|Federal Court of Australia|
|Authorized by||Constitution of Australia Federal Court of Australia Act 1976|
|Appeals to||High Court of Australia|
The Federal Court of Australia is an Australian superior court of record which has jurisdiction to deal with most civil disputes governed by federal law (with the exception of family law matters), along with some summary (less serious) criminal matters. Cases are heard at first instance by single Judges. The Court includes an appeal division referred to as the Full Court comprising three Judges, the only avenue of appeal from which lies to the High Court of Australia. In the Australian court hierarchy, the Federal Court occupies a position equivalent to the Supreme Courts of each of the states and territories. In relation to the other Courts in the federal stream, it is equal to the Family Court of Australia, and superior to the Federal Circuit Court. It was established in 1976 by the Federal Court of Australia Act.
The Chief Justice of the Federal Court is James Allsop.
The Federal Court has no inherent jurisdiction. Its jurisdiction flows from statute.The Court's original jurisdiction include matters arising from Commonwealth legislation such as, for example, matters relating to taxation, trade practices, native title, intellectual property, industrial relations, corporations, immigration and bankruptcy.
The Federal Court of Australia also has appellate jurisdiction from the Federal Circuit Court of Australia on all matters, with the exception of family law, where the Family Court of Australia has appellate jurisdiction.The Court also exercises general appellate jurisdiction in criminal and civil matters on appeal from the Supreme Court of Norfolk Island; and exercises appellate jurisdiction in appeals from State Supreme Courts in some federal matters. Other federal courts and tribunals where the Court exercises appellate jurisdiction include the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority and the Australian Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission.
It also has the power to interpret the Constitution.
The jurisdiction of the Federal Court of Australia includes the jurisdiction exercised by two former federal courts, the Federal Court of Bankruptcy and the Commonwealth Industrial Court.
The Federal Court of Bankruptcy had jurisdiction in bankruptcy matters and was created in 1930.The jurisdiction in bankruptcy was transferred to the Federal Court of Australia on its establishment in 1977.
The Commonwealth Industrial Court was established in 1956 as a result of the Boilermaker's case ,where the High Court held that a Chapter III Court could not exercise a non-judicial power, the arbitral function, because of the constitutional separation of powers in Australia. The judicial functions were given to the newly created Commonwealth Industrial Court and the arbitral functions were given to Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission.
The Court was renamed the Australian Industrial Court in 1973.In 1977 the jurisdiction of the Australian Industrial Court was transferred to the Federal Court of Australia.
In 1993 the industrial relations jurisdiction of the Federal Court of Australia was transferred to the Industrial Relations Court of Australia,and transferred back to the Federal Court of Australia in 1996. The last judge of the Industrial Relations Court, Anthony North, retired in September 2018. The court will be formally abolished on 1 March 2021.
The Family Court of Australia is a superior Australian federal court of record which deals with family law matters, such as divorce applications, parenting disputes, and the division of property when a couple separate. Together with the Federal Circuit Court of Australia, it covers family law matters in all states and territories of Australia except for Western Australia, which has a separate Family Court. Its core function is to determine cases with the most complex law, facts and parties, to cover specialised areas in family law, and to provide national coverage as the national appellate court for family law matters.
Robert Bruce McClelland is an Australian judge and former politician who has served on the Family Court of Australia since 2015. He was previously Attorney-General of Australia from 2007 to 2011, and a member of the House of Representatives from 1996 to 2013, representing the Labor Party.
Australian labour law concerns Commonwealth, state, and common law on rights and duties of workers, unions and employers in Australia. Australian labour law has a dual structure, where some employment issues and relationships are governed by Commonwealth laws, and others are governed by state and territory laws or the common law. It shares a heritage with laws across the Commonwealth of Nations, UK labour law and standards set by the International Labour Organization, the Australian legislature and courts have a built a comprehensive charter of rights at work.
Section 51 of the Constitution of Australia enumerates the legislative powers granted to Federal Parliament. When the six Australian colonies joined together in Federation in 1901, they became the original States and ceded some of their powers to the new Commonwealth Parliament. There are 39 subsections to section 51, each of which describes a "head of power" under which the Parliament has the power to make laws.
R v Kirby; Ex parte Boilermakers' Society of Australia, known as the Boilermakers' Case, was a 1956 decision of the High Court of Australia which considered the powers of the Commonwealth Court of Conciliation and Arbitration to punish the Boilermakers' Society of Australia, a union which had disobeyed the orders of that court in relation to an industrial dispute between boilermakers and their employer body, the Metal Trades Employers' Association.
The judiciary of Australia comprises judges who sit in federal courts and courts of the States and Territories of Australia. The High Court of Australia sits at the apex of the Australian court hierarchy as the ultimate court of appeal on matters of both federal and State law.
The Supreme Court of the Australian Capital Territory is the highest court of the Australian Capital Territory. It has unlimited jurisdiction within the territory in civil matters and hears the most serious criminal matters.
Section 51(xxxvii) of the Constitution of Australia is a provision in the Australian Constitution which empowers the Australian Parliament to legislate on matters referred to it by any state. As Australia is a federation, both states and the Commonwealth have legislative power, and the Australian Constitution limits Commonwealth power. Section 51(xxxvii) allows for a degree of flexibility in the allocation of legislative powers.
