The High Court of Australia interprets the Australian Constitution and settles disputes over its importance. Supreme Court decisions can have far-reaching consequences. They may examine or extend Parliament`s powers or confirm Parliament`s power to legislate in specific areas. The hierarchy consists of a variety of courts and tribunals at the federal, state and territorial levels, with the High Court being the highest court in the Australian judicial system.  A single Australian common law body is applied in the various Australian courts and finally decided by the High Court after appeals to the (British) Judicial Committee of the Privy Council were abolished.    Third, state laws that are passed can be controversial. The words “in all cases to which they apply” appear in § 79. The law must be relevant to the resolution of the issue. An illustration of the problem can be given by looking at Solomons v District Court (NSW) 211 CLR 119. Section 2 of the Criminal Costs (NSW) Act 1967 empowers a court or judge to issue a certificate to an acquitted accused. Section 4(2) allowed the holder of a certificate to apply to the Secretary of State for payment of the costs of the proceedings from the (State) tax authorities. Subsection 4(5) gave the treasurer discretion to pay. Mr Solomons was charged with offences under the Customs Act 1901 (Cth).
He was tried by the District Court of New South Wales in the exercise of federal jurisdiction under section 68(2) of the Judicial Act and acquitted by order. He requested a certificate under paragraph 2. This diagram illustrates the separation of powers in the Australian system of government. Parliament (represented by an icon of the Australian Parliament building) has the power to legislate and amend it. The executive branch (represented by a group of people) has the power to put laws into action. The judiciary (represented by a scale icon) has the power to make judgments on laws. The three groups – parliament, executive and judiciary – are linked. As a preliminary point, it should be recognized that the complexity that can arise in this area is due to the multitude of policies and legal systems involved in the Federal Covenant. The application of common law conflict-of-laws rules and the relationship between sovereign states must be adapted to the nature of the federal covenant. In this regard, given the development of a truly independent national status and conscience since the Second World War, it is not surprising that law in this area is not fully developed. The ANU library provides access to a number of legal databases. The following list is very selective and covers only the most important sources of case law and legislation.
For a more complete list of law-related databases, click here or visit the Jurisprudence, Journal Articles and Legislation tabs for more databases covering this type of information. Some could be described as “non-controversial matters” that fall within the concept of federal jurisdiction appropriate to the exercise of Commonwealth jurisdiction. In Hedge, for example, as a director of Goldfields Medical Fund Inc (2002) 196 ALR 557, injunctions were sought to implement an action plan proposed by a director. There was no adversary (which is often not the case in uncontested corporate affairs). French J examined (see  to ) the relationship between “matter” and the concept of judicial power. The nature of the legislative function was closely analogous to matters historically recognized as judicial and was therefore a legitimate subject of federal jurisdiction. In 1982, Eddie Koiki Mabo and 4 other men began their legal claim to possession of Sea Island in the Torres Strait. The Queensland Government had previously attempted to extinguish the property rights of the Meriam, but the High Court had ruled that it was unlawful in Mabo v. Queensland (No.
1). The limited power of the Commonwealth to legislate means that, in a particular controversy within federal jurisdiction, laws relating to its resolution on substantive law, choice of law, procedure, evidence and remedies are not fully covered by Commonwealth law. Under the Judiciary Act, the Court has jurisdiction to hear applications for judicial review of decisions made by Commonwealth officials. Many cases also arise from the Administrative Decisions (Judicial Review) Act 1977 (ADJR Act), which provides for judicial review of most administrative decisions made under Commonwealth laws on grounds of legality rather than substance.