- Appendix A: Entity resource statement 2014–15
- Appendix B: Staffing profile
- Appendix C: Freedom of information
- Appendix D: Advertising and market research
- Appendix E: Ecologically sustainable development and environmental performance
- Appendix F: Fraud control certification
- Appendix G: Committees
- Appendix H: External involvement
- Appendix I: Judge activities
- Appendix J: Court locations
- Appendix K: Contact details
Table A.1: Entity Resource Statement, 2014–15
|Actual available appropriation
|Ordinary annual services1|
|Total ordinary annual services||182,786||163,731||19,055|
|Special Appropriations – Special appropriations limited by criteria / entitlement|
|Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 s 777||300||285||15|
|Total special accounts||–||–||–|
|Total net resourcing for agency||183,086||164,016||19,070|
1 Appropriation Act (No.1) 2014–15 and Appropriation Act (No.3) 2014–15. This also includes Prior Year departmental appropriation and S.74 relevant agency receipts.
2 Includes an amount of $7.900m in 2014–15 for the Departmental Capital Budget. For accounting purposes, this amount has been designated as 'contributions by owners'.
3 Includes $156.583m in Appropriations (Appropriation Bill No. 1 & 3), $3.305m in section 74 Receipts per Note 26 A of the Financial Statements, $1.238m in Cash – Cash and cash equivalents at the beginning of the reporting period – per Cash Flow Statement, and $20.776m in Appropriations Receivable per note 7B of the Financial Statements. Excludes other statutory receivables (GST).
4 Unspent departmental annual Appropriations per Note 26 C of the Financial Statements.
5 Administered Appropriations per Note 26 A of the Financial Statements.
6 Administered appropriation balance remaining will be used to make payments of $0.040m in 2015–16 for accrued items.
7 Repayments not provided for under other appropriations.
8 Does not include 'Special Public Money' held in accounts like Other Trust Monies Account (OTM).
Table A.2: Expenses and Resources for Outcome 1
|Outcome 1: Provide access to justice for litigants in family and federal law matters within the jurisdiction of the courts through the provision of judicial and support services.||Budget1
|(a)||(b)||(a) – (b)|
|Program 1.1: Family Court and Federal Circuit Court|
|Ordinary Annual Services (Appropriation Bill No. 1 & No. 3)||884||2912||593|
|Expenses not requiring appropriation in the Budget year||0||3823||-382|
|Departmental Appropriation (Appropriation Bill No. 1 & No. 3)5||156,273||155,386||887|
|Expenses not requiring appropriation in the Budget year6||49,390||50,370||-980|
|Total expenses for Outcome 1||206,847||206,699||148|
|Average Staffing Level (number)||786||775|
1 Full year budget, including any subsequent adjustment made to the 2014–15 Budget per 2014–15 Estimated Actual expenses in Table 2.1 of the 2015–16 Attorney General's Portfolio Budget Statements page 303.
2 Administered Expenses (Services Rendered) Per Note 18A of the Financial Statements.
3 Includes write down and impairment of assets for bad and doubtful debts per Note 18 B of the Financial Statements.
4 Special appropriations consist of refunds of fees paid under section 77 of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013.
5 Departmental Appropriation combines 'Ordinary annual services (Appropriation Bill No.1 and No.3) and 's 74 retained revenue receipts'.
6 Includes depreciation and amortisation, liabilities assumed by related entities for the Judges Pension Scheme (Family Court of Australia), resources received free of charge, Judges Pension Scheme (Invalidity) (Federal Circuit Court of Australia).
The Courts and Tribunals Legislation Amendment (Administration) Act 2012 came into effect on 1 July 2013 formalising merged administrative arrangements that had been in place for some years. The Act also formalises the arrangements for there to be a single Chief Executive Officer for both the Family Court and the Federal Circuit Court.
As at 30 June 2015, the agency had a total workforce of 772 employees that either supports a specific court eg direct judicial support to a Family Court justice or a Federal Circuit Court judge, or provides shared services eg registrars, family consultants, registry services and corporate services.
Of the agency's 772 employees:
- 195 (25.26 per cent) were male and 577 (74.74 per cent) were female, and
- 601 (77.85 per cent) were ongoing employees and 171 (22.15 per cent) were non-ongoing employees.
The following tables show staff statistics by location, gender, full-time and part-time status, and ongoing and non-ongoing.
Table B.1: Staff by location
Note: Actual occupancy at 30 June 2015 includes full and part-time staff with the exception of judicial officers and casual employees. All figures are based on actual headcount.
SES – Senior Executive Officer
NSO – National Support Office
Table B.2: Staff by gender
Table B.3: Staff by attendance status
|APS 1||Part Time||1||1|
|APS 2||Full Time||2||2||11||14||2||14||45|
|APS 3||Full Time||7||5||49||4||29||13||5||25||137|
|APS 4||Full Time||6||9||53||26||9||3||29||1||136|
|APS 5||Full Time||4||19||38||2||20||8||5||21||1||118|
|APS 6||Full Time||1||19||5||2||3||4||34|
|EL 1||Full Time||3||29||21||1||12||4||1||14||85|
|EL 2||Full Time||2||15||16||10||2||1||7||53|
|SES 1||Full Time||2||1||2||1||6|
|SES 2||Full Time||3||3|
Note: Judicial officers and the Chief Executive Officer, who are holders of public office, and casual employees are not included in the above tables.
