Koori Court FAQ
Why create a separate Court for Koori people?
Koori people are greatly over-represented within the criminal justice system, more so than any other cultural group. Koori people are 12 times more likely than non-Indigenous people to be placed in an adult prison.
Numerous reports, such as the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody and the Bringing them Home report, have recommended that the legal system be modified to make it less culturally alienating and more tailored to the needs of Aboriginal offenders and their community.
The Victorian Aboriginal Justice Agreement is an agreement developed between the State Government and the Victorian Koori community. One of the major recommendations has been the need for a Koori Court.
Who is eligible?
Koori defendants who plead guilty to an offence and who have shown an intention to take responsibility for their actions;
- Koori offenders that live within, or have been charged within, the boundary area of a Koori Court; and
- Koori defendants who elect to go to the Koori Court.
What types of offences?
All offences that can be heard in the Magistrates’ Court, except family violence and sexual offences, can be heard in the Koori Court.
Who sentences the offenders?
As in conventional Magistrates' Courts, the ultimate decision regarding the sentencing order is left with the Magistrates. However, in the Koori Court, the Koori Elders or Respected Persons will provide the court with advice relating to cultural matters. The Magistrate might consider this advice when handing down the most appropriate sentencing order.
What sentencing orders are available?
The Magistrate will retain all sentencing alternatives, including the power to send defendants to prison, as in the conventional Magistrates' Court. However, the primary goal of the court is to create sentencing orders that are more culturally appropriate to Aboriginal offenders, thereby reducing the rate of re-offending and increasing the positive participation of the Koori community in the sentencing process. The Koori Court therefore benefits not only the Koori community, but also the wider community.
How can I get more information about the Koori Court?
Further information for defendants considering having their matter heard in the Koori Court is available in the Defendant’s Guide to the Koori Court. Further information for legal practitioners is available in the Legal Representative’s Guide to the Koori Court.
If you have any further questions, please contact the Koori Court Officer at your nearest Koori Court.
Contact Koori Court Unit
The Koori Court Unit of the Magistrates' Court of Victoria oversees the management and administration of the Koori Courts.
223 William Street,
Melbourne VIC 3000
(GPO Box 882, Melbourne VIC 3001)
Tel: (03) 9032 0946
Koori Court Officers
A Koori Court Officer is based at each location that has a Koori Court.
Broadmeadows Koori Court
(03) 9221 8900
Melbourne Children's Koori Court
(03) 8638 3300
Mildura Koori Court (Adults and Children)
(03) 5021 6000
Shepparton Koori Court
(03) 5821 4633
Swan Hill Koori Court
(03) 5032 0800
Warrnambool Koori Court
(03) 5564 1111