Supreme Court of Victoria

Supreme Court of Victoria

The Supreme Court of Victoria is the superior court for the State of Victoria, Australia. It was founded in 1852, and is a superior court of common law and equity, with unlimited jurisdiction within the state. Those courts lying below it include the County Court of Victoria and the Magistrates’ Court of Victoria. The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal, which is not a court, serves a judicial function. Above it lies the High Court of Australia. This places it around the middle of the Australian court hierarchy. The building itself is on the Victorian Heritage Register.

The Supreme Court of Victoria is part of a complex known as the Melbourne Law Courts, and is located at 192 William Street Melbourne, Victoria. The design for the building was the winning entry for a competition conducted by the Public Works Department. The building design was revealed in 1873, and designed in a neo classical style, with construction carried out between 1874–82. The architects were the English immigrant duo Alfred Louis Smith (1830–1907) and Arthur Ebdon Johnson (1859–95) of Smith and Johnson. In 1851 Victoria separated from New South Wales and became an independent colony complete with its own Constitution and judicial institutions. The Supreme Court of Victoria signifies the formation of these institutions and the preservation of the Constitution in Victoria. The mid 19th century Victorian Gold Rush financed the construction of many grand public buildings. The Supreme Court exemplifies this though its Renaissance Revival Style on an imposing scale. It is architecturally significant for being part of the largest court buildings in Australia constructed to a single design. The planning behind the functional division of different groups of courts was unparalleled.