This chapter considers the meaning of the term ‘common law’ and its application in the context of Australian federalism. It discusses some views on common law vis-à-vis the Constitution, as well as the history of the development of common law in Australia. The common law of Australia includes the choice of law rules. The common law choice of law rules select which of the competing State or Territory laws is the lex causae. They apply either directly in the court of the forum, or where federal jurisdiction is exercised, as ‘picked up’ by operation of section 80 of the Judiciary Act 1903 (Cth). A further significant aspect of the development of the common law of Australia is its illustration of the temporal character of the common law.
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