Documenting Democracy
Australia's Story
Australian Capital Territory

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ACT Supreme Court Act 1933 (Cth)
ACT Supreme Court Act 1933 (Cth), cover
ACT Supreme Court Act 1933 (Cth), p1
ACT Supreme Court Act 1933 (Cth), p2
ACT Supreme Court Act 1933 (Cth), p3
ACT Supreme Court Act 1933 (Cth), p11
ACT Supreme Court Act 1933 (Cth), p14
This document, enacted on 9 December 1933, created a Supreme Court for the Australian Capital Territory. In removing this jurisdiction from the High Court, the Act laid the foundation for the development of the ACT court system.
The Bill was introduced in the House of Representatives in October 1933 and enacted within two months. The new ACT Supreme Court sat for the first time on 12 February 1934, in the Acton House Courthouse used as the Court of Petty Sessions.

The Act provided for the appointment of a single judge and the first, Justice Lionel Lukin, served until 1943. In 1958 judges of other federal courts were empowered to assist the sole judge of the ACT Supreme Court and in 1971 the Act was amended to allow for the appointment of a second resident judge.

From 1935 the Supreme Court sat in the dining room at the Hotel Acton as the courthouse had been found inadequate. When it was demolished in 1940, the Court of Petty Sessions also moved to the Hotel Acton. The Supreme Court moved to the new Patents Office building near the first Parliament House in Parkes in January 1941. The Court sat there until 1963, when the Law Courts Building in Civic was completed.

Four years after self-government was conferred on the ACT in 1988, the Commonwealth’s Supreme Court Act 1933 was deemed an Act of the Territory parliament under the ACT Supreme Court Transfer Act 1992.


Atkins, Ruth, The Government of the Australian Capital Territory, University of Queensland Press, St Lucia, 1978.

Gibbney, Jim, Canberra 1913–1953, Australian Government Printing Service, Canberra, 1988.

Long Title:An Act to establish a Supreme Court for the Territory for the Seat of Government, and for other purposes (Act 34 of 1933)
No. of pages:Cover + 14 pages
Medium:Paper, bound with blue silk ribbon
Measurements:28 x 21.5 cm
Provenance:The Senate
Features:The ceremonial elements – the ribbon and Australian Coat of Arms on the front cover, and the Assent signature of the Governor-General Isaac Isaacs on page 14.
Location & Copyright:National Archives of Australia
Reference:NAA: A1559, 1933/34