Table B.4: Ongoing staff by location and classification
Table B.5: Non-ongoing staff by location and classification
Table B.6: Indigenous staff by location, gender and employment status
At 30 June 2015, there were 61 judges, including the Chief Judge, 23 female and 38 male.
Table B.7: Number of Judges, at 30 June 2015
|Australian Capital Territory||3|
|New South Wales||1 Chief Judge
During 2014–15, 86 employees left the agency (45 were non-ongoing, 41 were ongoing employees), being an annual turnover rate of 11.1 per cent against total employee numbers (772) at 30 June 2015.
Table B.8: Workforce turnover
|Non-ongoing employees – 5.83%||Resignation||45|
|Total non-ongoing employees||45|
|Ongoing employees – 5.31%||Inter department transfer||9|
|Retirement age under 60||2|
|Retirement age 60 – 65||4|
|Retirement age over 65||4|
|Total ongoing employees||41|
Note: The above figures do not include non-ongoing employees whose actual period of engagement reached their non-ongoing contract date of expiry.
The Federal Magistrates Court of Australia and Family Court of Australia Enterprise Agreement 2011–2014 continued to operate during 2014–15. The Agreement has a nominal expiry date of 30 June 2014, however, under present arrangements it will continue to operate after that date until replaced or formally terminated.
At 30 June 2015, 733* Family Court and Federal Circuit Court employees were covered by the Enterprise Agreement.
Table B.9: Family Court and Federal Circuit Court employees covered by the Federal Magistrates Court of Australia and Family Court of Australia Enterprise Agreement 2011–2014
* Excludes casual employees.
Offers of Australian Workplace Agreements (AWA) to agency employees ceased from 13 February 2008, in accordance with government policy; however, at 30 June 2015, 27 employees had enforceable AWAs in place.
In some limited cases, the Family Court and Federal Circuit Court has used common law contracts and determination 24 instruments pursuant to the Australian Public Service Act 1999 to build upon existing AWA arrangements.
Table B.10: Employees covered by other agreements
|Australian Workplace Agreements||Common law contracts||Individual Flexibility Arrangements||Determination 24 arrangements|
Non-salary benefits provided by the Court to employees include motor vehicles, car parking, superannuation, access to salary sacrificing arrangements, computers including home-based computer access, membership of professional associations, mobile phones, studies assistance, leave flexibilities, workplace responsibility allowances (for example, first aid, chief and deputy chief fire warden, community language) and airline club memberships.
Performance pay arrangements
The Court's industrial instruments do not include provision for performance based pay to employees. No employees received performance pay during 2014–15.
Table B.11: AWA minimum salary ranges by classification
|Classification||Salary Range ($)|
|APS 2||59,311 – 59,311|
|APS 5||84,754 – 84,754|
|APS 6||82,194 – 89,217|
|EL 1||102,137 – 130,000|
|EL 2||131,082 – 188,665|
|SES 1||175,434 – 209,650|
|SES 2||209,650 – 215,237|
Table B.12: Classification structure and pay rates in accordance with the Federal Magistrates Court of Australia and Family Court of Australia Enterprise Agreement 2011–2014
|APS classification||Salary rates on 1 July 2012||Salary rates on 1 July 2013|
Note: The Courts' Enterprise Agreement came into effect on 1 July 2011, and, although it has passed its nominal expiry date of 30 June 2014, under present arrangements it will continue to operate until it is replaced or otherwise terminated. As a consequence, there was no salary rate increase on 1 July 2014.
The Freedom of Information Act 1982 does not apply to any request for access to documents of the Court unless the document relates to matters of an administrative nature. While there is no definition within this Act or the Privacy Act of the term 'matters of an administrative nature' the High Court decision in Kline v Official Secretary to the Governor-General and Another  HCA 52 in their joint judgment considering this term pointed out:
...the only documents which courts and specified tribunals, authorities and bodies are obliged to open to increase public scrutiny are those documents relating to the management and administration of registry and office resources.'
There were two Freedom of Information application requests made to the Court for the period 1 July 2014 to 30 June 2015.
Agencies subject to the Freedom of Information Act 1982 are required to publish information to the public as part of the Information Publication Scheme. This requirement, in Part II of the Freedom of Information Act, has replaced the former requirement to publish a Section 8 Statement in an annual report.
An agency plan showing what information is published in accordance with the Information Publication Scheme requirements is accessible from agency websites.
The Freedom of Information and the Information Publication Scheme agency plan for the Federal Circuit Court can be found on the Federal Circuit Court website at www.federalcircuitcourt.gov.au
The Freedom of Information Amendment (New Arrangements) Bill 2014 (the Bill) is currently before the Parliament. This Bill, if passed, will introduce new arrangements to deliver privacy and freedom of information (FOI) functions as outlined in the 2014–15 Budget measure. These include:
- abolish the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner and the positions of Australian Information Commissioner (Information Commissioner) and Freedom of Information Commissioner (FOI Commissioner)
- provide for an Australian Privacy Commissioner as an independent statutory office holder within the Australian Human Rights Commission
- provide that external merits review of FOI decisions will only be available at the Administrative Appeals Tribunal
- provide for the Attorney-General to be responsible for FOI guidelines, collection of FOI statistics and the annual report on the operation of the FOI Act, in place of the Information Commissioner, and
- provide for the Commonwealth Ombudsman to be solely responsible for investigating complaints about FOI administration.
