Copyright

© Commonwealth of Australia 2012
ISSN 1444–6707 (print version)
ISSN 1447–5065 (online version)

The Federal Magistrates Court of Australia provides all material (unless otherwise noted and with the exception of the Coat of Arms) with Creative Commons (CC) Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported licensing. Material may be distributed, as long as it remains unchanged and the Federal Magistrates Court of Australia is credited as the creator. More information can be found at: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/3.0/ If you have any questions about Creative Commons or licensing generally, please e-mail communication@familylawcourts.gov.au

Enquiries

If you would like to comment on this annual report, or have any queries, please contact the editor at:

Janelle McLoughlin
National Manager
Family Law Courts National Communication
Federal Magistrates Court of Australia
GPO Box 9991
CANBERRA ACT 2601
Ph: +61 2 6243 8690
Fax: +61 2 6243 8737
Email:  communication@familylawcourts.gov.au

Alternative formats

An electronic version of this report is available on the Federal Magistrates Court website at: http://www.fmc.gov.au/pubs/html/annual.html

The online version contains links to the 2011–12 Attorney-General’s Portfolio Budget Statements.

Acknowledgments

This report reflects the efforts of many people. Special thanks go to the Court staff involved in contributing and coordinating material, as well as the following specialist contractors:

Produced by: Family Law Courts National Communication
Designed by: 2B Advertising & Design
Printing: Bluestar

This annual report is printed on Impress Satin FSC (cover) and Impress Satin FSC (inside pages).

Made from elemental chlorine free bleached pulp, sourced from well-managed forests. It is PEFC certified and is manufactured by an ISO 14001 certified mill using renewable energy sources.

 

Letter of Transmittal

Reader’s Guide

The purpose of this report is to inform the Attorney-General, the Parliament, court clients and the general public about the performance of the Federal Magistrates Court of Australia in the financial year ending 30 June 2012.

Prepared according to parliamentary reporting requirements, the report outlines the goals in the Court’s Portfolio Budget Statements and Portfolio Additional Estimates Statements and relates to the results achieved during the year to those goals. It provides information on the Court’s performance in relation to its stated outcome:

To provide the Australian community with a simple and accessible forum for the resolution of less complex disputes within the jurisdiction of the Federal Magistrates Court of Australia.

PART 1: The Chief Federal Magistrate’s year in review-comprises the Chief Federal Magistrate’s overview highlighting significant issues and initiatives the Court has undertaken during the reporting year as well as joint initiatives of the Federal Magistrates Court, the Family Court and the Federal Court.

PART 2: Overview of the Court-provides information about the Court, including its role, functions, changes to jurisdiction during 2011–12 rule amendments during 2011–12, and organisational structure.

PART 3: The work of the Court in 2011–12-reports on how the Court performed during the period against the outcome and the related program. The performance reports are based on the outcome and program framework and performance information in the 2011–12 Portfolio Budget Statements and 2011–12 Portfolio Additional Estimates Statements for the Attorney-General’s portfolio.

PART 4: Management and accountability-provides information on corporate governance, external and internal scrutiny, human resource management, financial management, purchasing, consultants and contract management, legal services, asset management and other activities relevant to the general administration of the Court.

PART 5: Financial statements for the year ending 30 June 2012-contains the audited financial statements for 2011–12.

PART 6: Appendices-includes the resource statement, staffing profile, freedom of information data, information about committees and judicial activities, and contact details.

The following references will assist readers to locate information in the annual report:

  • Table of contents
  • Compliance index-page 212
  • Alphabetical index-page 216.

