The Federation Press

Authority to Decide

The Law of Jurisdiction in Australia


The first work dealing comprehensively with jurisdiction in the Australian legal system.

What are the limits of federal jurisdiction?
How is federal jurisdiction conferred and invested on Federal and State courts within the Australian legal system?
What is “accrued jurisdiction”?
What is a “matter”?
What is jurisdictional error?
What is a jurisdictional fact?
Why are there no Australian courts of unlimited jurisdiction?
What does it mean to say that a court has jurisdiction to decide its own jurisdiction?
How is a court’s jurisdiction invoked?

These questions are of vital practical and conceptual importance; the purpose of this work is to answer them, by providing a comprehensive account of the role of jurisdiction in Australia.

Although the book extends to all aspects of jurisdiction, it covers the whole of federal jurisdiction, and provides not only an accessible analysis for practitioners and courts, but also a thoughtful and detailed account of the underlying principle and decisions. All classes of federal “matters” are addressed, but with an emphasis on those arising most commonly in practice, as well as the essential statutory provisions by which State and federal jurisdiction is conferred and qualified and excluded. Separate chapters deal with invoking jurisdiction, jurisdictional error, service, and appeals and appellate jurisdiction, in State and federal courts.

Table of Contents

Invoking the jurisdiction of courts
Jurisdictional error
Identifying Chapter III matters
Conferring and excluding jurisdiction
Chapter III matters – Private jurisdiction
Chapter III matters – Litigation involving governments
Appendix – Constitution and Judiciary Act (extracts)


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