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Series VPRS 11643
County Court Common Law Register, Sale
About this Series Related Series Accessing the records in this Series
Date Range: Series 1859 - 1995
  Series in Custody 1859 - 1982
  Contents 1859 - 1982
Public Access: Open
Location: North Melbourne
Format of Records: Physical
 
Agency which created this SeriesAgency which created this Series
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Date Range Agency Title Agency Number
1859 - 1968 Sale Courts VA 4009
1968 - 1995 County Court VA 686
Agency currently responsible for this SeriesAgency currently responsible for this Series
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Date Range Agency Title Agency Number
1968 - cont County Court VA 686
Description of this SeriesDescription of this Series
  • How to use the Records
    No name indexes are known to have been created for this series. Researchers will need to know the approximate date on which the summons initiating the action was lodged with the court. Once known, the relevant register volume can be identified by reference to the Records Description List for the series. The Records Description List records the date range for each volume.

  • Function / Content
    Successive County Court Rules have required the registrar of the court to keep a register of all verdicts, orders and judgements of the court. The register is the authoritative record of the court.

    This series was used to register common law actions. Examples include damages for negligence (motor car collision, master and servant claims), personal injuries, property damage / loss of profit.

    Registration Process

    An entry in the register was initiated upon lodgement of a summons with the court by the solicitor acting on behalf of the plaintiff. Recordings were then made as the case progressed towards trial. Register details include:

    The names and addresses of the plaintiff and defendant
    Number of the plaint
    The legal practitioner acting for the plaintiff
    ;The nature of the action
    ;The amount of the claim
    ;Date defence filed; and
    The order of the Judge.

    A considerable period of time (sometimes years) could elapse between the initial registration of a case and its completion, upon which the Judges order was added to the original register entry. The series contents date range has been used to indicate the date range of the orders in the register.

    Note that register entries are not always complete. One reason was that cases may have been settled before going to trial. Unsystematic recordkeeping practice may also have played a part in some instances. For example, an order may have been recorded on the case file only (the file raised to hold the various process documents relating to each case). Case files are not in Public Record Office custody.

  • Recordkeeping System
    Cases were registered in numerical order as the summons was lodged with the court. The next available number in the register was allocated to the next case. Registration number order also tends to be in chronological order by date of lodgement of the summons. Numbers start afresh from 1 at the start of each year.

    For the period 1976 to 1984, a single digit was used at the start of each number to denote the year. For example, case number 1, 1976 appears as 6 00001. Note that the year 1980 was represented by the number 5, not zero. Case number 1, 1980 appears as 5 00001.

    Beginning in 1985, two digits were used to denote the year and an extra digit was added to the case number. For example, case number 1, 1985 appears as 85 000001.

    From 1975 the court ceased to use bound volumes for the register and began the practice of recording the Court's decision on a copy of the summons. This document was filed in case number order, with the statement of claim, to form the register.

    It should be noted that, until late 1984, Special and Ordinary summons were issued on distinct forms, as defined by the County Court Rules (Form 6, and Form 4, respectively). After this time, it appears that the one form has been used for both types of summons (Form 4 - the form previously used for Ordinary summons). The reason for this apparent change is subject to further research.

    Sometimes summons are marked "Specially Endorsed". This is believed to designate the situation where the Statement of Claim was lodged at a later date then the summons, because the full nature of the action had not been decided by the party filing the action.

    Courtlink

    The Courts Management Division of the Attorney-General's Department introduced a computerised case management system known as "Courtlink" into all courts between 1988 and 1993. Courtlink replaced the former manual register. The information recorded by Courtlink in relation to County Court cases, and the system of case numbering used, is subject to further research. It is believed that computer registration of Special summons commenced in 1988.

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Consignment Number Contents Date Range Public Access No. of Units
P0001 1895 - 1982 Open 5
P0002 1859 - 1932 Open 6
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