Harris v Caladine [1991] HCA 9

ON 17 APRIL 1991, the High Court of Australia delivered Harris v Caladine [1991] HCA 9; (1991) 172 CLR 84 (17 April 1991).

Parts of the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) allowing Judges of the court to make rules delegating judicial powers to registrars and non-judical officers were held to be valid and not in breach of the doctrine of separation of powers found in s71 and Chapters II and III of the Australian Constitution.

Family Court Judges may make rules and delegate their powers as long as they continue to bear the major responsibility for the exercise of judicial power.  The delegation must not be inconsistent with the obligation of a court to act judicially and that the decisions must be subject to review or appeal by a Judge.

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