Corporate Plan 2016 - 2020

Federal Court of Australia

The Federal Court of Australia (FCA) was created by the Federal Court of Australia Act 1976 (Cth) and began to exercise its jurisdiction on 1 February 1977. It assumed jurisdiction formerly exercised in part by the High Court of Australia and the whole jurisdiction of the Australian Industrial Court and the Federal Court of Bankruptcy.

The FCA is a superior court of record and a court of law and equity. It sits in all capital cities and elsewhere in Australia from time to time. The Court’s jurisdiction is broad, covering almost all civil matters arising under Australian federal law and some summary and indictable criminal matters.

The Chief Justice is the senior judge of the Court and is responsible for managing the administrative affairs of the Court. He is assisted by the Chief Executive Officer and Principal Registrar who is appointed by the Governor-General on the nomination of the Chief Justice.

The FCA has a substantial and diverse appellate jurisdiction. It hears appeals from decisions of single judges of the Court, decisions of the Federal Circuit Court in non-family matters, decisions of the Supreme Court of Norfolk Island and certain decisions of state and territory supreme courts exercising federal jurisdiction.

The objectives of the FCA are to:

  • decide disputes according to law—as quickly, inexpensively and efficiently as possible and, in so doing, to interpret the statutory law and develop the general law of the Commonwealth, so as to fulfil the role of a court exercising the judicial power of the Commonwealth under the Constitution
  • provide an effective registry service for the community, and
  • manage the resources allotted by Parliament efficiently.

The Court has had responsibility for the corporate administration of the National Native Title Tribunal since July 2012. In the 2015–16 Budget, the Australian Government announced that it would amalgamate the corporate services of the Family Court of Australia and the Federal Circuit Court with the Court into a single administrative body with a single appropriation. The Courts Administration Legislation Amendment Act 2016 establishes the amalgamated body, to be known as the Federal Court of Australia, from 1 July 2016. This approach preserves each court’s functional and judicial independence, whilst improving their financial sustainability.

Our vision

An internationally respected court.


To contribute to the social and economic development and wellbeing of all Australians by applying and upholding the rule of law to deliver remedies and enforce rights.

Our values

Prompt, courteous, effective, efficient, accountable.

We are committed to upholding the Australian Public Service Values and Employment Principles and to comply with the Code of Conduct. We are impartial, committed to service, accountable, respectful and ethical.