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High Court of Australia
The High Court of Australia decides important questions of law for the nation.
Civics and citizenship resources available for primary and secondary students
The High Court of Australia is the highest court in the Australian judicial system. Tours of the building bring to life the powerful history and contemporary function of the Court in upholding Australia’s democracy.
Tours take students into courtrooms where the Court interprets and applies the law of Australia and where cases of national significance are heard, including challenges to the constitutional validity of laws. During sitting weeks, students view barristers presenting their arguments before the Justices and observe Court etiquette as they watch a case unfold.
Students discover the importance and relevance of the Australian Constitution in the Australian Constitutional Centre. The Centre, created in collaboration with the Constitutional Education Fund of Australia, celebrates the Constitution as the ‘heartbeat of our country’, uniting us all, providing justice, and building our nation. Students will gain an understanding of why our democracy demands the separation of powers and what is meant by the ‘rule of law’.
The High Court of Australia is one of Canberra’s major tourist attractions and is situated in the Parliamentary Zone at Parkes Place on the shores of Lake Burley Griffin. The High Court– National Gallery Precinct is on the National Heritage List.
The building is open from 9.45 am to 4.30 pm on weekdays, and 12 pm to 4 pm Sundays.
Groups are asked to book via the Court’s online booking system hcourt.gov.au/about/ tour-bookings. A typical tour takes one hour. Group size is limited to 50 people per group. All groups enter the Court via the ceremonial ramp from King Edward Terrace. Parking is at the National Portrait Gallery setdown area off King Edward Terrace. To assist in moving quickly through the Court’s security screening, students are advised to leave bags and personal items on the bus. Students may take photographs inside the building, except in sitting courtrooms.
Sitting dates are posted at hcourt.gov.au/registry/ courtcalendars.