Access to information outside the Freedom of Information Act
Rule 2.08 of the Federal Circuit Court Rules 2001 provides that a search of the Court's records may be undertaken by: the Attorney-General (in family law proceedings), a party, a lawyer for a party, a child representative (in family law proceedings) or a person granted leave by the Court or a registrar. Leave may be granted if a proper interest is shown and may be subject to conditions. In relation to access to documents in general federal law proceedings, the Court applies the same rule as that prescribed by the Federal Court. This Rule identifies certain categories of court documents as being available for inspection without leave.
There are other legislative provisions which limit publication in various proceedings. For example; s121 Family Law Act 1975, s110X Child Support (Registration and Collection) Act 1988 and s91X of the Migration Act 1958. In addition Part 6A of the Federal Circuit Court of Australia Act 1999 gives the Court general power to suppress/prohibit publication of evidence in respect of general federal law provisions (Part XIA of the Family Law Act 1975 deals with suppression and non-publication orders in proceedings under that Act).
Enquiries concerning access to documents or freedom of information matters generally should be directed to:
Chief Executive Officer
Federal Circuit Court of Australia
GPO Box 9991
Canberra ACT 2601
Categories of documents
The registries of the Family Court and Federal Court maintain the following categories of documents on behalf of the Court:
- documents relating to matters heard by the Court including applications, affidavits, transcripts, orders and copies of judgments
- registers and indexes of matters coming to the Court, and
- general correspondence.
The Federal Circuit Court maintains the following categories of documents:
- general correspondence
- documents concerning the development and implementation of policy, guidelines and procedures, and
- documents concerning the Court's administrative and financial operations.
The Court holds and makes available on request a range of documents including brochures, fact sheets and general information leaflets. These are available on the Court's website at www.federalcircuitcourt.gov.au
The Court holds personal information for two purposes, being to:
- help resolve and, if necessary, determine matters before the Court (the judicial purpose), and/or
- assist in administration (the administrative purpose).
Information used for judicial purposes is held in case files and the case management computer system (Casetrack). This information is exempt from the Privacy Act 1988 and Freedom of Information Act 1982. Other statutory provisions and non-publication powers of the Court, designed to protect parties and their children, are applicable to this information.
Information used for administrative purposes is collected as part of the day-to-day running of the Court. This includes information about:
- employees of the Court
- suppliers of goods and services to the Court, and
- security matters.
The collection, storage and disclosure of this information is governed by the provisions of both the Privacy Act and the Freedom of Information Act.
Under sections 311A of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918, the courts are required to disclose particulars of payments of $12,566 or more (inclusive of GST) for advertising, market research, polling organisations, direct mail and media advertising.
The Family Court and Federal Circuit Court spent a total of $17,479 (GST inclusive) during the 2014–15 financial year in advertising and market research, comprising mainly payments to media advertising organisations for recruitment notices.
During 2014–15, the Family Court and Federal Circuit Court did not conduct any market research or advertising campaigns.
Ecologically sustainable development and environmental performance
The following information is provided in accordance with Section 516A of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act 1999.
Court activities and ecologically sustainable development
As noted in its Environmental Policy, the Court:
'...recognises the importance of implementing sound environmental practices in all court functions...'
This overarching commitment to ecologically sustainable development (ESD) was implemented in a number of ways by the Family Court and Federal Circuit Court during 2014–15.
Impacts on the environment
The Court impacts on the environment in a number of areas, primarily in the consumption of resources. Table E.1 lists environmental impact/usage data where available.
Table E.1: Family Court and Federal Circuit Court environmental impact/usage data, 2012–13 to 2014–15
|Energy usage privately leased sites (stationary)||6490 Giga joules (GJ)||6237 GJ||Data not available until October 2015|
|Transport vehicles – energy usage||6100* GJ||6035 GJ||5871 GJ|
|Transport Flights (estimated)||3,101,516 kms
860 tonnes CO2
962 tonnes CO2
783** tonnes CO2
|Paper usage (office paper)||27,181 reams||23,964 reams||30,385 reams|
* this figure was originally reported as 6035 GJ. The correct figure is listed above.
** this figure does not include the emissions for 45,830 kms travelled under a new travel booking provider for the courts which commenced operation in May 2015 (emission figures not available at this time). The 45,830 kms is included in the total kilometres travelled listed above.
Measures to minimise the Court's environmental impact
Environmental Management System
The Court's Environmental Management System (EMS) has many of the key elements now in place including:
- an environmental policy outlining the Court's broad commitment to environmental management
- an environmental risk register identifying significant environmental aspects and impacts for the Court and treatment strategies to mitigate them
- an environmental legal register to identify any relevant environmental legal requirements for the Court (this register also includes other requirements such as applicable Australian Government policy requirements)
- an EMS manual outlining procedures for each element of the EMS, as well as summary information on each element, and
- a range of forms to accompany the EMS elements as required.
