Australian Court Hierarchy

In the Australian judiciary system, there are a variety of courts both at the state as well as the federal level and due to this; there is a certain hierarchy system that is formed.  This means that starting from the highest authority court, the level of jurisdiction or power keeps decreasing as we move down the hierarchy pyramid.

The High Court of Australia remains the ultimate court of appeal for the Australian System whereas each state or district has its own courts as well. To understand the hierarchy of courts in Australia, you can go through the following given information.

Australian court hierarchy

Superior Courts

Superior courts are the courts with unlimited jurisdiction to hear disputes and are placed at the highest level of hierarchy.  They hear disputes in most areas of law and are only limited by legitimate legislation. The following are the Superior courts:

  • High court of Australia-highest court in the country at Federal level
  • Supreme Court-highest court for each state or territory

Inferior Courts

These are those courts in Australia that are secondary to Superior courts and their existence is from legislation. They have the power to make the decision on matters where the Parliament grants them the power.  Decisions in inferior courts can mostly be appealed to in the Supreme Court of that particular region or area.

Federal Court of Australia

The federal court mainly hears those matters which are related to trade practices, bankruptcy, customs, industrial relations, immigrations, corporations and other areas of federal law.  This is a superior court of limited jurisdiction but halls below the high court in the hierarchy structure. The decisions of the High court are binding on the Federal court.

Family Court of Australia

The Family court, as the name suggests has jurisdiction over family law matters and is a superior court of limited jurisdiction.  The court hears matters related to parental disputes, matrimonial property, child support and other related issues.

State and Territory Courts

Each state and territory has its own court hierarchy wherein each has its own Supreme Court, the highest order court and other courts which fall below the Supreme Court.  These Supreme courts also have appeal divisions known as the Full Court or Court of Appeal of the Supreme Court in Civil matters and Court of Criminal Appeal in Criminal Matters.

Besides these courts, there are also many other courts including the following:

  • Drug courts of Australia
  • Australian Military Court
  • Etc…