Local Court of the Northern Territory

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The Local Court of the Northern Territory is a court in the Northern Territory which has jurisdiction over civil disputes up to A$100,000.


The court was established in 1989 under the Local Court Act (NT). The court replaced the Local Court established under the Local Courts Ordinance 1941 (NT). All work that was pending in the former Local Court was deemed to be able to be continued in the newly established court.


The court has jurisdiction to deal with claims for damages, debt and equitable relief if the amount sought is less than $100,000. The parties to the claim can agree to have larger amounts determined by the Court. Claims concerning the ownership of property can also be determine irrespective of their value.[1] Proceedings can also be transferred to the Supreme Court of the Northern Territory on the application of each party.[2] Cases are commenced by way of a statement of claim alleging the nature of the claim. The court encourages parties to complete their claims in plain English using non-technical language wherever possible. However some claims may need to be properly formulated with legal terminology. A person can defend the statement of claim by lodging a written defence. The defence essentially answers the allegations made by the plaintiff and may allege any facts in support of the defence. Additionally, the defendant may counter-claim against the plaintiff if there is a claim. After a defence is filed, the registrar of the court fixes a conciliation conference[3] to which the parties are required to attend. Parties can explore settlement or the matter can be listed for hearing. Cases are heard before a stipendiary magistrate.

Other jurisdiction

The court also has the power to grant adoptions and to determine appeals against decisions of certain statutory office holders or bodies, such as appeals from the decisions of the Commissioner of Tenancies.[4]


The court does not have its own judicial officers. Instead, stipendiary magistrates constitute the court. In certain circumstances, the judicial registrar or a registrar may constitute the court as well.


In certain circumstances, an appeal on a question of law may be made to the Supreme Court of the Northern Territory.


  1. ^ section 14
  2. ^ section 18
  3. ^ Part 32
  4. ^ homepage of the court


  • Local Court Act (NT) http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/nt/consol_act/lca131/
  • Local Court Rules (NT) http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/nt/consol_reg/lcr180/
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