Acronyms and abbreviations

AGD

Attorney-General's Department

ABGR

Australian Building Greenhouse Rating

AIJA

Australasian Institute for Judicial Administration

AM

Member of the Order of Australia

ANAO

Australian National Audit Office

AO

Officer of the Order of Australia

APS

Australian Public Service

ATSI

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander

ASIC

Australian Securities and Investments Commission

AWA

Australian Workplace Agreement

BCP

Business Continuity Plans

CCP

Commonwealth Courts Portal

CEI

Chief Executive Instructions

CEO

Chief Executive Officer

CFM

Chief Federal Magistrate

CJ

Chief Justice

CMFM

Case Management Federal Magistrate

CSSMG

Client Service Senior Manager's Group

CPSU

Commonwealth and Public Sector Union

Cth

Commonwealth

EL

Executive Level of the Australian Public Service

ESS

Employee Self Service System

FAIM

Fellow of the Australian Institute of Management

FCA

Federal Court of Australia

FCoA

Family Court of Australia

FLC

Family Law Courts

FM

Federal Magistrate

FMA Act

Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997

FMC

Federal Magistrates Court of Australia

FOI

freedom of information

GST

goods and services tax

HR

human resources

ICT

Information, Communications and Technology

IT

information technology

NEC

National Enquiry Centre

NCoCM

National Coordinator of Case Management

PMDS

Performance Management Development System

PSM

Public Service Medal

QPILCH

Queensland Public Interest Law Clearing House

SES

Senior Executive Service of the Australian Public Service

YEAG

Young Employees Advisory Group

Glossary of court-specific terms

Affidavit

A written statement by a party or witness. An affidavit is the main way of presenting the facts of a case to the Court.

Appeal

An application to a higher court to review a decision of a lower court or tribunal.

Applicant

The individual, organisation or corporation who/which applies to the Court to commence legal proceedings against another person or persons. Also known as 'plaintiff' in admiralty and corporations matters and in some other courts.

Application

The document that starts most proceedings in the Court.

Case

The matter before the Court.

Circuit

A place the Court regularly visits in rural and regional Australia.

Dispute resolution

Procedures and services to help resolve disputes before or during a court hearing without the need for a judicial decision. It may include mediation, conciliation or counselling.

Docket system

A system by which each case is allocated to a particular federal magistrate who generally manages the matter from commencement to disposition.

eFiling

The procedure of electronically lodging a document through the Commonwealth Courts Portal.

eLodgment

The procedure of electronically lodging general federal law documents in the Federal Magistrates Court.

Filing

The process of the Court accepting a document or documents lodged by a party to a proceeding.

In personam

An action or right against a specific person.

In rem

An action against certain property.

Judgment

The final order or set of orders made by the Court after a hearing, often accompanied by reasons which set out the facts and law applied in the case. A judgment is said to be 'reserved' when the Court postpones the delivery of the judgment to a later date to allow the presiding judicial officer time to consider the evidence and submission. A judgment is said to be 'ex tempore' when the presiding judicial officer gives the judgment orally at the hearing or very shortly thereafter.

Jurisdiction

The extent of legal authority or power of the Court to apply the law.

Litigants

Individuals, organisations or companies who/which are the parties to a proceeding before the Court.

Orders

A court order is a document that sets out what the parties must do. Orders can be urgent, interim (temporary) or final. Courts usually have wide-ranging powers to make orders to enforce judgments.

Parties

People involved in a court case. Applicants, respondents and defendants are generally called 'parties'.

Pro bono

Legal work performed without charge for litigants who cannot afford the cost of a lawyer and are not eligible for legal aid. Pro bono legal work is done at a substantially reduced rate or in some circumstances, at no cost.

Proceeding

The regular and orderly progression of a matter including all acts and events between the time of commencement and judgment.

Registrar

A court lawyer who has been delegated power to perform certain tasks on behalf of a federal magistrate; e.g. grant divorces, sign consent orders and determine the next step in a case.

Regulations

The Federal Magistrates Regulations 2000 which prescribe the filing and other fees that must be paid for proceedings in the Court.

Respondent

A party to court proceedings against whom relief is claimed.

Rules

Rules made by the federal magistrates that set out the procedures for conducting a proceeding in the Court. The rules of the Federal Magistrates Court are the Federal Magistrates Court Rules 2001 and the Federal Magistrates Court (Bankruptcy) Rules 2006.

Self-represented litigant

A party to a matter who does not have legal representation and represents themself before the Court.

Supplementary document

Any document lodged against an existing cause of action that does not attract a fee and does not require follow up action by court staff once lodged.