Documents and recordings
Most criminal, civil, family law, family violence and victims of crime matters held in open court are recorded. The court register can also be searched at any Magistrates’ Court venue.
Requesting audio recordings
Most criminal, civil, family law, family violence and victims of crime matters held in open court are recorded. Audio recordings are available for 12 months from the date of the hearing.
Only parties to the proceedings are permitted to obtain a copy of the recording. Parties include the:
- accused person
- affected person/affected family member/protected person
- legal representative of any of the above.
Obtaining a copy of a recording
A request for a copy of a digital recording is made by completing the request for copy of audio recording form. Applications must be made directly to the Magistrates’ Court where the proceeding was heard.
Any person who obtains a copy of an audio recording from the court must not copy, distribute or publish, or cause the copying, distribution or publication of the recording in any way without approval of the court.
A fee of $55 – per audio recording – must also be paid. Audio recordings will not be provided unless the court has received payment. Payment can be made in person to the relevant Magistrates’ Court via money order, EFTPOS, or cash. Audio recordings are generally supplied within 14 days of the request.
Approval to obtain a recording
If a person other than those listed above as parties to the proceeding, or if a request for recording does not comply with certain requirements, then approval for the release of a recording needs to be given by the Chief Magistrate, Deputy Chief Magistrate or the division head of that jurisdiction.
For more information contact your nearest Magistrates' Court.
See the Court Services Victoria website for more information.
Requesting court documents
Media can apply on the day of a hearing to view court documents by completing an online media application form.
Court documents include, but are not limited to:
- charge and summons
- the prosecution summary
- a hand-up brief
- CCTV footage
- police statements.
The presiding judicial officer will decide if court documents will be released for inspection or copies provided. Photocopied documents are charged at 60c per page. The release of documents from the court file is always at the discretion of the presiding judicial officer.
If a media application form is not lodged during the court hearing, another hearing will need to be set to hear the application. Parties involved in the matter must have the application served on them.
This allows them to attend the hearing of the application. A registrar will send a copy of the application to the accused on behalf of the applicant as the address of an accused cannot be released without an order of the court.
Searching the court register
The court register – a database containing information about charges, penalties and final orders – can be searched at any Magistrates’ Court venue. Section 18 of the Magistrates’ Court Act 1989 outlines what information can be accessed from the register. Only matters that have concluded can be searched.
It costs $26 to access the register. Notes can be taken from the information sighted. If a printed copy is required, a certified extract needs to be purchased and the cost is $50.50 per extract. Each extract contains only one charge.
Payment is made in person at the relevant Magistrates’ Court.
John Smith is seeking background information about a person who has appeared in court.
Mr Smith goes to his nearest Magistrates’ Court and pays $26 to search for the person’s name. The search reveals three previous outcomes. John decides he’d like a copy of each of the outcomes, requiring three certified extracts.
The cost of accessing the court register and printing the three extracts is $177.50 – $26 for the search fee and $151.50 for the three extracts.
Documents may need to be witnessed by an authorised person before they can be accepted by a range of organisations. They are witnessed to confirm the accuracy of information and minimise the risk of people fraudulently submitting documents.
See the witnessing documents page for more information.
Audio visual links
The video link facility is a tool utilised by the Magistrates Court to enable court users to communicate more efficiently. To make arrangements for a video link, you need to contact the relevant Magistrates’ Court.
See the audio visual links page for more information.