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Federal and State Court Relationships

NCJ Number
Australian Law Journal Volume: 53 Issue: 12 Dated: (December 1979) Pages: 806-816
N Bowen
Date Published
11 pages
Australia's Federal and State Courts are discussed with attention to the Federal Court of Australia Act of 1976.
The dual nature of Australia's system is discussed along with the conflicts inherent in the system; e.g., proceedings involving the same issues or seeking the same relief could be instituted in a State Supreme Court and in the Federal High Court. The evolution of jurisdiction under Commonwealth legislation is traced, and the need for remedies to difficulties resulting from the limited character of the Commonwealth's legislative power is signaled. The legislation that has developed around creating a new Federal court is followed up to the 1976 acts establishing the Federal Court and investing additional Federal jurisdiction in State Supreme Courts. Four principal areas arising under Federal legislation and given to the Federal Court for original jurisdiction are examined; trade practices, administrative law, industrial law, and bankruptcy. Arguments to the effect that the present relationship between Federal and State courts is, despite all this legislation, unsatisfactory, are explored, with citations of case law. Attention is brought to the need for retaining local disputes within the realm of the State court, and to the growth of the concept of the unified judicial system. Thoughts that have been expressed regarding a unified system are reviewed as projections of hoped-for future developments. Other suggestions for improving Australia's system include investing further special jurisdiction in State Supreme Courts, or giving the Federal Court a power to remit proceedings to a State Supreme Court. Footnotes are included. An appendix presents the case of Senator Sharron (1883) and 64 footnotes are provided.


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