People accused of serious offences, called crimes or indictable offences, are dealt with in the Supreme Court. Preliminary hearings are conducted in the Magistrates Court.
If the defendant pleads guilty it is ordered that he or she appear in the Supreme Court for sentencing by a judge. If the defendant pleads not guilty and there is to be a trial, it is ordered that he or she appear in the Supreme Court for trial, by a jury of twelve people, in a court presided over by a judge. Those found guilty by the jury are then sentenced by the judge.
When the Supreme Court deals with criminal matters it is often referred to as the Criminal Court.
Whilst the Supreme Court has jurisdiction in all civil matters, normally only those matters involving a dispute over a sum in excess of $50,000 are dealt with in this court. These cases are usually tried by a judge alone but, in some cases, a party may choose to be tried by a jury of seven people.