During 2014–15, the Court worked within its EMS to minimise the environmental impact through a number of specific measures, either new or continuing, including:
- annual stationary energy use continued to reduce in 2013–14 as noted in Table E.1 (2014–15 data is not available until October 2015)
- electricity contracts continued to be reviewed to ensure value for money. Energy supply contracts negotiated in recent years resulted in estimated savings of $15,000 during 2014–15, and
- ongoing staff education to reduce energy use where possible, such as shutting down desktops and switching off lights and other electrical equipment when not in use.
- in addition to the desktop auto shutdown program that commences at 7pm, staff continued to be encouraged to shut down their desktops as they leave work to maximise energy savings
- e-waste was recycled or reused where possible, including auctioning redundant but still operational equipment
- ensuring ICT Sustainability Plan 2010–15 equipment standards are met when procuring new equipment, and
- ensuring fully recyclable packaging where possible.
- most facsimile machines were set to email to reduce printing costs
- affidavits of 100 pages or more are no longer printed
- one sided paper was reused for notepaper in some registries
- clients are encouraged to use the online Commonwealth Courts Portal
- staff are encouraged to send emails rather than letters where feasible
- secure paper (confidential etc.) continued to be shredded and recycled for all court locations
- non-secure paper recycling was available at 19 sites, and
- most printers were set to default double sided printing and monochrome.
- cleaning contracts for the Commonwealth Law Courts (via the Department of Finance who act as the lessor) and the majority of the privately leased sites came into effect in 2014. Provision for waste commingled recycling (such as non-secure paper, cardboard, recyclable plastics, metals and glass) forms a part of both contracts, with regular waste reporting included in the contract requirements for the privately leased sites
- printer toner cartridges continued to be recycled at the majority of sites
- recycling facilities for staff personal mobiles were permanently available at 11 sites
- electronic media (CDs, work mobiles etc.) continued to be securely shredded and components recycled where possible
- secure paper recycling was available at all sites, and
- fluorescent light globes continued to be recycled for all sites.
- the Court's Environmental Champions Network continued to offer the opportunity for staff to provide their input to environmental matters for the courts. The volunteer membership comprises 17 members representing 13 sites nationally. Projects in 2014–15 included:
- Earth Hour
- a national 'Transport Challenge', where staff earned points for walking, riding etc. or using public transport to go to and from work over a two week period, as well as for exercising (as an points option encouraging healthy behaviour for those who could not use alternative transport)
- Christmas electronic equipment shutdown drive
- Environmental Champions Network internal online national 'community' for interactive communication between members, and
- an environmental management intranet page provided information on environmental issues for the courts
- regular articles about the courts' environmental status were included in the national internal e-newsletter the Courts Exchange, and
- a courts-specific 'envirosmart' logo was used as branding when promoting environmental initiatives.
Fit outs and refurbishments continued to be conducted in an environmentally responsible manner by:
- recycling demolished materials where possible
- maximising reuse of existing furniture and fittings
- engaging consultants with experience in sustainable development where possible and including environmental performance requirements in relevant contracts
- maximising the use of environmentally friendly products such as recycled content in furniture and fittings, low volatile organic compounds paint and adhesives, and energy efficient appliances, lighting and air conditioning, and
- installing water efficient appliances.
Whilst some travel is unavoidable due to the nature of the courts, staff members are encouraged to consider alternatives if possible, including using videoconferencing facilities.
Review and improvement strategies
As noted in its Environmental Policy under the EMS, the Court is committed to 'continual improvement in environmental performance'. Reviews are periodically conducted of environmental impacts and improvement strategies.
In 2014–15 the Court:
- reviewed its environmental risk register (significant environmental aspects and impacts), and
- collected and reported relevant energy use data under the Energy Efficiency in Government Operations Policy.
Additional ecologically sustainable development implications
In 2014–15, the Court did not administer any legislation with ESD implications nor did it have outcomes specified in an Appropriations Act with ESD implications.
Fraud control certification
In accordance with the Commonwealth Fraud Control Framework 2014, issued by the Minister for Justice, pursuant to Section 10 of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Rule 2014, I hereby certify that I am satisfied that:
- The Family Court and Federal Circuit Court has prepared fraud assessments and has in place a fraud control plan that complies with the Guidelines.
- Appropriate fraud prevention, detection, investigation and reporting procedures and processes are in place.
- Annual fraud data has been collected and reported that complies with the Guidelines.
[Signed in hard copy]
Richard Foster, PSM
Chief Executive Officer
14 August 2015
Table G.1 provides details of the membership and functions of the Federal Circuit Court committees (alphabetical order), at 30 June 2015.
Table G.1: Federal Circuit Court Committees 30 June 2015
|Title||Members||Terms of Reference|
|Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Access to Justice Committee||
||How the Federal Circuit Court can improve access to justice in this Court for Indigenous litigants.|
|Business Systems and Information Technology Committee||
||To provide a forum for the Federal Circuit Court judiciary to review the operations of the Court with respect to business systems and information technology in order to ensure the Court operates as efficiently as is reasonably possible whilst providing a high level of judicial services to litigants.|
|Case Management Judges Committee||
||To assist the Chief Judge and the National Coordinator of Case Management in the case management of the Court and to enhance the adoption of consistent case management practices throughout the Court.|
||To consider and refer recommendations to the Chief Judge on possible rule amendments and wider legal issues concerning the Court's jurisdiction.|
|Policy Advisory Committee||
To provide advice to the Chief Judge in relation to the Court's overall strategies and policies for the delivery of court services.
