46 S. C. L. Rev. 719 (1994-1995)
Australia's Federal Courts: Their Origins, Structure and Jurisdiction

handle is hein.journals/sclr46 and id is 735 raw text is: Australia's Federal Courts:
Their Origins, Structure
and Jurisdiction
Mary Crock and Ronald McCallum *
The primary aim of this Paper is to explain for a North American
audience the origin, structure, and jurisdictions of Australia's network of
federal courts.' Together with the companion papers from America and
Canada, the goal of this Paper is to set the scene for a more detailed
examination of the federal judicial systems in the three countries. Readers will
be able to draw out for themselves the similarities and differences between the
various regimes.    Nevertheless, in trying to capture the essence of the
Australian system, mention will be made on occasion of how the Australian
approach varies from that taken by the two federations with whom we share
so much of our cultural and legal heritage.
To recount this story, it is necessary to spend a little time on Australia's
historical background and on our colonial antecedents. As the operation of the
federal courts in the three countries depends upon the legislative powers of
their federal governments, it is necessary to examine the constitutional division
of powers between the Commonwealth or federal government and the state
Australia was settled by Europeans toward the close of the 18th century
in 1788. On January 1, 1901, the Australian Constitution, which originated
as an act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom,' came into force. For
almost a century, Australians have grappled with the relationship between
federal courts and federal jurisdiction on the one hand, and on the other, the
* BA [Hons], LLB [Ions], PHD, Melb; Lecturer in Law, University of Sydney.
** B. Juris, LLB [Hons], Monash; LLM, Queen's Canada; Blake Dawson Waldron
Professor in Industrial Law, University of Sydney. We wish to thank Mr. Mark Endacott, Mr.
Ian Nicolson, and Mr. David Tritton for aiding us with the research for this paper. We also wish
to thank Ms. Aimee Attard for proofing and formatting this paper. Finally, special thanks are
due to Professor Herbert A. Johnson for giving us this opportunity to comment upon the
development and structure of Australia's system of federal courts.
1. See generally J. CRAWFORD, AUSTRALIAN COURTS OF LAw (3d ed. 1993). Throughout
this paper, we refer constantly to this source, and we wish to acknowledge our indebtedness to
this book. Persons wishing to read a detailed and thorough account of Australia's system of
courts could do no better than to read this scholarly little volume.
2. Commonwealth of Australia Constitution Act 1900, 63 & 64 Viet., ch. 12 [hereinafter

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