Reasons for a court hierarchy

Victorian courts are arranged in order according to the seriousness of the matters they hear. This is done so for four main reasons:


Because courts are divided by the matters they hear, court personnel at each level become familiar with the types of cases heard, the relevant laws to those cases and the procedures to be followed. Courts can employ specialist personnel. For example, Family Court personnel, including counsellors, will have detailed knowledge of the Family Law Act 1975, and may understand the specific needs of the parties coming before this court.

Doctrine of Precedent

The Doctrine of Precedent cannot operate effectively without a court hierarchy. Under this doctrine, rulings on new matters from superior courts are binding on all lower courts in the hierarchy. This ensures that the law is consistently applied.


Appeals can only work effectively with a court hierarchy. If a party is not satisfied with the outcome of their case, they must have the opportunity to have their case reviewed by a superior court. This is a crucial element to ensuring that trials are fair and unbiased.

Administrative efficiency

Minor matters are heard locally, and major matters by higher courts. Therefore, the administration of justice is streamlined. Because court personnel have specialised knowledge, they can process cases quickly, which reduces court delays and costs.

See also:

Victorian Court Hierarchy