|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
The Children's Court was initially established to hear and inquire into all charges against children and direct trial and appropriate action.
Then in the 1930s a number of devleopments took place and the Melbourne Children's Court began to hear other cases involving children and young people under 17 years of age (such as cases regarding child neglect).
Under the Children and Young Persons Act 1989, Melbourne Children's Court operated as a division of the Magistrate's Court and was divided into two divisions, Criminal and Family
The Family Division heard and determined protection and irreconcilable differences applications.
The Criminal Division heard and determined 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 held committal proceedings for children charged with the serious offences listed above.
During this time seven full time magistrates sat exclusively at the Melbourne's Children's Court.
In the 1980s cases were also 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.
In 2000 Parliament passed the Children and Young Persons (Appointment of President) Act 2000, establishing the Children's Court of Victoria as an independent court with its head being a County Court Judge known as President of the Children's Court of Victoria. The Court continues to cater for children in both criminal and family jurisdications.