Structure, organisations and key people
The Federal Court of Australia is a national court which deals with over 120 Federal Acts of Parliament. It sits in all capital cities and elsewhere in Australia when necessary. The Court has jurisdiction in relation to almost all civil matters and some summary and indictable criminal matters arising under Australian federal law. The Court is able to hear cases in relation to admiralty, bankruptcy, competition, consumer protection, corporations, fair work, human rights, intellectual property and native title. It also has the power to review some Federal Government decisions in areas such as social security, immigration and taxation.
In 1901 the High Court of Australia was established by section 71 of the Constitution and, to the extent that legislative provision was necessary, was given the power to administer its own affairs by the High Court of Australia Act 1979, which was proclaimed on 21 April 1980. The Constitution confers both an appellate and an original jurisdiction upon the High Court. Appeals from the Supreme Courts of the States and Territories, from the Federal Court of Australia and from the Family Court of Australia are heard pursuant to special leave to appeal. The High Court is also the final arbiter upon constitutional questions.
The Federal Circuit Court of Australia is a federal court of record established by the Federal Circuit Court of Australia Act 1999. The Court is constituted by judges and exercises federal jurisdiction in family law and child support, bankruptcy, administrative law, consumer law, migration, industrial law, human rights, intellectual property, privacy and admiralty matters. The Court cannot deal with family law or child support matters in Western Australia, where there is a state family court. Staff of the Federal Circuit Court can provide advice on the procedures of the Court, but cannot give legal advice or assist in the conduct of proceedings.
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