High Court of Australia

The High Court of Australia http://www.hcourt.gov.au/ is the highest court in Australia.

The High Court was established by the Constitution on 1 January 1901 and first sat in Melbourne in 1903.

The Court hears three types of cases:

  • Original matters specified in the Constitution including disputes between the States and/or the Commonwealth, interpretation of the Constitution and interpretation of Commonwealth laws.
  • Appeals from single justices of the High Court.
  • Appeals from the State and Territory Supreme Courts, Federal Court of Australia and Family Court of Australia.

There is no automatic right to an appeal. A party wanting to appeal must make an application for special leave. In determining an application for special leave, the court may have regard to any relevant matters but shall have specific regard to:

  • questions of law either of public importance or subject to differences of opinion between the state courts and
  • whether it is in the interests of the administration of justice, generally or in the particular case.

Decisions of the court are binding on all other courts in Australia. The court is not bound by it’s earlier decisions.

The High Court is constituted by seven justices, including a Chief Justice. The current court consists of:

  • Chief Justice French AC.
  • Justice Hayne AC.
  • Justice Crennan AC.
  • Justice Kiefel AC.
  • Justice Bell AC.
  • Justice Gageler.
  • Justice Keane.

Since 1980, the High Court’s principal registry has been in Canberra at Parkes Place, Parkes, ACT 2600, tel (02) 6270 6857.

There are registry offices in all capital cities. The Sydney registry is at Level 23, Law Courts Building, Queens Square, Sydney NSW 2000, tel (02) 9230 8369.

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