Australian legal system

The legal system of Australia has multiple forms. It includes a written constitution, unwritten constitutional conventions, statutes, regulations, and the judicially determined common law system. Its legal institutions and traditions are substantially derived from that of the English legal system.[1] Australia is a common-law jurisdiction, its court system having originated in the common law system of English law. The country's common law is enforced uniformly across the states (subject to augmentation by statutes).[2]

The High Court

The Australian Constitution sets out a federal system of government. There exists a national legislature, with a power to pass laws of overriding force on a number of express topics.[3] The States are separate jurisdictions with their own system of courts and parliaments, and are vested with plenary power. Some Australian territories such as the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory have been granted a regional legislature by the Commonwealth.

The High Court is Australia's apex court. It has the final say on the judicial determination of all legal matters. It hears appeals from all other courts in the country, and is vested with original jurisdiction.[4]

Prior to colonisation, the only systems of law to exist in Australia were the varied systems of customary law belonging to Indigenous Australians. Indigenous systems of law were deliberately ignored by the colonial legal system, and in the post-colonial era have only been recognised as legally important by Australian courts to a limited degree.[5]