The high court is the ultimate court in

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The High Court is the ultimate court in constitutional matters and its role makes it an important participant in the system of government in Australia. The High Court comprises seven members known as justices. Decisions by High Court judges are studied carefully because all Australian courts are bound by a decision or legal principle determined by the High Court. Other federal courts [2.13] The Federal Court and the Family Court are courts exercising federal jurisdiction. They were both established in 1976. The Federal Court has two divisions, the Industrial Division which bears industrial issues and disputes, and the General Division which hears matters concerning bankruptcy, trade practices and administrative law. It has an appellate division, which hears appeals on decisions made by a single Federal Court judge. The court can also hear appeals from Territory Supreme Courts on both civil and criminal matters or State Courts on certain federal matters such as bankruptcy, patents and trademarks. Appeals from the Federal Court are heard by the High Court. The Family Court of Australia came into existence in 1976 with the passing of the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth). This court hears matters dealing with family law such as divorce, custody of children and property disputes. It also has jurisdiction in some taxation matters. The Federal Magistrates Act 1999 established a federal Magistrates Court which operates throughout Australia. It began operations in July 2000. Its jurisdiction is in federal law matters such as family, industrial, administrative, bankruptcy, migration review and unlawful discrimination. 18
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CO5119:03 Business Law SUBJECT MATERIALS >> SCHOOL OF LAW JAMES COOK UNIVERSITY 1.6.1.2 Diagram of Australian Court Hierarchy The diagram below sets out the Australian Court hierarchy, which is the central concept upon which the Doctrine of Precedent, discussed in more detail in Unit 3, is based in the Australian Common Law System. 19
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CO5119:03 Business Law SUBJECT MATERIALS >> SCHOOL OF LAW JAMES COOK UNIVERSITY 1.6.2 Lawyers 1.6.212 Categories of Lawyers Barristers and solicitors Although barristers and solicitors are not, strictly speaking, court personnel, they play an important role in the functioning of the courts and should be mentioned here. They make up the legal profession from the ranks of whom judges are chosen and they are generally the link between the courts and the parties to disputes. They advise the parties as to their legal rights and responsibilities and assist in bringing disputes before the court by preparing all the necessary documentation and speaking on behalf of the parties in court. Any person who performs any of these functions must be a barrister, a solicitor, or a barrister and solicitor, although the distinctions between the two branches of the legal profession are diminishing. They are all lawyers, but in most States of Australia a person practises law either as a barrister or as a solicitor, whereas in South Australia, Western Australia and Tasmania lawyers (with a few exceptions) practise law as both. In States where lawyers practise either
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