The district court is the intermediate court in the states judicial hierarchy. It is a trial court and has an appellate jurisdiction. In addition, the judges of the court preside over a range of tribunals.
In its criminal jurisdiction, the court may deal with all criminal offences except murder, treason and piracy.
In its civil jurisdiction, the court may deal with:
- All motor accident cases, irrespective of the amount claimed
- Other claims to a maximum amount of $750,000, though it may deal with matters exceeding this amount if the parties consent
The Compensation Court Repeal Act 2002 abolished the NSW Compensation Court and most of its work was transferred to the Workers Compensation Commission. However, certain disputes were transferred to the district court in its residual jurisdiction including:
- The Police Act 1990 concerning police officers hurt on duty and the Police Regulation (Superannuation) Act 1906 concerning the payment of superannuation benefits to police officers.
- Payment under the Police Regulation (Superannuation) Act 1906, paid to STC (the SAS Trustee Corporation continued under the Superannuation Administration Act 1996) and special risk benefits payable by the Commissioner of Police.
- The Workers' Compensation Act 1987 concerning workers in or about a coal mine.
- The Workers Compensation (Dust Diseases) Act 1942.
- The Sporting Injuries Insurance Scheme.
- The Workers' Compensation (Bush Fire, Emergency & Rescue Services) Act 1987.
The district court has a summary jurisdiction to hear offences committed under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011. WorkCover NSW is the prosecuting authority in these cases.
NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal, Occupational Division
Judges of the District Court may sit in the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal in the Occupational Division to hear complaints of professional misconduct against medical doctors. The Occupational Division replaced the Medical Tribunal on 1 January 2014. The registry of the occupational division is located in Sydney.