|Federal Court of Australia|
|Authorized by||Constitution of Australia|
|Decisions are appealed to||High Court of Australia|
The Federal Court of Australia is an Australian superior court of record which has jurisdiction to deal with most civil disputes governed by federal law (with the exception of family law matters), along with some summary (less serious) criminal matters. Cases are heard at first instance by single Judges. The Court includes an appeal division referred to as the Full Court comprising three Judges, the only avenue of appeal from which lies to the High Court of Australia. In the Australian court hierarchy, the Federal Court occupies a position equivalent to the Supreme Courts of each of the states and territories. In relation to the other Courts in the federal stream, it is equal to the Family Court of Australia, and superior to the Federal Circuit Court. It was established in 1976 by the Federal Court of Australia Act.
The Chief Justice of the Federal Court is James Allsop.
The Federal Court has no inherent jurisdiction. Its jurisdiction flows from statute. The Court's original jurisdiction include matters arising from Commonwealth legislation such as, for example, matters relating to taxation, trade practices, native title, intellectual property, industrial relations, corporations, immigration and bankruptcy.
The Federal Court of Australia also has appellate jurisdiction from the Federal Circuit Court of Australia on all matters, with the exception of family law, where the Family Court of Australia has appellate jurisdiction. The Court also exercises general appellate jurisdiction in criminal and civil matters on appeal from the Supreme Court of Norfolk Island; and exercises appellate jurisdiction in appeals from State Supreme Courts in some federal matters. Other federal courts and tribunals where the Court exercises appellate jurisdiction include the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority, the Australian Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission.
The jurisdiction of the Federal Court of Australia includes the jurisdiction exercised by two former federal courts, the Federal Court of Bankruptcy and the Commonwealth Industrial Court.
The Federal Court of Bankruptcy had jurisdiction in bankruptcy matters and was created in 1930. The jurisdiction in bankruptcy was transferred to the Federal Court of Australia on its establishment in 1977.
The Commonwealth Industrial Court was established in 1956 as a result of the Boilermaker's case, where the High Court held that a Chapter III Court could not exercise a non-judicial power, the arbitral function, because of the constitutional separation of powers in Australia. The judicial functions were given to the newly created Commonwealth Industrial Court and the arbitral functions were given to Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission.
In 1993 the industrial relations jurisdiction of the Federal Court of Australia was transferred to the Industrial Relations Court of Australia, and transferred back to the Federal Court of Australia in 1996.