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New military court set to be established

New laws introduced today are set to establish a new military court in Australia while also reshaping the current federal court system.

user iconThe New Lawyer 24 June 2010 The Bar
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NEW laws introduced today are set to establish a new military court in Australia while also reshaping the current federal court system.

Attorney-General, Robert McClelland, today introduced legislation that will see a new court replace the interim system of military justice put in place by last year’s High Court decision in Lane v Morrison. The decision invalidated the Australian Military Court established by the previous Government.

The Military Court of Australia Bill 2010, co-sponsored by the Minister for Defence John Faulkner, will establish the new Military Court of Australia as a separate court under Chapter III of the Constitution, with the same independence and constitutional protections as other federal courts.


Judicial officers of the new Military Court of Australia must have ADF experience or knowledge, and cannot be serving ADF members or reservists. Judges of the Federal Court and the Federal Magistrates Court may be offered dual commissions to the new military court, McClelland said in a statement today.

Senator Faulkner himself says the new military court will strengthen military justice.

“The new court meets the strict constitutional requirements for an independent court, but also retains a clear military character. This is important to ensure the court has the confidence of servicemen and women,” Senator Faulkner said.

The new Military Court of Australia will form part of a restructured federal court system to be implemented through the Access to Justice (Family Court Restructure and Other Measures) Bill 2010.

Under the proposed new structure the Family Court will be the single court dealing with all family law matters and will comprise two Divisions, the Appellate and Superior Division, and the General Division.

The Federal Magistrates Court will continue to hear general federal law matters.

The Federal Court will continue to exercise its jurisdiction in its current form and will be responsible for the administration of both the Military Court of Australia and the Federal Magistrates Court.

“The proposed new structure will create efficiencies and facilitate a more streamlined approach in the delivery of justice to the Australian community, including members of the Australian Defence Force,” McClelland said.

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