During the year the committee was augmented by the inclusion of the chairs of the standing committees – Court Excellence, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Access to Justice, Business Systems and Information Technology Committee.
|Research Ethics Subcommittee||
||To consider, monitor and overview all research and evaluation proposals for approval and disseminate research papers/results as necessary.|
Senior Management Committees
Table G.2 provides details of the membership and functions of the senior management committees (alphabetical order), at 30 June 2015.
Table G.2: Senior management committees, 30 June 2015
|Committee||Members||Terms of reference|
|Audit and Risk Committee||
||Monitor and where necessary recommend improvements to:
|Chief Executive Officer's Management Advisory Group||
|National Consultative Committee||
Consultative forum for staff about issues with a national perspective, such as industrial democracy, security, the strategic objectives of the courts, equal employment opportunities, new technology, accommodation and amenities, and personnel and staffing policies and practices.
Delegates present staff views on issues that affect the management and future direction of the courts and provide feedback and briefings to the workplace nationally.
|Work Health and Safety||
The Chief Judge, judges and the Chief Executive Officer participate in a range of consultative and strategic forums including the following:
Family Law Council
The Family Law Council, established by the Attorney-General under section 115 of the Family Law Act 1975, confers with the Court in the course of its consideration of particular aspects of family law. The Court has judges appointed to the council and senior executives as observers at its meetings.
Australian Institute of Family Studies
The Australian Institute of Family Studies was established under section 114B of the Family Law Act and is a forum for exchange of information and research.
Family Law Forum
The Chief Justice of the Family Court chairs the national Family Law Forum, which consists of representatives from the Family Court, Federal Circuit Court, the Family Law Council, the Family Law Section of the Law Council of Australia, National Legal Aid, the Attorney-General's Department, the Department of Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, Child Support, the Australian Institute of Family Studies, non-government organisations and community legal centres.
Local registry consultations and other activities for improved service delivery
Ongoing engagement with local community-based organisations, community forums, law societies, family law pathway networks, volunteer networks, other government agencies, including many at the State level was once again a priority of registries in 2014–15.
Regular consultation also provides registries with feedback about users' experiences of registry services and the courts. This leads to service improvements and ensures that the Court is better placed to assist litigants.
Some of the regional highlights from the year, reported in more detail below, include:
- Melbourne registry continued regular liaison with the family law section of the Law Institute of Victoria (via the monthly Court Practice Committee), the Family Law Section of the Victorian Bar and with the Victorian Legal Aid Commission via meetings with relevant senior managers. Matters discussed included case management processes, the commencement and collection of new fees, the implementation of the International Court Excellence Framework, and any issues arising with respect to registry services and facilities.
- The collaborative relationship between the federal family law jurisdictions and state child welfare authorities continued and the initiative of co-location of a child protection worker at the Melbourne and Dandenong registry was consolidated. The vision was that working together with the dedicated focus of a specialist senior child protection practitioner, would ensure professional, sensitive and well-targeted responses to children and young people who are at significant risk of harm. This work was steered by a committee comprising the courts, the Victorian Health and Human Services Department and the Victoria Legal Aid. Funding was assigned by the Victorian Department of Human and Health Services and the Federal Attorney-General's Department to evaluate this initiative. That evaluation has been briefed to the Australian Institute of Family Studies who will report in 2015. Anecdotal reports from judges, the Victorian Department and the registries is that this initiative is achieving the objective of ensuring exchange of relevant and timely information so that arrangements can be made to protect children at risk.
- Melbourne Registry continued significant support of Victoria Pathways including helping with the design of events. The Victorian Regional Coordinator for Child Dispute Services is central to this support of Pathways.
- Dandenong registry hosted quarterly meetings of the registrar and the three agencies providing free legal advice at the registry. The purpose of the meetings is to exchange information about process changes and registry practices, particularly as they relate to self-represented litigants.
- As part of the collaborative relationship with the Department of Health and Human Services (Victoria), the Dandenong Registry Manager facilitated and improved the exchange of information between the registry and the local region of the Victorian Department. Several meetings were held during the year between Dandenong judges, senior registry staff and senior staff of the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services, including the part time co-located child protection liaison officer, in order to foster cooperation and understanding. Judge Phipps of the Federal Circuit Court spoke to a gathering of over fifty child protection workers at the local Department of Health and Human Services office to help 'demystify' the work of the Court.
- Dandenong registry continued to chair quarterly meetings of community based legal practitioners, local Family Relationship Centres, Victorian Family Pathways Network and other community based dispute resolution services. It is a forum of service providers with a common client base, sharing information and discussing family dispute resolution issues and challenges.
- The Brisbane registry has maintained a collaborative approach with the State Magistrates Court in maximising the use of their Justice of the Peace service to the community. Presentations were conducted in October 2014, February and March 2015 to the Justice of the Peace Branch. The presentations focused on the particular requirements for witnessing family law documents and to encourage volunteers to offer time as a Justice of the Peace in the registry.
