In January 2000 the Attorney-General of Australia, the Hon Daryl Williams AM QC MP, asked the Commission to review the Judiciary Act 1903 (Cth) and related legislation.

The terms of reference required the Commission to inquire into and report on whether the provisions governing the exercise of the judicial power of the Commonwealth in civil matters, which are contained in the Judiciary Act and related Acts, establish and apply the most appropriate arrangements for the efficient administration of law and justice in the exercise of federal jurisdiction. The Commission also was charged with the task of reporting on whether any changes to the law are desirable having regard to constitutional limitations on the exercise of the judicial power of the Commonwealth.

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