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Government of Western Australia. (n.d.). District Court.

Australia's legal system

Australia's High Court

Case law and doctrine

To celebrate the 20th anniversary of the High Court's decision in the MABO case, Message Stick has produced 480: MABO - a 5 x 8' mini-documentary series which looks back over the history of land rights, Eddie Mabo and his role in a landmark decision made by the courts that overturned the legal doctrine of terra nullius.

Criminal and civil courts

The programme focuses on the differences between criminal and civil law. It begins with a brief description of legal and non-legal rules. It examines what constitutes a criminal act, the difference between a summary and indictable offence and the principles of criminal liability. The programme discusses civil law and its purpose in society while looking at the two major branches of civil law, Law of Torts and Law of Contract and how to decide whether a situation is part of criminal law or civil law or both.


This programme discusses the differences between criminal and civil procedures. It focuses on the role the Magistrates Court plays in dealing with summary and indictable offences and the trial procedure in the County Court. It looks at the purpose of pre-trial civil procedures in exposing all evidence in order to reach an out-of-court settlement. How civil disputes are resolved and how this differs from that of a criminal trial. The programme concludes, comparing the different outcomes that are available to a judge in a criminal dispute and to a judge or jury in a civil dispute.

Compiled and created by Luciana Cavallaro March 2023