The Attorney-General for Australia provides this fact sheet concerning the new court:
- The Military Court of Australia will be established as a separate Court in accordance with Chapter III of the Constitution, which gives the Commonwealth Parliament power to create federal courts and set out the extent of their jurisdiction.
- The new Court will have jurisdiction to try serious service offences.
- Less serious offences, which comprise the vast majority of service offences, will continue to be heard by summary authorities at unit level.
- Any Australian Defence Force member who is charged with a service offence, even at summary level, may elect to have the matter heard in the Military Court of Australia.
- It will hear most matters in Australia (regardless of where they are committed) and will also be capable of deploying where necessary.
- Where the Military Court of Australia determines that it would be inappropriate or impossible for the Court to deploy, Defence will arrange for the matter to be tried overseas by a court martial or Defence Force magistrate.
- The Military Court of Australia will be administered by the Federal Court and will consist of separate upper and lower Divisions, comprising judicial officers at the level of Federal Court judge and Federal Magistrate respectively.
- The upper Division of the Military Court of Australia will try very serious service offences (which will be defined in the Military Court of Australia Regulations), and hear appeals from decisions of the Military Court of Australia in the first instance and appeals from a decision of a Defence Force magistrate or court martial deployed overseas.
- The lower Division of the Military Court of Australia will try serious service offences (as opposed to “very serious service offences”) and matters where an accused has made an up-front election or which have been referred by a summary authority.
- Service offences will be tried by the Military Court of Australia other than on indictment, and therefore without a jury.Judicial officers of the Court will be required to have service experience or familiarity with the services, in addition to the usual criteria for appointment to a federal court.
- They will be independent of the military chain of command.
- They cannot be ADF permanent or reserve members.
- Judicial officers of the Court may hold dual commissions with the Federal Court or Federal Magistrates Court, or be appointed only to the Military Court.