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Constituted under the District Court of Western Australia Act 1969, the District Court is the intermediate court in Western Australia, presided over by a District Court judge.
It has its principal registry at 500 Hay Street Perth Western Australia and maintains registries in Albany, Broome, Bunbury, Busselton, Carnarvon, Derby, Esperance, Geraldton, Kalgoorlie, Karratha, Kununurra, and South Hedland. The District Court also sits at Meekatharra as required.
There are 30 judges of the court who are based in Perth. They travel on circuit to regional areas on a regular basis. The Judges delegate some of their responsibilities to five registrars appointed under the provisions of the District Court of Western Australia Act 1969.
The District Court deals with serious criminal offences that must be tried before a judge and jury or judge sitting alone. The court deals with offences such as robbery, assault with intent to commit robbery, criminal damage, serious assaults, sex assaults, serious fraud and commercial theft, burglary and drug offences. The only serious offences the District Court does not deal with are those such as Murder, Manslaughter, attempt to unlawfully kill, assisted suicide - these are dealt with by the Supreme Court.
In its civil jurisdiction, the court deals with commercial and debt recovery matters involving claims up to $750,000. It has unlimited jurisdiction in claims for damages for personal injuries. In practice it hears all claims for damages for injury sustained in motor vehicle accidents as the Magistrates Court does not have jurisdiction to deal with those claims.
The District Court also has appellant jurisdiction for civil matters on appeal from the Magistrates Court and appeals in respect to awards for criminal injuries on appeal from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Assessor.
The District Court also sits on a full time basis in the following jurisdictions: as President of the Children’s Court and as Deputy President of the State Administrative Appeals Tribunal (2 judges).
The Court of Appeal (Supreme Court) hears appeals relating to matters determined by the District Court.