Australia/ 5.1 General legislation  

5.1.2 Division of jurisdiction

The legal framework is established through federal laws enacted by the Parliament of Australia, and laws enacted by the parliaments of the states and territories.  Whereas the laws passed by the Commonwealth Parliament apply to the whole of Australia, those passed within the states/territories are not binding outside that particular jurisdiction.  However, an Australian common law system is ensured through the fact that the national equivalent of a supreme court – the High Court – has jurisdiction over the state supreme courts and is the last court of appeal in the land and also has a unique role in hearing cases about, and interpreting, the Australian Constitution.  Ultimately, a decision by the High Court that a law is unconstitutional means that it is invalidated, regardless of whether it has been passed by a parliament, federal or state. 

Chapter published: 27-12-2013