AustLII have been publishing the decisions of District Courts (the equivalent of our County Court) from other states for some time.
They had been on record as saying they weren’t interested in publishing the decisions of the summary jurisdiction. But last year the Victorian Legal Services Commissioner made a substantial grant to AustLII, and they wanted written Magistrates’ Court decisions on-line.
(While it’s sometimes said that the Magistrates’ Court and County Court are not courts of record, that’s not the case. Both meet the requirements of a court of record.)
Since most of their decisions are delivered ex tempore (not with written reasons) you won’t be able to find every judicial decision. And, of course, where the verdict was from a jury trial, you won’t find reasons at all (though, in future, you might find sentencing remarks).
Only where the magistrate or judge files written reasons will they be uploaded to AustLII, and they’re under no obligation to do so. So, in a way, it’s as if individual judicial officers are deciding whether to “report” their decision in a particular case.
Unfortunately, it’s not comprehensive. Even where a notorious written decision was given, there’s no guarantee it’ll be there. The database for the County Court looks like a straight lift from the County Court website, which was far from complete. So, for example, if you’re looking for the precursor to DPP v Mastwyk, Salton v Wigg (27/2/98) Victorian County Court (Kimm J, Unreported), among the County Court cases, you won’t find it.
More databases are expected soon. Like earlier AustLII efforts, it’s likely that the fruits of their labour will only be realised down the track.