Full Courts in the Original Jurisdiction

The Federal Court of Australia Act 1976 requires that certain matters must be heard and determined by a Full Court (comprising three or more judges) sitting in the Court's original jurisdiction including:

  • Matters where the Chief Justice has determined that a matter is of sufficient importance it is appropriate that a Full Court hear a matter pursuant to section 20(1A) of the Federal Court of Australia Act.
  • matters brought in the Court's original jurisdiction from a decision of a tribunal or authority while constituted by a member or person that is a Judge of the Court or of another court created by the Parliament (section 20(2) of the Federal Court of Australia Act).
  • Where the President of Fair Work Australia refers a question of law, it must be determined by the Full Court of the Federal Court pursuant to section 608(2) of the Fair Work Act 2009.
  • Other legislation, such as section 44(3) of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal Act 1975 sets out the circumstances when a Full Court is required to hear an appeal.

Fair Work original jurisdiction

The Federal Court also has original jurisdiction pursuant to section 19(1) of the Federal Court of Australia Act to hear matters arising under the Fair Work Act 2009. The President of Fair Work Australia ("FWA") is a judge of the Federal Court.

If a matter to be heard by the Federal Court relates to a decision of the President of FWA or the President sitting with others pursuant to section 563 of the Fair Work Act, the matter must be heard by a Full Court of the Federal Court pursuant to section 20(2) of the Federal Court of Australia Act.

Where the President of FWA refers a question of law to the Federal Court pursuant to section 608 of the Fair Work Act, the question of law must be determined by the Full Court of the Federal Court.

Different procedures apply in each of these circumstances. Further information about the procedures for these types of matters is available from any Federal Court registry.