Australia's Legal System

Each of the federal and state systems incorporates three separate branches of government - the legislative, executive and judiciary.  Parliaments make the laws, the executive government administers the laws and the judiciary independently interprets and applies them.

The Australian legal system is a variation of the common law system developed in the United Kingdom.

The two sources of laws are:

  • legislation enacted by the Federal and State Governments, and
  • common law based on previous judicial decisions.
Features of the Australian Legal System

Australian has a strong rule of law and a legal system grounded on the principles of equal treatment before the law, procedural fairness, judicial precedent and the independence of the judiciary.

Safeguards ensure individuals are not treated arbitrarily or unfairly by governments or officials and due process rights are well-established and respected and effective compensation is the norm.

Property and contractual rights are enforced through the Australian court system. Private ownership and the establishment of private business enterprises is guaranteed by the common law system which forms the basis of Australian jurisprudence.  Australia provides strong Intellectual Property rights protection and enforcement through legislation.

Australia maintains a comprehensive system of laws and regulations designed to counter corruption and is perceived internationally as having low levels of corruption.

Dispute Settlement

Australia has a well-established legal and court system for litigation and arbitration.   Australia is considered a world leader in the development of alternate (non-court) dispute resolution (ADR) mechanisms and is a member of the International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes.

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Intellectual Property