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Part 2—Jurisdiction

Part 2 Jurisdiction

Division 1 Original jurisdiction

24   Original jurisdiction

             (1)  The Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (Division 1) has original jurisdiction:

                     (a)  with respect to matters in respect of which proceedings may be instituted under the Family Law Act 1975 ; or

                     (b)  with respect to matters arising under the Marriage Act 1961 in respect of which proceedings (other than proceedings under Part VII of that Act) are instituted under that Act; or

                     (c)  with respect to matters arising under a law of a Territory (other than the Northern Territory) concerning:

                              (i)  the adoption of children; or

                             (ii)  the property of the parties to a marriage or either of them, being matters between those parties referred to in the definition of matrimonial cause in the Family Law Act 1975 ; or

                            (iii)  the rights and status of a person who is an ex-nuptial child, and the relationship of such a person to the person’s parents; or

                     (d)  as is conferred on the Court, or in respect of which proceedings may be instituted in the Court, by any other Act.

             (2)  Subject to such restrictions and conditions (if any) in:

                     (a)  section 111AA of the Family Law Act 1975 ; or

                     (b)  regulations made under that Act; or

                     (c)  the Rules of Court made under this Chapter;

the jurisdiction of the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (Division 1) may be exercised in relation to persons or things outside Australia.

Note:          Division 4 of Part XIIIAA of the Family Law Act 1975 (international protection of children) may affect the jurisdiction of the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (Division 1).

Division 2 Appellate jurisdiction

25   Appeals from courts of summary jurisdiction in relation to family law or child support matters

             (1)  The Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (Division 1) has jurisdiction to hear and determine appeals from:

                     (a)  a judgment of a court of summary jurisdiction of a State or Territory exercising jurisdiction under the Family Law Act 1975 ; or

                     (b)  a judgment of a court of summary jurisdiction of a State or Territory exercising jurisdiction under the Child Support (Assessment) Act 1989 or the Child Support (Registration and Collection) Act 1988 .

Note 1:       For the definition of court of summary jurisdiction , see section 2B of the Acts Interpretation Act 1901 .

Note 2:       See section 47A of the Family Law Act 1975 .

             (2)  For the purposes of subsection (1), a Family Court of a State is not a court of summary jurisdiction.

Division 3 Associated matters

26   Jurisdiction in associated matters

                   To the extent that the Constitution permits, jurisdiction is conferred on the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (Division 1) in respect of matters not otherwise within its jurisdiction that are associated with matters in which the jurisdiction of the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (Division 1) is invoked.

Division 4 Exercise of jurisdiction

27   Exercise of jurisdiction

             (1)  The jurisdiction of the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (Division 1), including its appellate jurisdiction, is to be exercised by the Court constituted by a single Judge.

             (2)  In a matter before, or coming before, the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (Division 1), a Judge may give directions under subsection 50(1).

28   Determination of matter completely and finally

                   In every matter before the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (Division 1), the Court must grant, either:

                     (a)  absolutely; or

                     (b)  on such terms and conditions as the Court thinks just;

all remedies to which any of the parties appears to be entitled in respect of a legal or equitable claim properly brought forward by a party in the matter, so that, as far as possible:

                     (c)  all matters in controversy between the parties may be completely and finally determined; and

                     (d)  all multiplicity of proceedings concerning any of those matters may be avoided.

Division 5 Certain powers relating to matters of jurisdiction

29   Making of orders and issuing writs

                   The Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (Division 1) has power, in relation to matters in which it has jurisdiction, to:

                     (a)  make orders of such kinds as the Court considers appropriate; or

                     (b)  issue, or direct the issue of, writs of such kinds as the Court considers appropriate.

30   Contempt of court

             (1)  The Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (Division 1) has the same power to punish contempts of its power and authority as is possessed by the High Court in respect of contempts of the High Court.

             (2)  The jurisdiction of the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (Division 1) to punish a contempt of the Court committed in the face or hearing of the Court may be exercised by the Court as constituted at the time of the contempt.

Note:          See also section 112AP of the Family Law Act 1975 , which deals with family law or child support proceedings.

Division 6 Administration

31   Arrangement of business

             (1)  The Chief Justice is responsible for ensuring the effective, orderly and expeditious discharge of the business of the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (Division 1).

