District Court of Queensland

The District Court of Queensland is the second tier in the court hierarchy of Queensland, Australia.[1] The Court deals with serious criminal offences such as rape, armed robbery and fraud. Juries are used to decide if defendants are guilty or not guilty.

District Court of Queensland
Cairns Courthouse, a permanent location for the District Court
Established1866–1921; 1958
JurisdictionQueensland, Australia
LocationQueen Elizabeth II Courts of Law in Brisbane; Beenleigh; Cairns; Ipswich; Maroochydore; Rockhampton; Southport, Townsville
Authorized byQueensland Parliament via the District Court of Queensland Act 1967 (Qld)
Appeals toSupreme Court of Queensland
Appeals fromMagistrates Court of Queensland
Chief Judge
CurrentlyKerry J. O'Brien
Since20 October 2014 (2014-10-20)

The original court was established in 1866 to ease the workload of the Supreme Court of Queensland. However, in 1921 the Queensland Parliament decided District Courts were no longer necessary and the courts were abolished. They were re-established by Parliament in 1958, again to relieve the workload in the Supreme Court. The present court is constituted under the District Court of Queensland Act 1967 (Qld).[2] That Act amalgamated the previous District Court in existence prior to 1967 into the new District Court.

The District Court sits in 32 locations across Queensland. Judges also travel throughout the state to hear matters in regional and remote areas.

Decisions made by the District Court may be heard on appeal to the Supreme Court; and the District Court may sit as an appellate court for decisions made in the Magistrates Court of Queensland.[1]


Queensland Court Hierarchy

Federal Law Courts

Queensland Law Courts


The District Court has jurisdiction to hear civil matters for which the amount in dispute is less than or equal to $750,000, and more than $150,000.[1] Civil disputes in which the amount in dispute is more than $750,000 are heard by the Supreme Court, while those in which the amount is $150,000 or less are heard by either the Magistrates Court or the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal.[1]


The District Court has the jurisdiction to hear criminal matters in which the defendant has been charged with a serious indictable offence (such as armed robbery, rape, and dangerous driving).[1] These trials require a jury.


Chief Judge of the District Court

NameDate appointedTerm in officeNotes
Chief Judge Kerry J. O'Brien 20 October 2014 (2014-10-20) 5 years, 58 days [3]

Judges of the District Court

The District Court operates permanent courts in Brisbane, located in the Queen Elizabeth II Courts of Law building on George Street, Brisbane CBD; and Cairns, Ipswich, Maroochydore, Rockhampton, Southport, Townsville, and sits in regional areas as required.[1][4] In Brisbane, the District Court shares the location with the Supreme Court.

As of July 2016, the judges who sat at the District Court, together with their location, were:[3]

NameLocationDate appointedTerm in officeComments
Judge David C. Andrews SCBrisbane28 March 2008 (2008-03-28)11 years, 264 days
Judge John R. Baulch SCTownsville10 September 2010 (2010-09-10)9 years, 98 days
Judge Helen P. Bowskill QCBrisbane10 November 2014 (2014-11-10)5 years, 37 days
Judge Sarah BradleyIpswich25 March 1999 (1999-03-25)20 years, 267 days
Judge Michael J. F. BurnettRockhampton3 November 2014 (2014-11-03)5 years, 44 days
Judge Brendan Butler AM, SCBrisbane15 September 2008 (2008-09-15)11 years, 93 days
Judge Leanne Clare SCBrisbane2 April 2008 (2008-04-02)11 years, 259 days
Judge Ian DeardenBrisbane28 February 2005 (2005-02-28)14 years, 292 days
Judge Brian G. Devereaux SCBrisbane17 July 2009 (2009-07-17)10 years, 153 days
Justice Julie M. Dick SCBrisbane14 December 2000 (2000-12-14)19 years, 3 days
Judge Kiernan DorneyQCBrisbane19 February 2010 (2010-02-19)9 years, 301 days
Judge Stuart G. Durward SCTownsville21 August 2006 (2006-08-21)13 years, 118 days
Judge William G. EversonBrisbane2 April 2008 (2008-04-02)11 years, 259 days
Judge Brad Farr SCBrisbane11 August 2011 (2011-08-11)8 years, 128 days
Judge Brian HarrisonCairns19 February 2010 (2010-02-19)9 years, 301 days
Judge Alexander Horneman-Wren SCIpswich20 October 2012 (2012-10-20)7 years, 58 days
Judge Richard JonesBrisbane19 February 2010 (2010-02-19)9 years, 301 days
Judge Fleur Y. KinghamBrisbane17 July 2006 (2006-07-17)13 years, 153 days
Judge Gregory J. KoppenolIpswich21 September 2007 (2007-09-21)12 years, 87 days
Judge Gary Long SCMaroochydore13 May 2011 (2011-05-13)8 years, 218 days
Judge Terence D. Martin SCBrisbane13 July 2007 (2007-07-13)12 years, 157 days
Judge Dean P. Morzone QCCairns27 October 2014 (2014-10-27)5 years, 51 days
Judge Tony Moynihan QCBrisbane25 June 2015 (2015-06-25)4 years, 175 days
Judge Douglas J. McGill SCBrisbane9 September 1996 (1996-09-09)23 years, 99 days
Judge Katherine M. McGinnessSouthport17 July 2009 (2009-07-17)10 years, 153 days
Judge Michael J. Noud SCBrisbane17 July 1989 (1989-07-17)30 years, 153 days
Judge Michael E. Rackemann SCBrisbane12 January 2004 (2004-01-12)15 years, 339 days
Judge Anthony J. Rafter SCBrisbane15 December 2006 (2006-12-15)13 years, 2 days
Judge David ReidBrisbane19 February 2010 (2010-02-19)9 years, 301 days
Judge Deborah RichardsBrisbane26 November 1998 (1998-11-26)21 years, 21 days
Judge Orazio RinaudoBrisbane8 July 2014 (2014-07-08)5 years, 162 daysAlso Chief Magistrate
Judge John M. RobertsonMaroochydore23 September 1994 (1994-09-23)25 years, 85 days
Judge Julie RyrieBrisbane28 February 2005 (2005-02-28)14 years, 292 days
Judge David G. SearlesBrisbane13 July 2007 (2007-07-13)12 years, 157 days
Judge Michael J. ShanahanBrisbane19 August 1999 (1999-08-19)20 years, 120 daysAlso President of Children's Court
Judge Suzanne C. SheridanBrisbane24 November 2014 (2014-11-24)5 years, 23 daysDeputy President, Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal
Judge Paul E. SmithBrisbane8 March 2013 (2013-03-08)6 years, 284 daysAlso Judge Administrator
Judge Clive F. Wall RFD, QCSouthport11 September 1996 (1996-09-11)23 years, 97 days

See also


  1. "The District Court of Queensland" (PDF). Department of Justice and Attorney-General (Queensland). Government of Queensland. 2010. Archived from the original (PDF) on 1 November 2013. Retrieved 15 June 2012.
  2. District Court of Queensland Act 1967 (Qld)
  3. "Judges of the District Court contacts". Department of Justice and Attorney-General (Queensland). Government of Queensland. 26 July 2016. Archived from the original on 17 August 2016. Retrieved 4 August 2016.
  4. "Courthouses contacts". Department of Justice ad Attorney-General (Queensland). Government of Queensland. 2012. Retrieved 16 June 2012.
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