When does the DPP appeal in the civil jurisdiction? 

Appeals conducted within the civil jurisdiction of the Supreme Court include:

  • appeals to the Supreme Court on a question of law
  • judicial reviews of Magistrates’ Court decisions.

Question of law

A party to a criminal proceeding (other than a committal hearing) can appeal on a question of law against a ‘final order’ of the Magistrates’ Court. These appeals are determined as questions of law. If the Supreme Court upholds the appeal, the matter is usually sent back to the Magistrates’ Court for determination according to law.    

A high proportion of appeals to the Supreme Court on a question of law relate to drink driving prosecutions. If Victoria Police wants to appeal to the Supreme Court on a question of law, the appeal can only be instituted by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) on behalf of the police. 

Judicial review

The judicial review procedure, under the ‘Supreme Court Rules’, provides a means of seeking correction of error. This procedure is used to review the orders or actions of a judicial officer usually on the basis of:

  • error as to jurisdiction
  • failure to exercise jurisdiction, or
  • denial of procedural fairness.

The DPP uses this procedure to review decisions of the Magistrates’ Court and the County Court, where the decision infringes jurisdiction and is not amenable to other forms of appeal. This procedure is the only avenue available to review a County Court appeal. A high proportion of these reviews are of County Court appeals relating to drink driving prosecutions.

Appeals solicitors conduct the Crown case in almost all actions brought by accused persons in relation to Magistrates’ Court and County Court proceedings.