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Flashcards in The Australian Legal Environment Part 2 Deck (12)
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The judiciary

A court hierarchy:
- allows different forms of hearing according to the importance of the case
- facilitated the operation of the doctrine of precedent
- allows a system of appeals


Original jurisdiction

Is the authority to hear a case when the case is first brought before a court


Appellate jurisdiction

Is the authority of a court to hear appeals from decisions of courts of a lower level in the same court heirarchy


Magistrates or local courts

Located at bottom of the Court Heirarchy

Possess original jurisdiction only

Presided over by magistrate

Settle disputes quickly, locally, cheaply

Jurisdiction of local courts differ from state to state

Less emphasis on formality than in higher courts (still expected to follow procedural rules & laws of evidence)


Intermediate courts

Middle level court in most hierarchies

original civil jurisdiction

In their criminal jurisdiction they deal with the bulk of indictable offenses except for more serious crimes


The Supreme Court (superior courts)

Highest court in each state

Presided over by a judge

Unlimited original jurisdiction in both civil & criminal matters (hear mostly serious cases)

Appellate jurisdiction


Specialist courts

Family violence court
Mental health court
Indigenous courts
Drug courts
Compensation & Work health courts
Land & environment courts
Environment, resources & development court (SA)


Federal court (now known as Federal Circuit Court)

Established 1976

Original jurisdiction - court hears matters relating to bankruptcy, competition & consumer practices, intellectual property & taxation, immigration & social services

Appellate jurisdiction - court hears appeals from single judges of the Supreme Courts of the territories & appeals from decisions of single judges of the federal court


High Court

Established of the Australian Constitution, and the judiciary act 1903 (Cth) replaces and updated by the High Court of Australia Act 1979 (Cth)

Limited original jurisdiction in cases authorized by the Commonwealth Constitution (usually matters between the states e.g. Franklin dam dispute)

Appellate jurisdiction in both civil & criminal matters arising from the state supreme courts & federal courts

Approval to hear an appeal must first be granted by the High court

Final court of appeal within the Aus legal system



Quasi-judicial tribunals - designer to provide quick, cheap & fair dispute resolution. Do not create precedents e.g. administrative appeals tribunal (AAT), residential tenancies tribunal (SA)


Adversarial system

Two opposing sides argue their case in a court presided over by a neutral 3rd party (judge)

Lawyers (barristers) put the max spin on their version of events

1 side will “win”
1 side will “lose”


Inquisitorial system

Judge more active in seeking the truth

Not simply the “umpire”between the lawyers for both parties

Judge makes the decisions and the advocates assist the judge in that process