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Functions and powers

The Court’s jurisdiction is broad, covering almost all civil matters arising under Australian federal law and some summary and indictable criminal matters. Central to the Court’s civil jurisdiction is s 39B(1A) of the Judiciary Act 1903. This jurisdiction includes cases created by a federal statute, and extends to matters in which a federal issue is properly raised as part of a claim or of a defence and to matters where the subject matter in dispute owes its existence to a federal state.

The Court has a substantial and diverse appellate jurisdiction. It hears appeals from decisions of single judges of the Court and from the Federal Circuit Court of Australia (Federal Circuit Court) in non-family law matters. The Court also exercises general appellate jurisdiction in criminal and civil matters on appeal from the Supreme Court of Norfolk Island. The Court’s jurisdiction is described more fully in Part 3: The work of the Court in 2018–19.