Agency Details

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Agency ID4628
TitleSupreme Court of Queensland
Agency TypeSupreme Court
Start Date 10/12/1859
End Date Current
Date NotesN/A

The Supreme Court is the highest court in Queensland, comprising a Trial Division and the Court of Appeal.

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Series IDTitleFromTo
15689Document of John Baker's Discharge As Magistrate N/A N/A
15688Letters Patent re Justices of the Peace Enrolled in the Court and Entered in the Register of Patents N/A N/A
15694Monthly Statements of Monies Collected N/A N/A
15525Press Cuttings of Judgments N/A N/A
15678Receipts for Money Paid Out of Court N/A N/A
15552Register of Deeds of Assignment N/A N/A
5721Indexes to Writs of Prohibition 1/1/1859 30/6/1874
15673Miscellaneous Papers Filed in Criminal Cases [Supreme Court] 10/12/1859 13/4/1863
15456Letters Received 10/12/1859 18/5/1863
15687Attorney's Papers on Various Matters Retained in Supreme Court 10/12/1859 31/12/1866
15530Judgment Files in Civil Cases, 10/12/1859 31/12/1868
5751Articles of Clerkship Files 10/12/1859 30/6/1874
15505Equity Files 10/12/1859 30/6/1874
15522Files Relating to the Admission of Persons to Practice as Barristers, Solicitors and Other Legal Practitioners 10/12/1859 30/6/1874
15499Insolvency Files [Supreme Court, Southern District, Brisbane] 10/12/1859 30/6/1874
15490Letterbook of the Resident Judge, Moreton Bay and Associates 10/12/1859 30/6/1874
5750Miscellaneous Files (proceedings started otherwise than by Writ) Supreme Court, Brisbane 10/12/1859 30/6/1874
15548Miscellaneous Insolvency Papers 10/12/1859 30/6/1874
5739Oaths of Allegiance Administered to Justices of the Peace 10/12/1859 30/6/1874
5741Oaths of Allegiance Sworn by Aliens Being Naturalised 10/12/1859 30/6/1874
15516Register Boards re Admissions to Practice As Attorneys, Barristers and Conveyancers 10/12/1859 30/6/1874
5177Registers of Aliens to Whom Oaths of Allegiance for Naturalisation Were Administered 10/12/1859 30/6/1874
5170Registers of Ecclesiastical Files - Supreme Court, Southern District, Brisbane (Wills) 10/12/1859 30/6/1874
540Registers of Miscellaneous Files [Proceedings Commenced Otherwise Than by Writ] - Supreme Court, Brisbane 10/12/1859 30/6/1874
15521Rolls of Barristers, Attorneys, Solicitors, Proctors and Conveyancers admitted to practice [photocopy] 10/12/1859 30/6/1874
4486Supreme Court (Southern) Ecclesiastical Files (Wills) 10/12/1859 30/6/1874
5687Writs (Civil - Supreme Court, Brisbane) 10/12/1859 30/6/1874
5720Writs of Prohibition 10/12/1859 30/6/1874
18554Judges' Notebooks (Supreme Court) 10/12/1859 7/3/1994
15497Indexes to Equity Files 1/1/1860 30/6/1874
5740Indexes to Oaths of Allegiance Administered to Justices of the Peace 1/1/1860 30/6/1874
5727Writs of Habeas Corpus 1/1/1860 30/6/1874
571Registers of Articled Clerks 1/1/1860 31/12/1991
5743Certificates of Naturalisation and Associated Papers 20/2/1860 30/6/1874
15518Index to Files Relating to the Admission of Persons to Practice As Solicitors 1/1/1861 30/6/1874
5688Matrimonial Petitions - Supreme Court, Southern District, Brisbane 1/1/1861 30/6/1874
5176Religious and Charitable Files 1/1/1862 30/6/1874
5733Commissioners for Affidavits (And Writs) Files 1/1/1863 30/6/1874
5171Orders and Elections - Supreme Court, Southern District, Brisbane 1/1/1863 30/6/1874
5752Papers re Admission As Articled Clerks 1/3/1863 30/6/1874
15629Affidavits, Returns to Writs, Etc. [northern Writs] 1/1/1864 31/12/1872
5736Registers of Commissioners of the Court Authorised to Issue Affidavits and Writs (Alphabetical) 22/9/1864 30/6/1874
6334Insolvency Registers [Supreme Court, Southern District, Brisbane] 1/1/1866 30/6/1874
5754Affidavits, Summonses, Orders, Etc. for Cases Heard in Chambers 1/1/1867 30/6/1874
5724Register of Writs of Capias and Attachment Issued by the Sheriff of Queensland 6/8/1867 30/6/1874
1234Index to Religious and Charitable Files 1/1/1868 30/6/1874
5710Plaintiffs' Indexes to Writs and Matrimonial Petitions - Supreme Court (Brisbane) 1/1/1872 30/6/1874
5174Indexes to Orders and Elections 1/1/1873 30/6/1874
15883Register of Exhibits 18/5/1921 30/4/1925
15859Register of Exhibits 19/9/1930 3/6/1967
15796Registers of Exhibits Tendered to Mr Justice E.A. Douglas 13/3/1931 1/5/1946
15985Registers of Exhibits 7/5/1937 3/12/1951
15945Registers of Exhibits 20/5/1940 14/12/1965
16062Registers of Exhibits 10/10/1944 19/10/1964
15958Register of Exhibits 1/10/1945 27/6/1958
16063Judge's Notebooks - High Court of Australia 1/8/1947 18/8/1947
16050Registers of Exhibits 1/4/1958 28/10/1966
15799Notebooks 13/6/1961 14/7/1966
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Controlling Agencies

