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Federal Circuit Court of Australia

Federal Magistrates’ Court to be renamed in 2013

Thursday 22nd of November 2012

I want you to know I appreciate everything Gary and Emily are doing and have done.

Legislation has this week been passed in Parliament to rename the Federal Magistrates’ Court, which from early 2013 will be known as the “Federal Circuit Court of Australia”.

The new name was selected after consultation between the Government and Australia’s federal Courts.

Federal Magistrates will also be retitled “Judges” as part of the transformation, as the Government moves to clear up confusion as to the specific roles of each Court and judicial officer therein. This name change is in line with the fact that role and jurisdiction of a Magistrate in the FMC has always been closer to that of a Family Court Judge than a Magistrate of a State Court.

The development follows an announcement from Attorney-General Nicola Roxon earlier this year, in which she stated that the change would better reflect the Court’s regional presence (the FMC heard matters in 33 regional locations over the last year alone). She believes the new appellation will “better reflect the Court’s modern role in the federal judicial system” as well as “better recognis[ing] the character and importance of the work undertaken by the Court”.

The rechristening is part of the Government’s $38 million court reform agenda, which also includes the creation of a “transparent complaints process” against judicial officers, and the establishment of the Military Court of Australia, a proposed court of military justice for Australia’s defence forces which would supersede our controversial court-martial system.

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