Chapter 13

Which court?

13.11At present, the majority of pecuniary penalty statutes provide for pecuniary penalties to be imposed by the High Court. However, the Unsolicited Electronic Messages Act 2007 makes it clear that proceedings can be taken in either the District or High Court, depending on the amount of penalty sought. Under section 37(2)(b) of the Act the District Court can impose pecuniary penalties, but only up to a maximum penalty of $200,000. As a general premise, we have no concerns with this approach. In some cases, pecuniary penalty matters will pose a proposition which differs little to other matters dealt with habitually in the District Court. Pecuniary penalties may therefore be District Court matters, subject to jurisdictional limit and any perceived policy concerns that indicate that a particular statute warrants High Court oversight.