency (1871-1928). Prior to separation the highest court was the Supreme Court of New South Wales (1836-1841) or Supreme Court of New South Wales, Port Phillip District (1841-1852).

INSOLVENCY COURTS 1842-1928

These were for insolvencies or bankruptcies. See Insolvency and Bankruptcy Records.

DIVORCE COURTS 1861-1975

There were Divorce Courts under the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court of Victoria. See Divorce Records.

VICE-ADMIRALTY COURTS (1852-1988)

These were for shipping disputes. This court was under the jurisdiction of the British Admiralty Court until 1911; the right of appeal was to this court. The court was abolished in 1911 and the Supreme Court of Victoria became the Colonial Court of Admiralty. In 1988 the Federal Court of Australia took over jurisdiction for admiralty and maritime issues.

COMMERCIAL COURTS

These are for serious commercial disputes. They are under the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court of Victoria. The website for the Commercial Court is located at:

https://www.supremecourt.vic.gov.au/law-and-practice/areas-of-the-court/commercial-court

 

RECORDS

PUBLIC RECORD OFFICE VICTORIA - SUPREME COURT CIVIL CASE FILES 1841-1989 (VPRS 267, 277, 5328, 5332, 15145)

Civil case files may relate to failure to pay debts, non-performance of contract, or personal injury claims. Some case files relate to appeals from lower courts and, up to 1976, post divorce financial settlements. Most records are not online. This is a finding aid for civil case files.

https://prov.vic.gov.au/explore-collection/explore-topic/supreme-court-civil-case-files

Some of these case files (VPRS 267) have been indexed in the catalogue; these are dated 1861-1919 and 1960-1966.

https://prov.vic.gov.au/explore-collection/explore-topic/supreme-court-civil-case-files-1841-1989/melbourne-supreme-court-0

 

ANCESTRY - VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA, SELECTED TRIAL BRIEF AND CORRESPONDENCE REGISTERS AND OTHER IMAGES, 1837-1993

These are provided by Public Record Office Victoria. These records are not indexed but can be browsed by description and range. They include:

https://search.ancestry.com.au/search/db.aspx?dbid=60672

 

PUBLIC RECORD OFFICE VICTORIA - SUPREME COURT EQUITY CASE FILES 1841-1982 (VPRS 31, 257, 259, 282, 792, 793, 12025)

Equity case files may relate to property trusts, deceased estates, mortgages, guardianship, lunacy, the property of people lacking legal capacity, contract law, bankruptcy and other commercial matters. The records are not online. This is a finding aid for equity case files.

https://prov.vic.gov.au/explore-collection/explore-topic/civil-and-other-non-criminal-court-cases/supreme-court-equity-case

 

PUBLIC RECORD OFFICE VICTORIA - SUPREME COURT COMPANIES AND MISCELLANEOUS APPLICATION FILES 1885-1989 (VPRS 12024, 13033)

These files include companies, property trusts, contracts, commercial matters, deceased estates, guardianship and lunacy. This is a finding aid for these records.

https://prov.vic.gov.au/explore-collection/explore-topic/supreme-court-company-and-miscellaneous-application-records

Companies and Miscellaneous Application files (VPRS 12024) are searchable through the catalogue. These are dated 1885-c1923 and 1957-1982.

https://prov.vic.gov.au/

Company Application files (VPRS 13033 P4) are searchable through the catalogue. These are dated 1948-1984.

https://prov.vic.gov.au/

 

PUBLIC RECORD OFFICE VICTORIA - HABEAS CORPUS WRITS 1842-1989 (VPRS 37)

Writs of Habeas Corpus are directed at a person who detains another in custody and demands that the custodian produce that person before the Court for a specified purpose. All the habeas corpus writs have been indexed in the catalogue.

https://prov.vic.gov.au/

 

PUBLIC RECORD OFFICE VICTORIA - CAPITAL CASE FILES 1852-1975 (VPRS 264)

These files relate to prisoners who had committed capital offences and received mandatory death sentences (although some offenders, notably those under 21 years of age were sentenced to the Governor's pleasure). They are indexed through the catalogue.

https://prov.vic.gov.au/

 

PUBLIC RECORD OFFICE VICTORIA - CAPITAL SENTENCE FILES 1889-1975 (VPRS 1100)

