Commonwealth Court of Conciliation and Arbitration

Commonwealth Court Of Conciliation And Arbitration

Commonwealth Court of Conciliation and Arbitration

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The Commonwealth Court of Conciliation and Arbitration is a defunct Australian court, which had jurisdiction to arbitrate interstate industrial disputes.

The court was created in 1904 by the Conciliation and Arbitration Act 1904, an Act of the Parliament of Australia. Its functions were to hear and arbitrate industrial disputes, and to make awards. It also had the judicial functions of interpreting and enforcing awards, and to hear other criminal and civil cases relating to industrial relations law. The court's first President was High Court Justice Richard O'Connor.

The court was initially less important than the various State commissions, which had jurisdiction over all disputes which occurred within states. The court's workload was so low that it only made six awards in the first five years after it was created. One of these early awards was the famous Harvester Judgment, delivered by H.B. Higgins, which first introduced the concept of the living wage (also known as a basic wage). Another of its early acts was to set the standard working week at 48 hours.

The court was reformed in 1926 following amendments to the Conciliation and Arbitration Act. The changes included replacing the President with a Chief Judge alongside other judges, and ensuring that all cases involving the basic or living wage would be heard by a full bench of the court. The changes also allowed for the appointment of Conciliation Commissioners,...
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