Evaluate The Impact Of The High Court Of Australia On Australia's Federal Experience.

1407 words - 6 pages

To evaluate the impact of the High Court on Australia's federal experience, it's important to discuss the High Court, ideas of centralism and federalism and the five phases of the High Court.The High Court of Australia is the superior court of the Australian hierarchy of courts. It's the only court that's directly established by the Australian Constitution. It has original jurisdiction over constitutional disputes (interpreting the constitution) and appellant jurisdiction over all civil and criminal law in Australia (highest court of appeal). The HCA also resolves inter se disputes between the Commonwealth and States. Generally the HCA only hears State and Commonwealth disputes and Supreme Court cases (civil and criminal appeals) due to how expensive it is to be heard by the High Court. Also the HCA can refuse to hear some cases, and will sometimes refuse to hear cases apart from those mentioned above.The doctrine of 'separation of powers' says that the judiciary should be independent of the executive and legislature. Although, the High Court has become more of a political institution than a legal institution, which means that, the High Court (Judiciary) is becoming less independent from the Executive and Legislature. High Court judges are appointed by the Governor General on the advice of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. This can cause controversy due to the possible political and ideological bias of the judges. The High Court can interpret the Constitution in different ways. It can be interpreted so that rulings are based on the effect it will have on the Division of Powers. There's also the legalist approach, which is that the constitution should be interpreted like any statute, with the emphasis placed on the actual words rather than on how the decision may affect the division of powers.The High Court has gone through 5 phases of interpretation. The first phase was from 1901-1920 and is known as the Intentionalist stage. The constitution was interpreted according to founding fathers intentions. The doctrine of reserve powers was applied during this phase. This meant recognising "implied immunities (States are immune from losing power) and "implied prohibitions" (the Commonwealth's prohibited from intervening into state residual powers). The doctrine of implied immunities is where the different spheres of government couldn't interfere with each other's activities. The railway servant's case 1906 is an example of when this doctrine was applied. The Commonwealth wanted to put regulations on state railway employees, but this doctrine left the states immune from Commonwealth interference, as the Commonwealth was not allowed to make regulations on state government railway employees. The doctrine of implied prohibitions meant that the Commonwealth government could only legislate as powers outlined in the constitution as exclusive or concurrent powers, and in no way interfere with residual responsibility. The Barger's case of 1908 had this doctrine...

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