Hundreds of Victorians are expected to flock to the County Court on Saturday 18 May for the annual Courts Open Day event.
The rare behind-the-scenes, family friendly, free event will include a never-before held ‘Talk to the Judge’ session.
The County Court judges will also be putting on a sausage sizzle in the forecourt. All money raised will go to Berry Street, an organisation dedicated to ensuring children have safe homes, an excellent education and access to essential services.
Places for Courts Open Day events are limited, and will be distributed on a first-come-first serve basis on the day. Please arrive at least 15 minutes before your event to allow time to clear security.
We look forward to seeing you there.
Level 3 Foyer
Urban Campfire – a rotating exhibition that engages with community groups and individuals in the City of Yarra – raises awareness of the Neighbourhood Justice Centre (NJC) and strengthens community connections to justice services through creative means and active participation in the space. This display shows some artworks from NJC’s Weddings, Parties, Anything exhibition.
10.00am–11.45am, 11.30am–1.30pm & 2.00pm–4.00pm
This combines the Custody Cells Tour and ‘I Plead Guilty Your Honour’ Mock Hearing. A behind-the-scenes tour where you will experience what it is like to be an accused person arriving at court in custody, being placed in a holding cell and meeting your lawyer before entering a plea of guilty before a judge. *Tickets will be available at the Ticket Desk. Please note, you can only book a ticket for the next scheduled session. Meet at the designated area on the Ground Floor 10 minutes before start time.
Waldron Hall, Level 1
Come along and learn all about jury service in this interactive session with Paul Dore, Victoria’s Juries Commissioner. Discover how criminal and civil juries differ, the jury’s role during a trial, what happens during deliberations, and a cautionary tale or two on what not to do on a jury!
10.00am–11.00am & 11.30am–12.30pm
Join some of Victoria’s most experienced female judges and lawyers for a panel session that details their experiences and how they see the future for women in law. This interactive session provides an opportunity to ask questions of the panellists and find out more about being a woman working in the area of criminal law.
10.30am–11.30am & 1.30pm–2.30pm
Have you ever considered a career as a barrister, or just wondered what exactly barristers do? The Victorian Bar presents a special session showcasing the skills of counsel against the background of a bail application, from client advice through to appearing in court.
10.30am–11.00am, 12.00pm–12.30pm, 12.30pm–1.00pm & 2.30pm–3.00pm
Take a tour of the custody cells under the County Court and see first-hand where accused in custody await their matters to be heard. *Tickets will be available at the Ticket Desk. Please note, you can only book a ticket for the next scheduled session. Meet at the designated area on the Ground Floor 10 minutes before start time.
10.30am–11.45am, 12.00pm–1.30pm & 2.30pm–4.00pm
Experience the mock arraignment, plea hearing, prosecution opening, defence submissions and a judge’s sentencing of a person pleading guilty to an offence. Each of the participants will also talk about their roles in the hearing and within the criminal justice system and answer any questions you may have.
Experience the unique style of sentencing in this mock County Koori Court plea hearing. In the County Koori Court the Judge sits around a table with Aboriginal Elders or Respected Persons to have a sentencing conversation with the accused, who is an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander offender.
Join our judges for a BBQ; grab a bite in exchange for a gold coin donation. Vegetarian and gluten-free options available. Proceeds go towards Berry Street – providing safe homes to vulnerable children and young people, healing trauma and strengthening families.
Waldron Hall, Level 1
Her Honour Judge Amanda Chambers, President of the Children’s Court of Victoria, will present on the sentencing framework in the Children’s Court as it applies to the criminal offending of children and young people.
This mock hearing will follow the story of a prisoner from when he is sentenced to when he applies for parole. The audience will learn about parole, including how the Board makes its decisions and get to say if they believe the Board should grant parole.
Waldron Hall, Level 1
Of all the sentences handed down by County Court judges, only a fraction get reported on. So how does the community find out about the real work that goes on behind the bench? This is your opportunity to go straight to the source and speak directly with a judge, clearing up common misconceptions about the work judges do. *Tickets will be available at the Ticket Desk.
Come and see Melbourne Law School students compete in a simulated criminal trial. Teams each consist of one barrister and one witness. The barrister acts for either the prosecution or the defence in examining witnesses and arguing their case before the judge.
Waldron Hall, Level 1
Will smartphones be the death of the jury system as we know it? Can people’s natural inclination to Google information undermine our justice system? Is social media eroding the right to a fair trial? Join Paul Dore, Victoria’s Juries Commissioner, in a discussion on jury duty in the digital age. Find out the good, the bad and the ugly of technology and juries, and the challenges and opportunities they present.
Experience first-hand a mock jury empanelment in court and gain an insight into how a jury is selected. Members of the audience will be asked to play the role of jurors in the courtroom. A Deputy Juries Commissioner from Juries Victoria will also be available to answer any questions about the Victorian jury system.
Gain a rare insight into the work of the Post Sentence Authority and discover how it keeps the community safe by monitoring serious sexual and violent offenders. Audience members will have the opportunity to step into the shoes of the Authority, learn how it manages offenders, and provide their own views on whether a serious offender should be allowed to live in the community. The event will be hosted by Michele Williams QC, Chair of the Post Sentence Authority.
For more information visit the Law Week website.