These files relate to prisoners who had committed capital offences and received mandatory death sentences (although some offenders, notably those under 21 years of age were sentenced to the Governor's pleasure). They are indexed through the catalogue.

https://prov.vic.gov.au/

 

GRIFFITH UNIVERSITY - THE PROSECUTION PROJECT 1850-1960

The Prosecution Project is investigating the history of the criminal trial in Australia. They are digitising the registers of Supreme Court cases that are available in most jurisdictions. These record the names of accused as well as their offences and the outcomes of the trials. The project's start and end dates of 1850-1960 will vary for jurisdictions according to the availability of records.

https://prosecutionproject.griffith.edu.au/

 

GENEALOGICAL SOCIETY OF VICTORIA GENEALOGICAL INDEX OF NAMES - MARION BUTTON SUPREME COURT CRIMINAL SESSIONS VPRS 502 PRISON DIVISON, SOCIAL WELFARE SERIES: COURT RECORDS INDEX 1855-1920

https://www.gsv.org.au/article/our-collection

 

AUSTRALASIAN LEGAL INFORMATION INSTITUTE - SUPREME COURT OF VICTORIA 1994-PRESENT

Court hearings are be accessed.

https://www.austlii.edu.au/au/vic/


AUSTRALASIAN LEGAL INFORMATION INSTITUTE - SUPREME COURT OF VICTORIA COURT OF APPEAL 1998-PRESENT

Court hearings are be accessed.

https://www.austlii.edu.au/au/vic/

 

COMMERCIAL COURTS

https://www.supremecourt.vic.gov.au/law-and-practice/areas-of-the-court/commercial-court

 

OTHER VICTORIAN COURTS AND TRIBUNALS

 

CORONER'S COURTS

These were for inquests and coronial inquiries from 1865 to the present. See Inquest and Coronial Records.

 

VICTORIAN CIVIL AND ADMINISTRATIVE TRIBUNAL


AUSTRALASIAN LEGAL INFORMATION INSTITUTE - VICTORIAN CIVIL AND ADMINISTRATIVE TRIBUNAL (1998-PRESENT)

This tribunal handles civil disputes. It is below the Magistrates Court in the court hierarchy. Its orders are enforceable by law once they have been registered with the Magistrates Court.

https://www.austlii.edu.au/au/vic/

 


OFFICE OF THE SHERIFF OF NEW SOUTH WALES

 

OVERVIEW

The responsibilities of the Sheriff's Office included:

 

RECORDS

 

NEW SOUTH WALES OR PORT PHILLIP GOVERNMENT GAZETTES - SEIZURE OF PROPERTY

The seizure of property was notified in government gazettes. See Government Gazettes.

 

ANCESTRY - NEW SOUTH NEW SOUTH WALES, AUSTRALIA, SHERIFF'S PAPERS, 1829-1879

These are provided in association with State Records Authority of NSW. These papers contain a series of correspondence from the Sheriff and Under Sheriff to government officers and private persons of New South Wales, Australia spanning the years 1829 to 1879.

https://search.ancestry.com.au/search/db.aspx?dbid=8818

 

SHERIFF'S OFFICE VICTORIA

 

OVERVIEW

The responsibilities of the Sheriff's Office included:

 

RECORDS

 

VICTORIAN GOVERNMENT GAZETTES - SEIZURE OF PROPERTY

The seizure of property was notified in government gazettes. See Government Gazettes.

 

STATE LIBRARY OF VICTORIA MANUSCRIPT COLLECTION - SHERIFF'S OFFICE WARRANTS 1838-1919 (MS 14521)

These are partly indexed.

https://guides.slv.vic.gov.au/warrants/index

 

FEDERAL CIRCUIT COURT OF AUSTRALIA

Federal Circuit Court (2013-Present). This was previously known as Federal Magistrates Court (1999-2013). This deals with family law and child support, administrative law, admiralty law, bankruptcy, copyright, human rights, industrial law, migration, privacy and trade practices.

