The Children's Court was first established in the Northern Territory in 1958 with the passage of the Child Welfare Ordinance 1958. Prior to this, the State Children Act 1895 (and all South Australian legislation) also applied to the Northern Territory. This legislation governed the operation of the Children's Court in the NT until 1983. The Community Welfare Act 1983 established a new Family Matters Court in the NT. This act was introduced in conjunction with the Juvenile Justice Act which commenced in April 1984 and established the Juvenile Court. This court was renamed the Youth Justice Court in 2006.
The report of the Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children in the Northern Territory, delivered 17 November 2017 contained findings that the court systems were operating contrary to the Youth Justice Act and the Care and Protection of Children Act. The Royal Commission's recommendations included the establishment of a separate court venue in Alice Springs for proceedings under the Youth Justice Act and the Care and Protection of Children Act as a matter of urgency.
Prepared by: Cate O'Neill
Created: 13 September 2018