The High Court is the highest court in the Australian judicial system. It was established in 1901 by Section 71 of the Constitution. The functions of the High Court are to interpret and apply the law of Australia; to decide cases of special federal significance including challenges to the constitutional validity of laws and to hear appeals, by special leave, from Federal, State and Territory courts.
The seat of the High Court is in Canberra, where it is located in its own building within the Parliamentary Triangle. The High Court building houses three courtrooms, Justices’ chambers, and the Court’s main registry, library, and corporate services facilities. In addition, there are offices of the High Court Registry in Sydney and Melbourne, staffed by officers of the High Court. In Adelaide, Brisbane, Darwin and Perth, registry functions are performed on behalf of the High Court by officers of the Federal Court of Australia, and in Hobart they are performed by officers of the Supreme Court of Tasmania.
When the Court delivers judgments, copies are immediately available from the Canberra office, and are provided to the parties and media free-of-charge. Additional copies can be purchased, at the fee prescribed in the High Court of Australia (Fees) Regulation 2012, by the parties and the public in the Canberra, Melbourne and Sydney offices of the Registry. This service is also provided if the Court delivers judgments when sitting in other cities.
The High Court Rules 2004 provide that the Court may determine leave and special leave applications on the papers without an oral hearing. In those cases, the applications are not listed for hearing but for publication of reasons and pronouncement of orders only.