Under the "Magistrates Courts Act 1921", from 3 April 1922 onwards: all small debts courts established under the Small Debts Courts Acts 1867-1894 were deemed to be magistrates courts, all officers of small debts courts were deemed to be officers of magistrates courts. Under this legislation, from 3 April 1922 the Small Debts Court, Brisbane was deemed to be the Magistrates Court, Brisbane.
Under the "Justices Act Amendment Act 1964", from 1 January 1965 onwards: all courts of petty sessions districts were deemed to be magistrates courts districts, all places previously appointed for the holding of courts of petty sessions were deemed to be places for the holding of magistrates courts, all clerks of petty sessions were deemed to be registrars of magistrates courts. Under this legislation, from 1 January 1965 onwards, the Court of Petty Sessions, Brisbane was deemed to be the Magistrates Court, Brisbane.
Under the "Magistrates Courts Act 1921", magistrates courts inherited the civil functions of small debts courts. With the abolition of district courts by this same Act, their jurisdiction increased to claims of £200 or less in the following civil actions: personal actions, actions for the unliquidated balance of a partnership account, actions for a distributive share under an intestacy or for a legacy under a will, equity suits for recovery of money or damages, actions for replevin concerning distress for rent, summary actions for ejectment between lessors and lessees, and complaints for maintenance. In 2000 Magistrates Courts hear claims to $50000.
Under the "Justices Act Amendment Act 1964", magistrates courts inherited the petty criminal jurisdiction of courts of petty sessions. Petty criminal jurisdiction is a complicated matter of law involving numerous Commonwealth and State statutes but can be briefly described as jurisdiction over summary trials of simple offences and committal proceedings for indictable offences sent to the Supreme Court.
Actions brought before a Magistrates Court are heard and determined by a magistrate sitting alone. Originally under the "Decentralization of Magistrates Courts Act of 1965" and most recently from 2004 the Magistrates Court, Brisbane is within the Brisbane Magistrates Courts District, the area of which is the district is the City of Brisbane, and the names of the divisions are Central (city), Holland Park, Inala (Richlands), Sandgate and Wynnum.