The jurisdiction of the Federal Circuit Court includes family law, child support, administrative law, bankruptcy, human rights, consumer matters, privacy, migration, intellectual property, industrial law and admiralty law. The court shares those jurisdictions with the Family Court of Australia and the Federal Court of Australia. Some work in those jurisdictions continues to be done in state courts also.
The jurisdiction conferred on the Federal Circuit Court is concurrent with that of the Family Court and the Federal Court. That is, the Federal Circuit Court has no exclusive jurisdiction and in some areas its jurisdiction is less extensive than that of the Federal Court and Family Court.
The Federal Circuit Court does not deal with criminal matters.
Family Law and Child Support
In the Family law area, the Federal Circuit Court has jurisdiction in the following matters:
- applications for divorce
- applications concerning spousal and de facto maintenance
- property disputes
- all parenting orders including those providing for where a child lives, who a child spends time and communicates with, maintenance or specific issues
- enforcement of orders made by either the Federal Circuit Court or the Family Court.
- location and recovery orders as well as warrants for the apprehension or detention of a child.
- determination of parentage and recovery of child bearing expenses.
The Federal Circuit Court has the same jurisdiction as the Family Court of Australia in relation to matters under the Child Support (Assessment) Act 1989 (Cth) and the Child Support (Registration and Collection) Act 1988 (Cth).
The Federal Circuit Court has no jurisdiction to determine matters relating to adoption or applications concerning nullity or validity of marriage.
For comprehensive information on family law, including forms and publications, please see the Family Law matters section of the website.
General Federal Law
In general federal law matters, the Federal Circuit Court shares jurisdiction with the Federal Court in areas such as administrative law, bankruptcy, human rights, consumer matters, privacy, migration, intellectual property, industrial law and admiralty law.
The Federal Circuit Court has an identical jurisdiction to that of the Federal Court of Australia in matters arising under the Bankruptcy Act 1966 and the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission Act 1986.
The Federal Circuit Court also has an identical jurisdiction to that of the Federal Court in matters under the Administrative Decision (Judicial Review) Act 1977 and in relation to appeals from the Administrative Appeals Tribunal that are transferred to the Federal Circuit Court by the Federal Court.
The Federal Circuit Court has concurrent jurisdiction with the Federal Court to review visa-related decisions of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.
In consumer matters the Federal Circuit Court has civil jurisdiction with respect to claims under the following provisions of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (formerly the Trade Practices Act 1974):
- Section 46 (Misuse of Market Power)
- Section IVB (Industry Codes)
- Part XI (Application of the Australian Consumer Law as a law of the Commonwealth), and
- Schedule 2 (Australian Consumer Law).
The Court can provide injunctive relief and award damages up to $750,000.
The Court also has civil jurisdiction with respect to claims under the National Consumer Credit Protection Act 2009.
The Federal Circuit Court has jurisdiction to hear and determine civil copyright matters under the Copyright Act 1968, as amended by the Copyright Amendment (Parallel Importation) Act 2003. In particular, the court can deal with matters arising under Parts V, VAA, IX and section 248J of the Copyright Act 1968.
The Federal Circuit Court has jurisdiction to hear and determine matters under the Workplace Relations Act 1996. In particular, the Court can hear matters under Section 170 CP of the Act, including unlawful terminations, unfair contracts and breaches of agreement making.
Under the Admiralty Act (1988), the Federal Circuit Court shares jurisdiction with the Federal Court and state courts in respect of proceedings commenced as actions in personam (against a person) on a maritime claim or on a claim for damage done to a ship. The Federal Court and State Supreme Courts can remit actions in rem (against a ship or other property) to the Federal Circuit Court for determination.