This year marks the 40th anniversary of the Federal Court of Australia. Established as a court of limited and specialised jurisdiction, its impact and influence have grown considerably in the last 40 years. It now exercises broad federal jurisdiction, and its decisions touch on every aspect of Australian law. To mark this milestone, the ANU Law School is hosting a conference to reflect on the Court’s contributions to Australian law.
The conference, to be held on 8 and 9 September at the Federal Court in Sydney, brings together a stunning line-up of speakers. Current and former Federal Court and High Court Justices will be joined by leading practitioners and academics to consider the unique contribution made by the Federal Court to the development of the law in Australia.
The conference will commence with Chief Justice James Allsop AO considering the role and future of the Court within the Australian judicial system. The Court’s human rights jurisdiction and its contribution in the areas of administrative and constitutional law will be considered, respectively, by Justice Debra Mortimer and ANU alumni Justices Alan Robertson and John Griffiths (with Professor James Stellios). Justice Andrew Greenwood will discuss intellectual property litigation and Justice Neil McKerracher will reflect on the Court’s admiralty jurisdiction. The Court’s corporations and insolvency jurisdiction will be considered by former Federal Court Justice and current High Court Justice Michelle Gordon, and former High Court and Federal Court Justice, Professor William Gummow AC, will look at the Federal Court’s contribution to the law of remedies, including the influence of equity. Former Federal Court Justice and current Victorian Court of Appeal Justice Mark Weinberg will consider the future of the Court’s criminal law jurisdiction to hear indictable offences.
Other areas covered by the program include: native title jurisdiction (Professor Mick Dodson AM, ANU), the innovations of the Court’s practice and procedure (Professor Peta Spender, ANU), private international law (Professor Mary Keyes, Griffith), misleading conduct (Professor Elise Bant and Associate Professor Jeannie Paterson, Melbourne), competition law (Mr Russell Miller AM, MinterEllison), revenue law (Professor Miranda Stewart, ANU), and employment and industrial relations (Professor Joellen Riley, Sydney). The extra-judicial work of Federal Court Justices will be considered by Emeritus Professor Fiona Wheeler (ANU), and ANU alumnus J K Kirk SC (NSW Bar) will close the conference by considering the Federal Court’s impact on the development of the nation.
The conference dinner speaker will be former Federal Court Justice and Chief Justice of the High Court, the Hon Sir Gerard Brennan AC KBE GBS.
Conference organisers, Associate Professor Pauline Ridge and Professor James Stellios, said that this milestone conference should not be missed. ‘The Federal Court has an enormous impact on the development of all aspects of Australian law, across every area of public, private and commercial law. The contributions at this conference will add considerably to our understanding of the role played by the Court within the Australian judicial system and the substantive contributions that it has made and will continue to make.’