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.
Section 51 of the Constitution states:
The Parliament shall, subject to this Constitution, have power to make laws for the peace, order, and good government of the Commonwealth with respect to:
- (xvii) bankruptcy and insolvency;
The first Commonwealth Bankruptcy Act was not passed until 1924.The bankruptcy jurisdiction was exercised by state courts. In proposing the establishment of the Federal Court of Bankruptcy, the Attorney-General, Frank Brennan, said that it was necessary because the number of bankruptcy cases had been increasing due to the Great Depression and the 1929 decision of the High Court, which held that the arrangement in relation to registrars in bankruptcy was invalid. The federal court would have one judge and it was anticipated that judge would sit primarily in Sydney and Melbourne as they were the courts with the highest case load.
When the court was established it was constituted by a single judge, Lionel Lukin. When he was ill the Chief Judge of the Commonwealth Court of Conciliation and Arbitration, George Dethridge, was appointed to the court to deal with any urgent matters.The court remained constituted by a single judge until 1973 when a second judge was appointed. The court rarely sat outside of Sydney and Melbourne. Any appeal was directly to the High Court.
The establishment of a Federal Court was proposed in 1967,however it was not until 1977 that the Federal Court was established, incorporating the jurisdiction of the Commonwealth Industrial Court and the Federal Bankruptcy Court. Both judges of the Federal Bankruptcy Court were appointed to the new Federal Court. The Federal Bankruptcy Court, despite having no jurisdiction or cases, continued in existence until the last judge had retired in 1995.
|Judge||Lionel Lukin||6 August 1930||31 October 1943||13 years, 86 days||Formerly a judge of the Supreme Court (Qld), judge of the Commonwealth Court of Conciliation and Arbitration.|
Subsequently a judge of the Supreme Court (ACT)
|George Dethridge||12 July 1935||29 December 1938||3 years, 170 days||Chief Judge of the Commonwealth Court of Conciliation and Arbitration|
|Sir Thomas Clyne||11 July 1942||12 April 1967||24 years, 275 days||Formerly a judge of the County Court of Victoria (1939-1942)|
Subsequently a judge of the Supreme Court (ACT) (1943-1945)
|Harry Gibbs||26 June 1967||3 August 1970||3 years, 38 days||Judge of the Supreme Court (Qld) (1961-67) judge of the Supreme Court (ACT) (1967-70)|
Appointed to the High Court (1970-87)
|Charles Sweeney||22 October 1970||29 June 1995||24 years, 250 days||Judge of the Commonwealth Industrial Court, Supreme Court (ACT) and Supreme Court (NT).|
Subsequently appointed to the Federal Court
|Bernard Riley||22 October 1973||4 August 1978||4 years, 286 days||Appointed to the Federal Court|
The High Court of Australia is the highest court in the Australian court hierarchy and the final court of appeal. It has both original and appellate jurisdiction, the power of judicial review over laws passed by the Parliament of Australia and the parliaments of the states and territories, and the ability to interpret the Constitution of Australia and thereby shape the development of federalism in Australia.
The Solicitor-General of Australia is the country's second highest-ranking law officer, after the Attorney-General for Australia. The position is often known as the Commonwealth Solicitor-General in order to distinguish it from the state solicitors-general. The current officeholder is Stephen Donaghue, who took office on 16 January 2017.
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 legal system of Australia consists of multiple forms of law. The country's legal system comprises of a written constitution, unwritten constitutional conventions, statutes, regulations, and the judicially determined common law.
The reserved powers doctrine was a principle used by the inaugural High Court of Australia in the interpretation of the Constitution of Australia, that emphasised the context of the Constitution, drawing on principles of federalism, what the Court saw as the compact between the newly formed Commonwealth and the former colonies, particularly the compromises that informed the text of the constitution. The doctrine involved a restrictive approach to the interpretation of the specific powers of the Federal Parliament to preserve the powers that were intended to be left to the States. The doctrine was challenged by the new appointments to the Court in 1906 and was ultimately abandoned by the High Court in 1920 in the Engineers' Case, replaced by an approach to interpretation that emphasised the text rather than the context of the Constitution.
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 Court of Australia is an Australian superior court of record which has jurisdiction to deal with most civil disputes governed by federal law, along with some summary 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 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 Supreme Court of the Cocos (Keeling) Islands is the de jure superior court for the Cocos (Keeling) Islands, an Australian external territory. The court was originally established in 1958 after the British Government transferred sovereignty for the islands from Singapore to Australia. The court had jurisdiction to deal with all serious crimes and major civil claims for damages occurring on the Island.
Hon. Edward Arthur DunphyKC was a justice within the Australian federal court system.
Blundell v Vardon, was the first of three decisions of the High Court of Australia concerning the 1906 Election for Senators for South Australia. Sitting as the Court of Disputed Returns, Barton J held that the election of Anti-Socialist Party candidate Joseph Vardon as the third senator for South Australia was void due to irregularities in the way the returning officers marked some votes. The Parliament of South Australia appointed James O'Loghlin. Vardon sought to have the High Court compel the Governor of South Australia to hold a supplementary election, however the High Court held in R v Governor of South Australia; Ex parte Vardon that it had no power to do so. Vardon then petitioned the Senate seeking to remove O'Loghlin and rather than decide the issue, the Senate referred the matter to the High Court. The High Court held in Vardon v O'Loghlin that O'Loghlin had been invalidly appointed and ordered a supplementary election. Vardon and O'Loghlin both contested the supplementary election, with Vardon winning with 54% of the vote.
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.
George James Dethridge was an Australian judge. He was the inaugural Chief Judge of the Commonwealth Court of Conciliation and Arbitration, in office from 1926 until his death in 1938.
Judicial independence is regarded as one of the foundation values of the Australian legal system, such that the High Court held in 2004 that a court capable of exercising federal judicial power must be, and must appear to be, an independent and impartial tribunal. Former Chief Justice Gerard Brennan described judicial independence as existing "to serve and protect not the governors but the governed", albeit one that "rests on the calibre and the character of the judges themselves". Despite general agreement as to its importance and common acceptance of some elements, there is no agreement as to each of the elements of judicial independence.