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Thursday, 26 February 1987
Page: 868


Mr LIONEL BOWEN (Attorney-General) —by leave-The amendments which we propose to move in the Committee stage are the result of representations from the States. Details of the amendments are contained in the schedules and explanatory memoranda which have been circulated. The purpose of the amendments to the Jurisdiction of Courts (Cross-vesting) Bill is to make some adjustments to the proposals on cross-vesting jurisdiction between Federal, State and Territory courts contained in the Bill presented to the House of Representatives on 22 October 1986. The adjustments follow consultations between the Commonwealth and States about comments received from the Law Council of Australia since the Bill was introduced.

I indicate to my colleague the honourable member for North Sydney (Mr Spender) that the ad hoc committee of the Law Council, of which Mr Alan Limbury is apparently the secretary, made representations to the Special Committee of Solicitors-General. I have in front of me a letter dated 19 February, addressed to Mr Limbury, which reads:

Thank you for the comments of the ad hoc Committee on the Cross-vesting proposal. They have been considered by us, and in the discussions of the Special Committee of Solicitors-General at our meeting on 5th February. As a result of this fuller consideration we have now proposed amendments to be made to the Cross-vesting Bill.

Having said that, I just want my colleague to understand that I have some evidence that there were consultations, and the amendments relate to those submissions.

These amendments are designed to clarify or overcome possible ambiguities in a number of the provisions in the Bill-namely, those relating to transfer of proceedings, entitlement of barristers and solicitors to practise where proceedings have been transferred, exercise of jurisdiction pursuant to cross-vesting laws, and the laws which are to govern the conduct of proceedings. The purpose of the amendments to the Jurisdiction of Courts (Miscellaneous Amendments) Bill is to make some adjustments to the proposals on jurisdiction of courts contained in the Bill which I also introduced into the House of Representatives on 22 October 1986. The adjustments follow consideration of comments received since that date and further consultation with State and Northern Territory Attorneys-General.

The Bill as introduced confers on the Federal Court of Australia exclusive original civil jurisdiction in intellectual property matters. Under the amendments, original civil jurisdiction in intellectual property matters, other than appeals from the Commissioner of Patents or from the Registrars of Trade Marks and Designs, is to be vested concurrently in the Federal Court of Australia and the State and Territory Supreme Courts. Appeals from decisions of the Commissioner of Patents and from the Registrars of Trade Marks and Designs are to lie to the Federal Court, but not to State and Territory Supreme Courts.

The Bill as introduced also confers on State and Territory courts original and appellate Federal jurisdiction, concurrent with the Federal Court, in civil matters arising under Divisions 1 and 1a of Part V of the Trade Practices Act 1974.

These are known as the consumer protection provisions. In all cases but one-that is the unconscionable conduct, section 52a provision-the Bill proposed that appeals from State and Territory courts were to lie within the respective State and Territory systems. Appeals in relation to matters under section 52a were to go to the Federal Court of Australia or, with special leave, to the High Court of Australia. Under the amendments, this exception will be removed and appeals from State and Territory courts on section 52a matters will also lie within the respective State and Territory systems.


Madam DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mrs Darling) —I understand it is the wish of the House to debate the Jurisdiction of Courts (Cross- vesting) Bill concurrently with the Jurisdiction of Courts (Miscellaneous Amendments) Bill. There being no objection I will allow that course to be followed.