- The Brisbane continued meetings with the Brisbane Magistrates Court.
- Brisbane registry also held regular meetings with family law practitioners, Legal Aid, Community Legal Centres, the Department of Human Services and Child Support. These meetings provide opportunities for information exchange and building stronger networks across the family law system.
- Consultation with the Australian Federal Police and Queensland Police Service in the lead up to and during 2015 G-20 Antalya summit.
- Ongoing consultation with Queensland Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability prior to and following the implementation of the Notice of Risk.
- Support of court visits and tours by groups from Queensland Relationships Australia for staff on their Relationships Advice Line.
- Judge Coker and Judge Willis hosted a morning tea in Townsville and Cairns for Indigenous leaders under the Federal Circuit Court Reconciliation Action Plan. Both judges addressed the respective groups in relation to Court processes and assistance that can be provided to Indigenous clients. Judge Willis has been instrumental in forming an Indigenous Family Law Pathways Network in Cairns although it is still in the very early stages.
- The Registry Manager, and staff representatives, attended regular meetings with the North Queensland Domestic Violence Resource Service, the Family Law Pathways Network, the Family Relationship Centre (Centacare), and Relationships Australia, as well as ad hoc meetings with the profession and representatives from State Government departments.
- The Family Law Pathways Network hosted the Legal and Community Sector Forum at the Family Court and Federal Circuit Court Townsville on 16 December 2015.
- Presentations made to Justice of the Peace's and Commissioners for declarations at the invitation of the Justice of the Peace Branch.
- The Registrar conducted presentations to the profession on urgent applications and preparing for financial conferences.
NEW SOUTH WALES
Key collaborative engagements continued in 2014–15 with the following services being delivered in the Sydney registry:
- expanded Legal Aid Family Law Duty Service
- Legal Aid NSW Court Ordered Mediation Program
- Information and Referral Service (provided by the Sydney City Family Relationship Centre), and, and Women's Family Law Support Service
- continuing Legal Education seminars were held approximately every two months for members of the profession
- the Regional Registry Manager and Principal Registrar met with the NSW Department of Families and Community Services to work through issues relating to the introduction of the Notice of Risk
- the Personal Histories Pilot in the Federal Circuit Court that has been operating in Parramatta and Newcastle was expanded into Sydney in May 2014. The results to date have been positive, and
- a Child Dispute Services representative continued to attend meetings of the Greater Sydney Families in Transition Group (Pathways).
- The Early Intervention Unit (EIU) duty solicitor scheme continues with two/three full time solicitors onsite. EIU services are delivered to increase access to earlier, expert legal assistance for self-represented individuals seeking legal help, assist clients to take timely and appropriate action to progress or resolve their family law matters efficiently and effectively; and improve the efficiency of the courts by reducing the impact of self-represented litigants on the workload of registry staff and the court process. Significant numbers of matters were settled at mediation, which otherwise would have been listed before a judicial officer.
- The Court Ordered Mediation Program (COMP), which began as a pilot at Parramatta Registry in 2011, continues to operate with one permanent full-time equivalent Legal Aid mediator onsite. Parties in children's matters may be referred (or ordered) to COMP at any stage of the litigation process if there is a connection to Legal Aid NSW (i.e. at least one party has Legal Aid funding or if an Independent Children's Lawyer has been appointed in the matter). COMP has resulted in full or partial settlement for a majority of matters, saving a significant number of court days and legal aid funded days.
- Family consultants attended a national Independent Children's Lawyer training program, a three day event held in July–August 2014, hosted by Legal Aid NSW.
- A pilot commenced in January 2015 for a permanent Aboriginal Legal Service Solicitor available daily from 9am–1pm to deal with parenting matters.
- The Family Law Settlement Service (FLSS) is a joint initiative of the courts, the NSW Bar Association and the Law Society of NSW. FLSS assists with financial/property matters, usually at the post conciliation conference and pre-final hearing stage of proceedings. The NSW Law Society has met with Parramatta judicial officers and the Parramatta legal profession to explain the FLSS process. The FLSS settlement rate has also positively contributed to a material saving of court days.
- Staff continued to provide a significant number of briefings to secondary, TAFE and university students.
- Through the Reconciliation Action Plan, a number of Aboriginal Elders and local Aboriginal community representatives attended a significant Reconciliation Action Plan morning event. At this event there were reconciliation speeches and a detailed explanation of the role of the courts in family law matters.
- Parramatta registry personnel, including the Federal Circuit Court Case Management Judge, the Family Court Case Management Judge, other judicial officers, and the registry management team, met regularly with members of the legal profession. These meetings provide a current local registry overview, followed by a continuing legal education topic, including: Family Law and tax implications and Binding Financial Agreements.
- Parramatta registrars and family consultants attended a Greater Sydney Family Law Pathways (GSFLP) education and networking event at which keynote speakers addressed dealing with the views and rights of children. The Parramatta Senior Family Consultant (or a delegate) has attended GSFLP Steering Group meetings when these have been held at Parramatta. Parramatta Family Consultants have attended the local Parramatta interagency events held by GSFLP.
