Commonwealth courts

Last updated

1 July 2022

Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia

The Federal Circuit and Family Court deals with cases under the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) and the Child Support (Assessment) Act 1989 (Cth).

A decision of a single Federal Circuit and Family Court judge can be appealed to the full Federal Circuit and Family Court (i.e. three Family Court judges). A decision by the full Federal Circuit and Family Court can be appealed to the High Court.

For the court’s contact details and for more information, visit the Federal Circuit and Family Court’s website.

Federal Court of Australia

Although state Supreme Courts can hear matters involving Commonwealth law (i.e. they have federal jurisdiction), the Federal Court can also hear these cases. In some circumstances, the Federal Court can also hear state matters.

The Federal Court’s business includes:

  • industrial disputes;
  • actions under the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth);
  • bankruptcy matters;
  • appeals of decisions of the Commonwealth Administrative Appeals Tribunal.

A decision of a single Federal Court judge can be appealed to the full Federal Court (i.e. three Federal Court judges). A decision by the full Federal Court can be appealed to the High Court.

For the court’s contact details and for more information, visit the Federal Court’s website.

High Court of Australia

The High Court is the highest court in Australia.

Appeals may be made to it from state Supreme Courts, although generally the High Court gives leave to appeal only when important points of law need to be decided. Some matters may be heard directly by it (e.g. constitutional matters).

The High Court’s decisions are binding on all states, so a decision on a case appealed from a Victorian Supreme Court to the High Court will (usually) result in a decision by the High Court that is binding on all other state courts.

For the court’s contact details and for more information, visit the High Court’s website.

Back to
Understanding our laws and courts

Buy the chapter ‘An introduction to the courts’