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High Court of Australia

The High Court of Australia is the court of last resort for the jurisdiction of Australia. It is mandated by Section 71 of the Australian Constitution.

Although the Constitution came into effect in 1901 upon the federation of the former British colonies of Australia, the High Court was not in fact established until 1903. It finally became the court of last resort in 1986 upon passage of the Australia Act. This legislation abolished recourse to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council. For more detail on these developments, see Constitutional history of Australia.

As well as its appellate role, the High Court also exercises some original jurisdiction, especially in regard to the administrative overview of the activities of Federal ministers and public servants. In practice, this most often involves attempts to overturn immigration-related decisions.

The first three justices of the High Court were:

In 1906, an additional two justices were appointed, and in 1912 the bench was expanded to seven justices. During the Great Depression, two of the seats were left vacated due to the decline in the volume of work.

As of 1980, the High Court ordinarily sits in the High Court building in Canberra (Prior to this, the court's facilities were shared between the cities of Sydney and Melbourne). Once a year, the court travels on circuit to some of Australia's more remote cities, such as Perth, Western Australia.

The current (as at 2003) sitting justices of the High Court are:

See also List of Judges of the High Court of Australia.

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