AUSTRALASIAN LEGAL INFORMATION INSTITUTE - FEDERAL MAGISTRATES COURT OF AUSTRALIA 2000-2013

https://www.austlii.edu.au/au/cth/

AUSTRALASIAN LEGAL INFORMATION INSTITUTE - FEDERAL MAGISTRATES COURT OF AUSTRALIA FAMILY LAW 2000-2013

https://www.austlii.edu.au/au/cth/

AUSTRALASIAN LEGAL INFORMATION INSTITUTE - FEDERAL CIRCUIT COURT OF VICTORIA 2013-PRESENT

https://www.austlii.edu.au/au/cth/

 

FEDERAL COURT OF AUSTRALIA

Federal Court (1976-Present). It handles matters relating to federal law with the exception of family law. These matters include taxation, trade practices, native title, intellectual property, industrial relations, corporations, customs, immigration and bankruptcy. There is an appeals division known as the Full Court. The Federal Court may hear appeals from the Federal Circuit Court on all matters except family law.

 

AUSTRALASIAN LEGAL INFORMATION INSTITUTE - FEDERAL COURT OF AUSTRALIA 1977-PRESENT

https://www.austlii.edu.au/au/cth/

AUSTRALASIAN LEGAL INFORMATION INSTITUTE - FEDERAL COURT OF AUSTRALIA FULL COURT 2002-PRESENT

https://www.austlii.edu.au/au/cth/

 

HIGH COURT OF AUSTRALIA

High Court of Australia (1903-Present) It has the power of judical review over laws passed by the Parliament of Australia and the parliaments of the States, and the ability to interpret the Constitution of Australia. From 1986 it effectively became the final appeal court for lower courts both federal and state.

 

AUSTRALASIAN LEGAL INFORMATION INSTITUTE - HIGH COURT OF AUSTRALIA 1903-PRESENT

https://www.austlii.edu.au/au/cth/

 

OTHER AUSTRALIAN COURTS

 

EXEMPTION COURTS

WORLD WAR 1 EXEMPTION COURTS 1916

In late 1916 in anticipation of conscription being made law Exemption Courts were held where the men who would have to do compulsory military service applied for exemptions. The plebiscite (or Conscription Referendum as it was known) was voted down by the Australian people and conscription was not brought in. The records are held by Public Record Office Victoria. They are not online.

 

COURT OF BANKRUPTCY


FEDERAL COURT OF BANKRUPTCY 1928-1977

This was for insolvencies or bankruptcies. The jurisdiction in bankruptcy was transferred to the Federal Court of Australia in 1977. See Insolvency and Bankruptcy Records.

 

INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS COURTS

COMMONWEALTH INDUSTRIAL COURT 1956-1973

This became the Australian Industrial Court in 1973.

AUSTRALIAN INDUSTRIAL COURT 1973-1977

The jurisdiction in industrial relations was transferred to the Federal Court of Australia in 1977.

INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS COURT 1993-1996

In 1993 the jurisdiction in industrial relations of the Federal Court of Australia was transferred to the Industrial Relations Court of Australia. It was transferred back to the Federal Court of Australia in 1996.

 

INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS COURT OF AUSTRALIA 1994-2002

https://www.austlii.edu.au/au/cth/

 

FAMILY COURT

FAMILY COURT OF AUSTRALIA 1975-PRESENT

This deals with marriages, divorces and family law matters. The Family Court may hear appeals from the Federal Circuit Court on family law matters. Appeals from the Family Court are heard by the Full Court of the Family Court. See Divorce Records.

 

AUSTRALASIAN LEGAL INFORMATION INSTITUTE - FAMILY COURT OF AUSTRALIA 1976-PRESENT

https://www.austlii.edu.au/au/cth/

 

AUSTRALASIAN LEGAL INFORMATION INSTITUTE - FAMILY COURT OF AUSTRALIA FULL COURT 2008-PRESENT

https://www.austlii.edu.au/au/cth/

 

PRIVY COUNCIL - GREAT BRITAIN

Appeals for the High Court of Australia and the Supreme Court of Victoria could be taken to the Privy Council in Great Britain until 1986. In this year Privy Council appeals were effectively abolished through legislation.