- A Parramatta Registrar, whose first language is Vietnamese, attended as guest speaker at a NSW Vietnamese Women's Association seminar (in partnership with Liverpool Multicultural Health Service) on the subject of 'Improving the Well Being of Vietnamese Seniors and Planning Ahead'. This same Registrar was also guest speaker at a Vietnamese community conference 'Law in your daily life' on the subject of Family Law. Finally, representatives from NSW Health programs, (Transcultural Mental Health Service and Multicultural Problem Gambling Service) have spoken at a Parramatta Child Dispute Services Team Meeting.
- The Parramatta Senior Family Consultant attended a 'Forced Marriage Workshop', convened by the Federal Attorney-General's Department, and was invited to be the keynote speaker at the opening of the new premises for Blacktown Children's Contact Centre.
- The Parramatta Senior Family Consultant continues to facilitate Family Relationship Centre attendance at court, as part of Family Relationship Centre training and familiarisation.
- Staff from the Child Dispute Services team attended the monthly Greater Newcastle Family Law Pathways Network (FLPN) meetings. The judiciary presented at FLPN events on Indigenous issues and at the annual FLPN conference on 'Mental Health and Family Law'. Child Dispute Services staff also presented at two conferences in the areas of drug and alcohol and mental health issues.
- Judicial officers and staff held quarterly meeting with members of the legal profession.
- Judicial officers and registrars attended the annual conference of the Hunter Valley Family Law Practitioners Association.
- Regular lunchtime seminars were held for members of the legal profession, with judges, lawyers and special guest speakers presenting on topics such as:
- Commonwealth Courts Portal
- Family and Community Services intervention in court proceedings
- divorce applications
- Section 106B and transactions to defeat claims
- dealing with self-represented litigants
- caveats and caveatable interests, and
- parents and children with mental health issues
- The registry hosted visits from students from the University of Newcastle as part of their family law training program, as well as high school students conducting mock trials.
- The management team engaged with the local legal profession to work through administrative issues, while the Child Dispute Services representative attended local Pathways meetings.
- The Dubbo Family Consultant provided an overview and orientation of the registry for new Family Dispute Resolution Practitioners from the Dubbo Family Relationship Centre.
- The family consultant continued to chair the NSW Central West Family Law Pathways Network (FLPN). This group provides a bi-monthly forum for family law professionals in the NSW Central West region, with the forum being held between Dubbo and Bathurst. The FLPN held three training events in the NSW Central West for legal practitioners and family dispute resolution practitioners during the financial year.
AUSTRALIAN CAPITAL TERRITORY
- The senior family consultant is a member of the steering committee of ACT Pathways. ACT Pathways meets regularly to plan and develop strategies for seamless referrals for clients between the various family law service providers in the ACT. The group also undertakes educative activities about family issues.
- The senior family consultant is a committee member of the Australian Association for Infant Mental Health Incorporated for the Canberra region. The group meets monthly to discuss raising awareness of the importance of psycho-social development in infancy through education, advocacy, research and professional networking.
During 2014–15 the registry has been active in promoting electronic filing with practitioners and self-represented clients. Staff have undertaken further training to enable them to assist clients in accessing the Commonwealth Courts Portal. The registry has also implemented a practice for providing information and procedural advice via email for those clients with access to email facilities.
Other activities in South Australia included:
- continued involvement with stakeholder and community groups, including Pathways, Family Relationship Centres, Children's Contact Services, Family Law Practitioners, Grandparents for Grandchildren Inc., law students from the Adelaide University, University of South Australia and the South Australian Police call centre staff training
- coordinated the involvement of university students to assist with the collection of survey data for the Family Law User Satisfaction Survey
- hosting the Australian Advocacy Institute advocacy skills training workshop
- hosting a visit from Ms Silvia Atiola, Parliamentary Research Officer from the Legislative Assembly of Tonga. The purpose of the visit was to explore access to justice for women escaping family violence and to see what could be implemented in Tonga
- attendance at the Forced Marriage Workshop, Adelaide, 18 May 2015
- continued quarterly meetings with representatives from the legal profession and Families SA
- convened a meeting of the Adelaide Reconciliation Action Plan Committee to identify the local community's priorities within the action plan and to establish an ongoing consultative process with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations and community members
- attendance at Reconciliation Week events, 27 May–3 June 2014
- jointly convened a National Aboriginal and Islander Day Observance Committee (NAIDOC) Week planning committee with the Family Court, Federal Circuit Court and South Australian State Courts, and
- initiated discussions with SA Police in relation to child hand-overs at metropolitan police stations.
- Darwin registry continued their active involvement with a range of stakeholder groups including Pathways, Family Relationships Centre Consortium Group, local Indigenous Group and the legal profession.
- Quarterly meetings with representatives from the legal profession.
- Presentations to 'Start at the Top Family Law Conference' held in Darwin 22–23 January 2015.
- Facilitated the Court User Satisfaction Survey. Coordinated the involvement of university students to assist with the collection of survey data.
- Attendance at the Forced Marriage Workshop.
- Provision of information and procedural advice via email for those clients with access to email.
- The Federal Circuit Court Judge met with the Alice Springs Family Pathways Network and legal practitioners.
