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Reference code

AU WA S2498




  • 1953-01-01 - 1993-12-31 (Creation)

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Administrative history

A Court of Quarter Sessions was established in Western Australia in 1830 and a Civil Court established two years later. However, as the colony grew and as society became more complex, the judiciary became overtaxed. In the 1850s the equity jurisdiction of the Civil Court was challenged while the courts' jurisdiction in criminal matters was questioned. For these and other reasons, the Supreme Court Ordinance of 1861 was introduced.

The Supreme Court Ordinance (proclaimed on 18 June 1861) provided for a Supreme Court which had the same criminal, common law, and equity jurisdiction as the Courts of Westminister. The Ordinance amalgamated the Court of Quarter Sessions with the Supreme Court and transferred to it a number of functions of the Civil Court. For example, the Supreme Court was empowered to grant probates and letters of administration and given jurisdiction in bankruptcy matters. After 1863, the Supreme Court was also given jurisdiction in matrimonial causes (i.e. divorces).

Under the Ordinance, the officers of the Supreme Court were to be the Chief Justice (Archibald Paull Burt), an Attorney-General, a Master, and a Registrar.

In 1880 a new Supreme Court Act was introduced. The Act which came into force on 1 August 1881, clarified the Court's jurisidiction in admiralty matters and empowered the Chief Justice to make Rules for the conduct of the Court. Provision was also made for the appointment of one or more puisne judges and for the Chief Justice and other judges to sit as a Full Court. Initially, the Full Court could only entertain motions for retrials and pronounce on points of law, but after 1886 it was given the status of a Court of Appeal.

The first sitting of the Supreme Court was held on 3 July 1861 and for the first few years it occupied premises in the Police Court and Gaol Building in Beaufort Street, Perth. In 1863 it moved to the old (1836) Court House in Stirling Gardens and in 1880 moved again to the old (1835) Commissariat Store at the foot of Barrack Street. Despite alterations the Commissariat building was inadequate and in the 1890's work began on a new, purposely-designed courthouse. The new building, completed in 1903, is still the principal seat of the Supreme Court of Western Australia.

Name of creator

AU WA A79 - CORPORATE AFFAIRS DEPARTMENT (1985-02-01 - 1991-04-03)

Administrative history

The Corporate Affairs Department was created on the 1 February 1985 following the abolition of the Corporate Affairs Office. The Department was abolished on 3 April 1991, following the passing of federal legislation relating to uniform securities administration. An Office of State Corporate Affairs was established as a sub-department within Crown Law Department on the same day. The Australian Securities Commission became responsible for administering and policing the Companies Code in Western Australia.

Name of creator


Administrative history

On 3 April 1991 the Corporate Affairs Department (Agency No. 79) was abolished and a new sub-department, the Office of State Corporate Affairs was created within the Crown Law Department. The Australian Securities Commission assumed responsibility for corporate registration and investigation. The Australian Securities Commission is responsible for administering and policing the Companies Code in Western Australia. The Office of State Corporate Affairs administers the Business Names Act and the Associations Act.

Name of creator

AU WA A675 - COMPANIES REGISTRATION OFFICE (1961-01-01 - 1975-07-16)

Administrative history

Prior to 1961 the registration of companies was a function of the Supreme Court. Following the passing of the Companies Act in 1961, a Registrar of Companies was appointed to administer the Companies Registration Office which was controlled by Crown Law Department. The functions of the agency were transferred to the Corporate Affairs Office on 16 July 1975 and the Companies Registration Office was abolished.

Name of creator

AU WA A676 - CORPORATE AFFAIRS OFFICE (1975-07-16 - 1985-02-01)

Administrative history

Under legislation passed in 1975, the Companies Registration Office became the Corporate Affairs Office and the Registrar of Companies became a Commissioner. The Office remained a sub-department of Crown Law Department until 1983 when it became a separate agency. The Office continued as a separate agency until 1985 when it became the Corporate Affairs Department.

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Policy files relating to reviews of the Companies Code and possible amendments and regulations relating to companies and corporations.


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