             (2)  In discharging the Chief Justice’s responsibility, the Chief Justice:

                     (a)  must promote the objects of this Act; and

                     (b)  may, subject to this Chapter and to such consultation with Judges of the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (Division 1) as is appropriate and practicable, do all or any of the following:

                              (i)  make arrangements as to the Judge who is to constitute the Court in particular matters or classes of matters;

                             (ii)  without limiting the generality of subparagraph (i)—assign particular caseloads, classes of cases or functions to particular Judges;

                            (iii)  temporarily restrict a Judge to non-sitting duties; and

                     (c)  must ensure that arrangements are in place to provide Judges with appropriate access to (or reimbursement for the cost of):

                              (i)  annual health assessments; and

                             (ii)  short-term counselling services; and

                            (iii)  judicial education; and

                     (d)  may deal, as set out in section 32, with a complaint about the performance by another Judge of the Judge’s judicial or official duties; and

                     (e)  may take any measures that the Chief Justice believes are reasonably necessary to maintain public confidence in the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (Division 1), including, but not limited to, temporarily restricting another Judge to non-sitting duties.

             (3)  The Deputy Chief Justice is to assist the Chief Justice in the exercise of the functions conferred on the Chief Justice by this section (other than paragraph (2)(d) or (e)).

32   Complaints

             (1)  The Chief Justice may, if a complaint is made about another Judge of the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (Division 1), deal with the complaint by doing either or both of the following in respect of the complaint:

                     (a)  deciding whether or not to handle the complaint and then doing one of the following:

                              (i)  dismissing the complaint;

                             (ii)  handling the complaint if the Chief Justice has a relevant belief in relation to the complaint about the other Judge;

                            (iii)  arranging for any other complaint handlers to assist the Chief Justice to handle the complaint if the Chief Justice has a relevant belief in relation to the complaint about the other Judge;

                     (b)  arranging for any other complaint handlers to decide whether or not to handle the complaint and then to do one of the following:

                              (i)  dismiss the complaint;

                             (ii)  handle the complaint if each of the complaint handlers has a relevant belief in relation to the complaint about the other Judge.

Note:          A complaint handler (other than the Chief Justice) may handle a complaint by referring it to the Chief Justice. The Chief Justice may then do either or both of the things referred to in paragraph (a) or (b) in respect of the complaint.

             (2)  The Chief Justice may authorise, in writing, a person or a body to do one or more of the following:

                     (a)  assist the Chief Justice to handle complaints or a specified complaint;

                     (b)  decide whether or not to handle complaints or a specified complaint;

                     (c)  dismiss complaints or a specified complaint;

                     (d)  handle complaints or a specified complaint.

             (3)  To avoid doubt, the Chief Justice may authorise under subsection (2):

                     (a)  the Deputy Chief Justice; or

                     (b)  a body that includes the Deputy Chief Justice.

             (4)  In this section:

relevant belief : a person has a relevant belief in relation to a complaint about a Judge if:

                     (a)  the person believes that one or more of the circumstances that gave rise to the complaint may, if substantiated, justify consideration of the removal of the Judge in accordance with paragraph 72(ii) of the Constitution; or

                     (b)  the person believes that one or more of the circumstances that gave rise to the complaint may, if substantiated:

                              (i)  adversely affect, or have adversely affected, the performance of judicial or official duties by the Judge; or

                             (ii)  have the capacity to adversely affect, or have adversely affected, the reputation of the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (Division 1).

33   Protection for the Chief Justice and Deputy Chief Justice

             (1)  In exercising the functions or powers mentioned in paragraph 31(2)(b), the Chief Justice has the same protection and immunity as if the Chief Justice were exercising those functions or powers as, or as a member of, the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (Division 1).

Note:          See also section 78.

             (2)  In assisting in the exercise of the functions or powers mentioned in paragraph 31(2)(b), the Deputy Chief Justice has the same protection and immunity as if the Deputy Chief Justice were exercising those functions or powers as, or as a member of, the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (Division 1).

Note:          See also section 78.

             (3)  Despite section 39B of the Judiciary Act 1903 , the Federal Court does not have jurisdiction with respect to a matter relating to:

                     (a)  the exercise by the Chief Justice of the functions or powers mentioned in subsection 31(2) or section 32; or

                     (b)  the assisting in the exercise by the Deputy Chief Justice of the functions or powers mentioned in subsection 31(2) or section 32.

Functions and powers of the Chief Justice

             (4)  In addition to the functions and powers conferred on the Chief Justice by this Chapter, the Chief Justice has such other functions and powers in relation to the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (Division 1) as are specified in the regulations.