The Magistrates Cases began in 1969 under the then Chief Stipendiary Magistrate Mr Bill Cuthill. Relevant judgments of the Supreme Court of Victoria were sent to Mr Cuthill who then arranged for them to be copied and distributed to all serving Magistrates in Victoria. These Cases were not edited.
In the 1970s, responsibility for the distribution of the Cases was taken on by Stipendiary Magistrates John Wallace and Kevin Burgess (later DCSM). Most of the Cases were edited in some form and an Annual Index prepared and distributed to the Magistrates.
In 1983 the present Editor Stipendiary Magistrate Patrick Street (later DCM) began to edit the Cases and produced them in a compact readable format, generally ten Parts per year plus a comprehensive Index. This format has continued to the present date which means that Mr Street has been editing the Cases continuously for more than 33 years.
Since 1969 the Magistrates’ Court has been responsible for the publication and distribution of the Cases. However, in 1995, the Law Institute of Victoria took over the publication of the Cases. The then LIV President Mark Woods approached Mr Street with the suggestion that the Cases be generally available to practitioners as a booklet distributed with the LIV Journal. Mr Woods said: “Recognising that this is the court in which most Victorians litigate, the Institute has been concerned to devise a scheme by which members of the LIV have the opportunity of receiving this resource at the same time that magistrates do.”
This arrangement with the LIV continued until 1998 when the Magistrates’ Court resumed publication and distribution of the Cases.
The Cases are now available by subscription via magistratescases.com.au. This service is supervised and guaranteed by the present Editor Patrick Street. Parts 1-13 of 2017 have now been issued. Parts 1 and 2 of 2018 have been published and Part 3 is in preparation.
In relation to past issues, the Cases back to 1969 have now been uploaded to the database and the Cases are currently available in annual bound volumes. In addition, subscribers have online access to more than 2,600 Cases and Case Notes ranging from the 1960s to the present.
The full set of the Magistrates Cases is an invaluable legal resource for any person who is connected with or practises in the Magistrates’ Court of Victoria.