Types of courts and their roles

Supreme Court

The Supreme Court is the highest court in the Northern Territory (NT). It hears both civil and criminal cases.

It is made up of a chief justice, judges and the master, who are appointed by the Administrator of the Northern Territory.

Civil cases

Civil cases are usually heard by a single judge. Some cases may be referred to a full court or the Court of Appeal which is heard by three judges.

Criminal cases

Most criminal cases are heard in front of a panel of twelve people in the community that make up the jury and a judge. 

The jury makes a decision on whether the defendant is guilty based on the evidence they hear in court. 

The judge decides what punishment a person should receive if they are found guilty, known as sentencing.


For civil cases, appeals are made to the Court of Appeal.

For criminal cases, appeals are made to the Court of Criminal Appeal.

Appeals from these two courts are made to the High Court of Australia.

Contact details


GPO Box 3946
Darwin NT 0801

Supreme Court Building
State Square
Darwin NT 0800

Find contact details for the registry office.

Find contact details for the sheriff's office.

Alice Springs

GPO Box 1394
Alice Springs NT 0871

Law Courts Building
Corner Hartly and Parsons Street
Alice Springs NT 0870

Find out more information and further contact details, go to the Supreme Court website.

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Last updated: 18 June 2020

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