The Commonwealth Court of Conciliation and Arbitration was an Australian court that operated from 1904 to 1956 with jurisdiction to hear and arbitrate interstate industrial disputes, and to make awards. It also had the judicial functions of interpreting and enforcing awards and hearing other criminal and civil cases relating to industrial relations law.
The Supreme Court of Norfolk Island is the superior court for the Australian territory of Norfolk Island. It has unlimited jurisdiction within the territory in civil matters and hears the most serious criminal matters. It also has jurisdiction over the Coral Sea Islands Territory. All matters are heard before a single judge, including appeals from the Court of Petty Sessions. In the Australian court hierarchy, it is one of eight state and territory Supreme Courts having unlimited jurisdiction in their respective parts of Australia. Appeal lies to the Federal Court of Australia, from which an appeal by special leave can be made to the High Court of Australia.
The Federal Circuit Court of Australia, formerly known as the Federal Magistrates Court of Australia or the Federal Magistrates Service, is an Australian court with jurisdiction over matters broadly relating to family law and child support, administrative law, admiralty law, bankruptcy, copyright, human rights, industrial law, migration, privacy and trade practices.
The Western Australian Industrial Relations Commission, as constituted under the Industrial Relations Act 1979, conciliates and arbitrates industrial disputes, sets conditions of employment and fixes wages and salaries by making industrial awards, approves enterprise agreements and decides claims of unfair dismissal in the State of Western Australia, with respect to those employers not regulated by the Commonwealth of Australia under the Fair Work Act 2009.
The Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Act 1904 was a law passed by the Parliament of Australia and received assent on 15 December 1904. The Act sought to introduced the rule of law in industrial relations in Australia and, besides other things, established the Commonwealth Court of Conciliation and Arbitration.
R v Commonwealth Court of Conciliation and Arbitration; Ex parte BHP, was an early decision of the High Court of Australia concerning the jurisdiction of the Commonwealth Court of Conciliation and Arbitration in which the High Court controversially, granted prohibition against the Arbitration Court to prevent it from enforcing aspects of an industrial award. The High Court held that the Arbitration Court had gone beyond settling the dispute that had been submitted to it and in doing so had made a jurisdictional error.
Australian Boot Trade Employees Federation v Whybrow & Co, commonly known as Whybrow's case or the Boot Trades case was the third of a series of decisions of the High Court of Australia in 1910 concerning the boot manufacturing industry and the role of the Commonwealth Court of Conciliation and Arbitration in preventing and settling industrial disputes. In doing so the High Court considered the constitutional power of the Federal Parliament to provide for common rule awards and the jurisdiction of the High Court to grant prohibition against the Arbitration Court. The majority held in Whybrow that the Arbitration Court could not make an award that was inconsistent with a State law, but that different minimum wages were not inconsistent as it was possible to obey both laws. In Whybrow the High Court established the doctrine of ambit, with the emphasis on the precise claim made and refused, and the practice with respect to "paper disputes" being treated "prima facie as genuine and real", with the majority holding that the High Court had power to order prohibition to correct jurisdictional error as part of its original jurisdiction. Finally in Whybrow the High Court unanimously held that the Federal Parliament had no constitutional power to provide for common rule awards.
Federated Sawmill Employees Association v James Moore & Sons Pty Ltd, commonly known as the Woodworkers case or the Sawmillers case was a decision of the High Court of Australia in 1909 concerning the question whether the Commonwealth Court of Conciliation and Arbitration could make an award that was inconsistent with a State wages board determination. The High Court was divided 2:2 and thus the decision of the Chief Justice prevailed, in what is sometimes described as a statutory majority. Griffith CJ, O'Connor J agreeing, held that the Arbitration Court could not make an award that was inconsistent with the minimum wages fixed by a Wages Board under a State law.
The Commonwealth Industrial Court, known as the Australian Industrial Court from 1973, was a specialist court to deal with industrial matters, principally the enforcement of awards and orders of the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission. Over time it took on more matters and its judges were allocated a wide range of judicial tasks until it was replaced in 1977 by the Federal Court of Australia which had a more general jurisdiction covering matters arising under Australian federal law.
The Industrial Relations Court of Australia was a short-lived Chapter III Court whose jurisdiction was transferred from the Federal Court in 1994, and transferred back in 1997. In the words of former Chief Justice Robert French, "The tide went in, the tide went out". Every judge had a concurrent appointment in the Federal Court. Despite the transfer of jurisdiction, any existing matter or appeal from an existing matter remained in the Industrial Relations Court of Australia, with the result that the last case was not finally disposed of until 2005/6. The Court was not to be abolished until after the last judge had retired. The last judge to retire was Anthony North on 11 September 2018. The court will be formally abolished on 1 March 2021.
The Federal Court of Bankruptcy was an Australian court that was established in 1930, pursuant to Chapter III of the Constitution. The jurisdiction in bankruptcy was shared with state courts. On 1 February 1977 the bankruptcy jurisdiction was transferred to the newly established Federal Court of Australia. No new cases could commence in the Federal Court of Bankruptcy after 1 February 1977, however the Court was not formally abolished until 1995, after the last judge, Charles Sweeney retired.