The Drug Court closed on 1 July 2013. However, if you're under a Drug Court order, you'll still continue under transitional provisions.
Mental Health Court
The Mental Health Court is a special hearing of the Supreme Court that makes decisions about criminal cases where the accused person may have a psychiatric disability. Psychiatrists help the court understand the specialist clinical evidence presented.
The Mental Health Court decides if the person’s disability was a significant factor in them committing the offence and whether they should be referred for treatment in the mental health service or sent for trial in a criminal court.
The Mental Health Court is usually open to the public but can be closed in special cases or when the person charged is under 18 years.
Find out about a mental health examination.
What decisions can the Mental Health Court make?
When you have been charged with an offence, the Mental Health Court can make decisions as to whether you are:
Of unsound mind at the time of the offence.
Of sound mind and fit for trial
Fit for trial but there's a dispute of facts
Temporarily unfit for trial
Permanently unfit for trial
Granted a defence of diminished responsibility (in the case of a murder charge)
Read more about the Mental Health Court.
Land Court of Queensland
The Land Court hears and determines matters relating to valuation and natural resource issues, including:
- claims for compensation for compulsory acquisition of land
- appeals against land valuations for rating, rental and land tax purposes
- objections against the grant of mining tenures and environmental authorities
- compensation for access to land for mining , petroleum and other resource activities
- appeals against decisions concerning water licences
- indigenous land and cultural heritage issues, including the grant of injunctions and approval of cultural heritage management plans.
A proceeding in the Land Court is started by filing an “originating application” with the registrar of the Court. Land Court Practice Direction 2 of 2013 explains which particular court form should be used to start a proceeding.The current registrar of the Court is Mr Kev Hayden (Ph: 3247 5180).
The Land Court is located in the Brisbane Magistrates Court building at 363 George Street, Brisbane, but it can sit anywhere in Queensland. Normally, a case will be heard in the district where the land the subject of the dispute is located. The Court can also hear evidence or submissions via telephone or video link if appropriate.
The Land Court is made up of ‘Members’ including a President. Members have essentially the same role in a dispute as a judge. Members are qualified lawyers who have extensive experience in land-related matters, mining or petroleum issues, indigenous issues or some other relevant field.Hearings are usually presided over by the President or a Member sitting alone.
During a hearing, each party presents their case to the Court and may call witnesses to give evidence under oath. A party to a proceeding in the Land Court may appear personally or by lawyer or agent.
Find out more about the Land Court.
Planning and Environment Court
The Planning and Environment Court (P and E Court) hears matters including those relating to:
- planning and development
- environmental protection
- coastal protection and management
- marine parks
- nature conservation
- transport infrastructure
- vegetation management.
You don't have to be legally represented in the P and E Court. You may appear personally or be represented by a lawyer or by an agent who is not a lawyer. Read more about the Planning and Environment Court.
The coroner is a magistrate who investigates reportable deaths that occur in Queensland.A reportable death is a death where:
- the identity of the person is unknown
- the death was violent or unnatural, such as accidents, falls, suicides or drug overdoses
- the death happened in suspicious circumstances
- a ‘cause of death’ certificate has not been issued and is not likely to be issued
- the death was a health care related death
- the death occurred in care
- the death occurred in custody
- the death occurred as a result of police operations.
The purpose of the investigation by the coroner is to determine:
- the identity of the deceased
- when and where they died
- how they died
- the medical cause of death
Holding an inquest
As part of the investigation, the coroner may decide to hold an inquest—a court hearing—to gather more information about the cause and circumstances of the death.
It is usually held in the Magistrates Court closest to where the person died.
It is not a trial and there is no jury.
Witnesses may be called to give evidence.
Very few coronial investigations proceed to inquest.
An inquest must be held if:
- the person died in custody
- the death occurred while the person was in care and there are issues about the care that was provided
- the death occurred as a result of police operations (unless the coroner believes that an inquest is not required)
A coroner may decide to hold an inquest if it is in the public interest. For example:
- there is significant doubt about the cause and circumstances of the death
- an inquest may help to prevent future deaths or uncover systemic issues which affect public health and safety.
The coroner presents written findings at the end of the inquest.The findings may include recommendations aimed at preventing similar deaths in the future.
The coroner cannot (under the legislation) make a finding that a person is guilty of an offence or civilly liable for something.
The coroner’s findings and recommendations cannot be used as evidence in any other court or tribunal.
Read more about Coronial inquests.
Requesting an inquest
You can request an inquest be held into a family member’s death by writing to the coroner.Read more about inquests and how to request one.
Find out more about the Coroners Court.
Read more about courts in Queensland.