Types of courts and their roles

Federal courts

High Court of Australia

This is the highest court in the Australian judicial system. 

It is in Canberra, although it can sit in other parts of Australia.

Decisions made by the High Court are final and cannot be appealed.
Most High Court cases are appeals from a state or territory court.
Sometimes a case can go before the High Court without first being heard in another court.
Find out more information on the High Court of Australia website.

Federal Court of Australia

The Federal Court of Australia hears court cases under federal law in all of the following areas:

  • bankruptcy
  • taxation
  • industrial disputes
  • actions under the Competition and Consumer Act 2010
  • copyright and patent matters
  • judicial review decisions made by Federal government officers. 

The registry of the Federal Court of Australia is on the third floor of the Supreme Court in Darwin.
Find out more information on the Federal Court of Australia website.

Family Court of Australia

The Family Court of Australia sits in Darwin and deals with family law cases. 

It also hears applications involving de facto relationships and children.
Appeals are made to a panel of judges called the Full Court of the Family Court. In special circumstances, cases may be referred to the High Court.

The registry of the Family Court in Darwin is on the ground floor of the Supreme Court.

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Last updated: 01 June 2015

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