The Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (the Court) deals with a wide range of matters, sharing jurisdiction with the Federal Court of Australia and, in some cases, state courts. The Court’s rules and procedures are simpler and less formal, and aim to reduce the cost and number of court appearances for clients.
The Court can hear and decide matters relating to administrative, admiralty, bankruptcy, copyright, migration, privacy, consumer, unlawful discrimination and workplace relations law and any proceedings transferred from the Federal Court of Australia. Where the Court is given jurisdiction in relation to a matter, it also has jurisdiction to determine associated or inseverable claims which would otherwise not be within jurisdiction.
- Matters under the Administrative Decisions (Judicial Review) Act 1997.
- An appeal from a decision of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) in a child support first review
- Appeals from the Administrative Appeals Tribunal remitted from the Federal Court of Australia
- In personam actions (claims against a specific person or company) such as freight claims, damage claims and seafarers’ wages.
- In rem actions remitted by the Federal Court of Australia and state Supreme Courts.
- All civil claims and matters under the Bankruptcy Act 1966, except those requiring jury trials.
The 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.
There is provision in certain proceedings for a litigant to elect that an application for compensation be dealt with as a small claims proceeding.
- Federal unlawful discrimination matters under the Australian Human Rights Commissions Act 1986 relating to complaints under the:
The Court has concurrent jurisdiction with the Federal Court of Australia for matters under the:
- Fair Work Act 2009
- Fair Work (Transitional Provisions and Consequential Amendments) Act 2009
- Work Health and Safety Act 2011, and
- Fair Work Regulations 2009.
This jurisdiction is to be exercised by the Fair Work Division of the Court.
The Fair Work Act 2009 confers small claims jurisdiction on the Court for various matters if the compensation is not more than $20,000.
The Court also has jurisdiction in relation to certain matters under the Independent Contractors Act 2006 and the Fair Work (Registered Organisations) Act 2009 (ss 337BB, 337BD, 337BE) and the Building and Construction Industry (Improving Productivity) Act 2016.
Intellectual property (including copyright, trade mark and design)
- Civil claims and matters under Parts V (except section 115A), VAA, IX and section 248J of the Copyright Act 1968, such as claims for injunctions and damages for breach of copyright
- Appeals from decisions of the Registrar of Trade Marks: ss 35, 56, 67, 83(2), 83A(8), 84A–84D and 104
- Infringement actions ss 120–128 and under ss 129 and 130
- Revocation of registration under: ss 88 and 89
- Decision on whether a person has used a trade mark under s 7
- Determining whether a trade mark has become generic: ss 24, 87 and 89
- Amendment or cancellation of registration under ss 85 and 86
- Application for an order to remove a trade mark registration for non use: s 92(3)
- Application for rectification of Register of Trade Marks by order of court under s 181
- Variation of rules governing use of certification trade mark under s 182
- Appeals from Decisions of the Registrar of Designs: ss 28(5), 67(4), 68(6), 50(6), 52(7) and 54(4)
- Ability to make a determination of the entitled person during proceedings before the court under s 53
- Infringement actions under ss 71–76
- Applications for relief from unjustified threats under ss 77–81
- Application for compulsory licences under s 90-92
- Revocation of registration under s 93
- For Crown use provisions, provide a determination of the term of use of a design under s 98
- Application for a declaration by a court of any Crown use under s 101
- Application for the cessation of Crown use of a design under s 102
- Rectification of Register of Designs under s 120.
On 25 August 2015, the intellectual property jurisdiction of the Court was extended to hear matters under the Plant Breeder’s Rights Act 1994.
- Most first instance judicial reviews of visa-related decisions of the Minister of Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs, Administrative Appeals Tribunal and the Immigration Assessment Authority. The Court does not have jurisdiction to undertake a merits review of these types of decisions.
- Enforcing determinations of the Privacy Commissioner and private sector adjudicators under the Privacy Act 1988.
This fact sheet provides information only and is not a substitute for legal advice.