The Federal Court of Australia
The Federal Court is a judicial body with the power to hear and
decide all native title applications. All native title applications
must be made with the Federal Court. The Federal Court can
- Refer native title determination and compensation applications
to the National Native Title Tribunal for mediation;
- Determine who are 'parties' (that is, people involved in a matter);
- Join people or organisations who believe they have an interest
in native title matters as parties;
- Slow the proceedings down so people can have time to negotiate;
- Make orders to ensure that overlapping claims are considered
at the same time; and
- Make a determination of native title and that the native title
is to be held in trust.
The Federal Court can also review mediation and/or list matters
The Federal Court will generally refer all native title applications
to the National Native Title Tribunal for assessment for registration,
for notification and mediation.
The Federal Court must abide by certain rules in the way it receives
evidence unless it orders otherwise. The Federal Court may take
account of the cultural and customary concerns of Aboriginal peoples
and Torres Strait Islanders.
Unless the Court orders otherwise, each party must bear their
own costs of native title proceedings.
Decisions of the Federal Court may be appealed in the Full Court
of the Federal Court, and then in the High Court.