The Court of Disputed Returns is a court, or a tribunal, or some other body that determines disputes about elections in some common law countries. Sometimes the court may be known by another name, such as the Court of Disputed Elections. In countries that derive their legal tradition from the United Kingdom, the legal tradition is that Parliament is the supreme law-making body in the country. That same tradition mandates that as Parliament is sovereign, it alone has authority and jurisdiction to determine who and how a person can be elected to Parliament. Implicit in that authority is the jurisdiction to determine whether a person has been validly elected. This is commonly known as a "disputed return" and which gives the court its name. The court is an attempt to eliminate the partisan nature of parliament and give the determination of electoral disputes to an independent and dispassionate neutral body. As parliament has the sole authority to determine these matters, parliament must create a special law to bring that body into existence to determine those disputes.
A court of disputed returns may be constituted in a number of ways. The first is by the creation of a special court to perform that function. This has occurred in the Northern Territory of Australia where a special and separate court determines those disputes.
Another way is for an existing court to be given the role of the court of disputed returns. Commonly, the phrase "the x court shall be the court of disputed returns". In this case, a separate court is not created, but the existing court is made into and given the jurisdiction of the court of disputed returns. The High Court of Australia, the Supreme Court of New South Wales and the Supreme Court of Victoria are each invested as courts of disputed returns in this manner.
A court may also be simply be the venue for the determination of disputed returns. In New South Wales, the Land and Environment Court determines electoral disputes but is not a court of disputed returns.
In some jurisdictions, the parliament of that country retains the right to determine disputed returns concurrently with the court of disputed returns. What this means is that both the parliament and the court may both decide the issue.
Generally courts of disputed return have no rights of appeal, although this depends on the law which constitutes the court.
Other articles related to "court of disputed returns, court of":
... Questions on electoral disputes are referred to the National Court of Papua New Guinea under the Organic Law on National and Local-level Government ...
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