A constitution is a set of rules that determine how an organization or country is run (governed), how the organization or country decides who will have power, how that power can be exercised. The constitution of a country establishes the system of government of that country. The full title of the Australian Constitution is the Commonwealth of Australia Constitution Act 1900. Prior to colonization, the only legal systems that existed in Australia were the various customary law systems of Indigenous Australians. Indigenous legal systems were deliberately ignored by the colonial legal system and were only partially recognized as legally important by Australian courts in the post-colonial era.  Full legislative independence was eventually established by the Australia Act 1986, which was passed by the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It eliminated the possibility of legislating with the consent and request of a dominion and applied to both the states and the Commonwealth. It also provided for the complete abolition of appeals to the Privy Council by any Australian court. The Australia Act represented an important symbolic break with Britain, underscored by Queen Elizabeth II`s visit to Australia to sign the bill in her legally distinct capacity as Queen of Australia. By 1824, the Acts of the British Parliament had created a judicial system based essentially on the English model.  The New South Wales Act of 1823 provided for the creation of a Supreme Court empowered to deal with all criminal and civil matters “as thoroughly and completely as the Court of King`s Bench, Common Pleas and Exchequer of Westminster.”  Subordinate courts have also been established, including courts for general or quarterly meetings and courts for investigations.
The ANU library provides access to a number of legal databases. The following list is very selective and covers only the most important sources of case law and legislation. For a more complete list of law-related databases, click here or visit the Jurisprudence, Journal Articles and Legislation tabs for more databases covering this type of information. The Australian common law system has its origins in the common law of Great Britain. Although similarities remain and the influence of UK common law decisions on Australian courts remains influential; There are considerable differences between the different systems.  Each has a slightly different role to play in the legal system, and these are described later in these hot topics. Every legal system is unique and the Australian legal system is no exception. It is a combination of English common law and an American-style constitutional framework developed due to Australia`s federal nature.
As in most countries, new laws are debated and enacted by the legislature, which in Australia is the state, territory and federal legislature. The executive, i.e. the civil service, ensures that the new laws are enforced. The judiciary is the arm of the executive, interpreting laws and determining whether someone has broken a law and what sanctions should be imposed. The judicial system of each state and territory is responsible for the majority of the laws of each jurisdiction, most of which are based on the English common law inherited from Britain after the colonization of Australia. The language used by the legal system is almost a language in itself. In fact, it would be more accurate to say it in several languages, as there are different areas of law, each with its own terminology. The two main areas of law are, for example, civil law and criminal law.
In civil law, there are other divisions, such as commercial law, personal injury law, labor law, etc. Each area of law has developed its own terminology, although there are also terms widely used throughout the legal system. The legal system of each country consists of the body of laws, which can be codified (i.e. written in the form of statutes) or not. Uncodified statutes such as English common law derive primarily from past cases. Judges interpret the law based on medical history. The courts administer these laws and judge whether people have broken the law. The Constitution can only be amended by national referendum, a provision based on the Swiss cantonal system.