 

PUBLIC RECORD OFFICE VICTORIA - APPEALS TO THE PRIVY COUNCIL 1867-1911 (VPRS 476)

These case files have been indexed in the catalogue.

https://prov.vic.gov.au/

 

AUSTRALASIAN LEGAL INFORMATION INSTITUTE - PRIVY COUNCIL APPEALS 1903-1980

https://www.austlii.edu.au/au/cth/

 

JUSTICES OF THE PEACE

Justices of the Peace were unpaid magistrates that sat in courts of petty sessions until 1989. They were appointed to serve in particular regions of Victoria. Their appointments may be seen in Government Gazettes and Police Gazettes.

 

FAMILYSEARCH - THE AUSTRALIAN PRESBYTERIAN CALENDAR AND EDUCATIONAL REGISTER FOR VICTORIA 1877

This includes a list of Justices of the Peace.

https://www.familysearch.org/search/catalog/571440?availability=Family%20History%20Library

 

JURY LISTS

Jury members may be mentioned in the reporting of court cases. See Newspapers, Magazines and Journals.

In the 19th century, jury members were listed in inquest files. See Inquest and Coronial Records.

 

GENEALOGICAL SOCIETY OF VICTORIA GENEALOGICAL INDEX OF NAMES - MARION BUTTON THE ARGUS COURT REPORTS 1851-1856

This includes victims, witnesses, jurors and accused.

https://www.gsv.org.au/article/our-collection

 

VICTIMS OF CRIME

Victims of crime may be mentioned in police gazettes. See Police Gazettes.

Victims of crime may be mentioned in the reporting of court cases. See Newspapers, Magazines and Journals.

 

GENEALOGICAL SOCIETY OF VICTORIA GENEALOGICAL INDEX OF NAMES - MARION BUTTON THE ARGUS COURT REPORTS 1851-1856

This includes victims, witnesses, jurors and accused.

https://www.gsv.org.au/article/our-collection

 

NEWSPAPERS

Court cases are reported in newspapers. See Newspapers, Magazines and Journals.

 

GENEALOGICAL SOCIETY OF VICTORIA GENEALOGICAL INDEX OF NAMES - MARION BUTTON SUPREME COURT: CRIMINAL SESSIONS INDEX NOV. 1850 - DEC. 1865

This was compiled from reports in The Argus.

https://www.gsv.org.au/article/our-collection

 

GENEALOGICAL SOCIETY OF VICTORIA GENEALOGICAL INDEX OF NAMES - MARION BUTTON THE ARGUS COURT REPORTS 1851-1856

This includes victims, witnesses, jurors and accused.

https://www.gsv.org.au/article/our-collection

 

COURTHOUSES

See Building Records.

 

LEGAL TERMS

These are common terms we find when doing family research. This list is by no means all inclusive.

a.a.s.: died in the year of his/her age (anno aetitis suae) (86 years old and died in the year 86)

affinity: one's relationship to the spouse's relatives as opposed to the blood relationship of one's own relatives.

bond: marriage, indenture, guardian

d.s.p.: died without issue (decessit sine prole legitima)

d.s.p.l.: died without legitimate issue (decessit sine prole mascula supesita)

d.s.p.m.s.: died without surviving male issue (decessit sine prole mascula supersita)

d.s.p.s.: died without surviving issue (decessit sine prole supersita)

d.unm.: died unmarried

d.v.p.: died in the lifetime of his father (decessit vita patris)

d.v.m.: died in the lifetime of his mother (decessit vita matris)

Et al: other parties are involved, but not listed in the name of the case. There can be many other defendants. (et alia)

Ex P: sometimes used at the beginning of the name of a case, for example, Ex P Charles Smith. It is usually used to refer to a case that has been appealed as another way to designate that other parties are involved and multiple appeals have been filed. It can also be used when one party may want to remain anonymous and files a motion with the court. (Ex Parte)

Heirs at law: anyone who would legally be considered an heir to a deceased person

Inst: present month (instans)

Intestate: one who dies without a will

Liber: book or volume

Nepos: grandson

Nunc Nuncapative: will, an oral will, written by a witness

Ob: he/she died (obit)

Relict: widow or widower (relicta/relictus)

Right of Affinity: see Affinit

Sic: so or thus, exact copy as written

Testator: one who dies with a valid will

Testis: witnesses

Utl: late (ultimo)

Ux or vs: wife (uxor)

Viz: namely (videlicet)

 

 

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