Agency IDTitleFromTo
19Department of Justice (I) 10/12/1859 7/12/1989
33Department of Justice and Corrective Services 7/12/1989 11/4/1991
100Department of Justice (II) 11/4/1991 24/9/1992
34Department of Justice and Attorney-General 24/9/1992 26/2/1996
120Department of Justice (III) 26/2/1996 29/6/1998
8620Department of Justice and Attorney-General (II) 29/6/1998 Current
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Controlled Agencies

Agency IDTitleFromTo
1463Official Assignee Office 10/12/1859 30/6/1874
2177Curator Of Intestate Estates Office 30/12/1859 30/6/1874
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Previous Agencies

Agency IDTitle
1163Supreme Court, Moreton Bay
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Subsequent Agencies

Details of subsequent agencies do not exist or are unavailable.
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Related Agencies

Details of related agencies do not exist or are unavailable.
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Finding Aids

This agency has no finding aids.
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Publication Notes
This agency has no publication notes.
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Information Sources

Queensland Supreme Court Ruling 1, (1860) p. 1
Supreme Court Constitution Amendment Act 1861 ss. 1-7
McPherson, B. H., The Supreme Court of Queensland 1859 - 1960, Brisbane, Butterworths, 1989, p. 29
Supreme Court of Queensland Act 1991
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Establishing Supreme Court Constitution Amendment Act 1861; Supreme Court Act of 1863
Abolishing N/A
Administered Supreme Court Acts 1861-1995
Supreme Court Rules 1900
Justices Act Amendment Act 1964
District Courts Act 1967
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Criminal and civil sittings of the New South Wales Supreme Court on circuit were held in Brisbane from 1850 to 1856. In 1857 a Resident Judge was appointed to Moreton Bay. At separation the only judge in Queensland was a judge of the Supreme Court of New South Wales, exercising jurisdiction in what had previously been the District of Moreton Bay and was now the colony of Queensland.

"From December 10, 1859, official notice, appointments of court officers, and rules of court were gazetted under the title "Supreme Court of Queensland". Although the seal of the Moreton Bay Court continued in use until 1861, proceedings in Court were entitled or addressed to "The Supreme Court of Queensland". The Acts of 1861 and 1863 simply gave statutory effect to an established political and juridical fact. If name is important, the Supreme Court came into existence at Separation on December 10, 1859, to which the legislation of 1863 later assigned its beginnings."

The Supreme Court of Queensland was formerly established under the Supreme Court Constitution Amendment Act 1861. Under the provisions of the 1861 Act, the Supreme Court of Queensland was to be a court of record to be held at Brisbane. The full powers and legal jurisdiction of the Supreme Court of New South Wales were retrospectively transferred to the Supreme Court of Queensland under the Supreme Court Act 1863.

Until the introduction of the Supreme Court Act of 1874, the Brisbane Supreme Court and the Circuit Courts were required to deal with all judicial matters of their concern, that might arise within Queensland. The 1874 Act allowed for the creation of Supreme Court Districts, and the proclamation dated 24 Sep 1874 established the Northern District's boundaries. On Sep 25 of the same year, a Supreme Court Judge was appointed to reside at Bowen as Northern Judge.

This registry became known as the Supreme Court, Northern District, Bowen and the Brisbane Registry then became known as the Supreme Court, Southern District, Brisbane. The Supreme Court, Northern District Registry was transferred to Townsville in 1889 and the Supreme Court, Central District Registry was established in 1895 at Rockhampton. Under the "Supreme Court Act 1995", the Supreme Court, Far Northern District, Cairns was established with a "Far Northern" judge resident in Cairns appointed in October 1997,

The Supreme Court exercises broad original jurisdiction (ie right to hear cases at first instance) in major civil and criminal matters as well as appellate jurisdiction (ie the right to hear appeals from a lower court.

The jurisdiction of the Supreme Court has included powers to administer legislation and to hear cases relating to: equity, insolvency, liquidation and registration of companies, elections, naturalisation, registration of printing presses and types, registration of newspapers and trade marks, ecclesiastical law, matrimony, property, local government laws, trusts and trustees, and the enrolment of barristers and solicitors.

Under the Supreme Court Act 1867, the Supreme Court was constituted by three judges, one of whom was required to be the Chief Justice of Queensland. Under the Chief Justice and Supreme Court judges, was the office of the Registrar of the Court, a Curator of Intestate Estates, associates of the Chief Justice and Justices, a chief clerk, and other minor officials of the Court.

The Supreme Court can be presided over by no more than seven justices. A single judge, sitting in Brisbane, exercises original jurisdiction, whilst appellate jurisdiction is exercised by three or more justices. From 1991, the Supreme Court has consisted of two divisions, a Trial Division, and a Court of Appeal (formerly the Full Court and Court of Criminal Appeal). Under the Supreme Court of Queensland Act 1991 the court consists of the Chief Justice, a President of the Court of Appeal, other judges of appeal, a Senior Judge Administrator, and such judges as are appointed by the Governor in Council.

As the court is a court of record, all documents presented in court matters are required to be filed in the Supreme Court Registry. The Registrar and Prothonotary is the senior officer of the Registry who is responsible for control of all officers of the Court, as well as some quasi-judicial functions under various statutes, including the granting of probate and letters of administration.

The Central, Northern and Southern District Supreme Courts have separate registries, as do each of the localities in which the Circuit Courts have jurisdiction.

The Justice Department can be regarded as controlling agency of the Supreme Court in matters concerning the basic administrative requirements of the Court.

From 31 Mar 1922 to 19 Mar 1959 the Supreme Court took on some of the functions of the District Court which did not exist during this period.

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Preferred Citation

Queensland State Archives Agency ID4628, Supreme Court of Queensland
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Last updated 9 September 2016
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Australia (CC BY 3.0) ( )
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