Who Owns the County Court?
How would you feel if you walked into Woolies or Coles, and the Manager orders that you can only shop by walking clockwise around the building, and if you don’t obey him, he will lock you in a meat locker for as long as he thinks it will take to teach you to obey him?
Of course, this is a hypothetical idea, but now let’s apply it to the courts. If you, dear reader, have ever been dragged into the County Court Melbourne and stood trial, you have a very strong claim against the court, the prosecutor and the Judge.
Because you were dragged into a private company that claims it gets its authority from the Victorian Government, and yet, that government has clearly stated on its own website that the County Court Melbourne is privately owned by a bunch of investors, including the Rothschilds! Click on this link for proof!
Victorian County Court Project | Department of Treasury and Finance Victoria (dtf.vic.gov.au)
We reproduce what their website says here:
The Victorian County Court is a fully integrated court complex located in Melbourne’s legal precinct. It is a landmark building combining modern court design principles with state of the art technology.
Victorian County Court Project
$195m (net present value, as at October 2000)
Service delivery commenced
Department or agency
Court Services Victoria
Private sector partner
The Liberty Group Pty Ltd consisting of ABN AMRO, NM Rothschild & Sons (Aust) Ltd (financiers), Multiplex Construction Ltd (construction), and Honeywell Limited (facility services).
Equity interest has since been sold and the Liberty Group is a wholly owned subsidiary of Challenger Financial Services Group, an Australian property and funds management company.
The County Court is an integrated complex in the heart of Melbourne’s legal precinct at the corner of Lonsdale and William Streets. It is a landmark building combining modern court design principles with state of the art technology.
For example, it has video-conferencing and remote witness facilities to enhance the management and efficient conduct of cases.
It is one of Australia’s largest court complexes and was the first major social infrastructure project under the Partnerships Victoria policy. The new facility opened on 31 May 2002, on-time and on-budget.
The County Court is the State’s busiest trial court, handling most criminal trials and a very significant workload of civil cases. It has 54 courtrooms, (including an additional eight courtrooms commissioned in 2008) a jury pool area which can accommodate up to 400 people, and attractive public spaces.
The County Court has worked towards reducing waiting times for court appearances, provided better security, reduced court costs and improved facilities for jurors, victims, the public and the legal community.
All court services integral to the administration of justice have remained in government control in accordance with Partnerships Victoria policy that core services should be provided directly by Government.
The Liberty Group services are delivered in partnership with government agencies including the Department of Justice, Court Services Victoria, County Court, Juries Commissioner’s Office, Victoria Police, Victorian Government Reporting Service, and Corrections Victoria.
The contract with the Liberty Group is to design, build, finance and provide building management services, security and information technology systems. The Liberty Group has a 99-year lease over the crown land on which the court is situated, for a peppercorn rent.
The term of the contract is 20 years (with shorter time frames for other services). Unlike other Partnerships Victoria accommodation contracts, the court building remains the property of the Liberty Group at the end of the contract period.
The project commenced under the previous government and the Infrastructure Investment Evaluation Policy for Victoria. The final stages of the project were completed under the Partnerships Victoria policy.
In 2007 the County Court elected to take up the option for additional courtrooms to be built. Levels 8 & 9 were originally constructed as vacant “shell” floors for future expansion.
The Liberty Group executed the Fit out Works Contract with Multiplex (the original builder) in May 2007. Practical completion and the fit out of eight additional courtrooms on levels 8 and 9 was achieved on 31 January 2008, four weeks ahead of the program.
Contract Monitor – Victorian County Court Project
Phone: 0417 012 502
To view photos and make room bookings, visit the Liberty Group website.
To find out more and take a virtual tour of the building, visit the County Court website.
The BIG Question
The really big question, though is, who owns the Victorian Government? It certainly isn’t you and me, as required by our Commonwealth of Australia Constitution Act 1901!!!