The High Court
The High Court is at the apex of both the Commonwealth and state court systems. Its administrative and ceremonial head is the Chief Justice and it has six other judges. Unlike other courts, all seven judges generally sit on High Court cases because of the importance of its decisions. The High Court’s decisions must be followed by all other Australian courts and tribunals.
The court’s key role is deciding constitutional cases. However, the bulk of its workload consists of appeals from decisions of state and territory Supreme Courts, the Federal and Family Courts. The right of appeal to the High Court in non-constitutional cases is not automatic. ‘Leave to appeal’ must usually be granted and this will only be done where a matter is of sufficient public importance and there is a reasonable chance of success.