- The Tasmania Family Violence Consultative Committee forum is convened biannually and includes members of the community sector, Department of Justice (Safe at Home), Department of Health and Human Services and Tasmania Police and senior staff of the Federal Circuit Court and Family Court. The forum is convened by the courts' Senior Family Consultant Antonia Dunne and is arranged in Hobart with video link to Launceston. Discussion points have included the courts' safety plan process, user satisfaction survey results in relation to interviewee's feeling of safety when attending court, Professor Chisholm's report 'The Sharing of Experts' Reports between the Child Protection System and the Family Law System', the courts' Family Violence Plan, family violence training modules and professional development for family consultants and the family violence screening tool pilot.
- Andrew Weidman, Registrar in Tasmania, convenes and chairs quarterly meetings between the courts, Child Protection and Legal Aid Commission Tasmania to raise new developments, discuss stakeholder concerns and review the informal protocol between the courts and Child Protection.
- The Registrar also delivered a lecture to family law students at the University of Tasmania Law School on conciliation conferences chaired by registrars in financial matters and Family Consultants have presented to the Tasmanian Young Lawyers Group.
- The Tasmanian registries actively support both the southern, northern and north west family law pathways groups.
Acronyms used in Appendix I
AAWJ Australian Association of Women Judges
AFCC Association of Family and Conciliation Courts
AIJA Australian Institute of Judicial Administration
CCH Commerce Clearing House
CLE Continuing Learning Education
FLPA Family Law Practitioners Association
IAWJ International Association of Women Judges
IARLJ International Association of Refugee Law Judges
QLS Queensland Law Society
QPILCH Queensland Public Interest Law Clearing House Incorporated
|Judge||Conferences, presentations, papers and other activities to external organisations|
John Pascoe AO CVO
|Judge Baumann AM||Presentations
|Judge Brewster||Professional Memberships
|Judge Scarlett||Professional Memberships
|Judge Driver||Professional Memberships
|Judge Roberts||Professional Memberships
|Judge Jarrett||Professional Memberships
|Judge Riethmuller||Professional Memberships
|Judge Sexton||Professional Memberships
|Judge Lapthorn||Professional Memberships
|Judge Henderson||Professional Memberships
|Judge Hughes||Professional Memberships
|Judge Burchardt||Professional Memberships
|Judge Halligan||Professional Memberships
|Judge Lucev||Professional Memberships
|Judge Cameron||Professional Memberships
|Judge Altobelli||Professional Memberships
|Judge Coates||Professional Memberships
|Judge Kelly||Professional Memberships
Other External Activity
|Judge Simpson||Professional Memberships
|Judge Howard||Professional Memberships
|Judge Purdon-Sully||Professional Memberships
|Judge Bender||Professional Memberships
|Judge Demack||Professional Memberships
|Judge Dunkley||Professional Memberships
|Judge Baker||Professional Memberships
Other external activities
|Judge Monahan||Professional Membership
|Judge Cole||Professional Memberships
|Judge Willis||Professional Memberships
|Judge Whelan||Professional Memberships
|Judge Harman||Professional Memberships
|Judge Myers||Professional Memberships
|Judge Curtain||Professional Memberships
Other external activities
|Judge Harland||Professional Memberships
|Judge Small||Professional Memberships
|Judge Manousaridis||Professional Memberships
|Judge Vasta||Professional Memberships
|Judge Smith||Professional Memberships
AUSTRALIAN CAPITAL TERRITORY
Circuits to Wagga Wagga
NEW SOUTH WALES
PARRAMATTA, NEWCASTLE, SYDNEY
Circuits to: Albury, Armidale, Coffs Harbour, Dubbo, Orange, Tamworth, Wauchope, Wollongong
Circuits to: Alice Springs
BRISBANE, CAIRNS, TOWNSVILLE
Circuits to: Bundaberg, Hervey Bay, Ipswich, Lismore, Mackay, Maroochydore, Rockhampton, Southport, Toowoomba
Circuits to: Mt Gambier, Broken Hill
Circuits to: Burnie
Circuits to: Ballarat, Bendigo, Cobram, Dandenong, Geelong, Mildura, Morwell, Shepparton, Warrnambool
|Family law registries|
|National Enquiry Centre|
1300 352 000
Contact the National Relay Service on 133 677 or Speak & Listen contact 1300 555 727
+61 2 8892 8590
|Australian Capital Territory|
|Canberra||Nigel Bowen Commonwealth Law Courts Building
Cnr University Avenue and Childers Street, Canberra ACT 2600
|New South Wales|
|Albury||Level 1, 463 Kiewa Street, Albury NSW 2640|
|Dubbo||Cnr Macquarie and Wingewarra Streets, Dubbo NSW 2830|
|Lismore||Westlawn Building, Level 2, 29–31 Molesworth Street, Lismore NSW 2480|
|Newcastle||61 Bolton Street, Newcastle NSW 2300|
|Parramatta||Garfield Barwick Commonwealth Law Courts Building
1–3 George Street, Parramatta NSW 2150
|Sydney||Lionel Bowen Commonwealth Law Courts Building
97–99 Goulburn Street, Sydney NSW 2000
|Wollongong||Level 1, 43 Burelli Street, Wollongong NSW 2500|
|Alice Springs||Westpoint Building, Cnr Railway Terrace and Stott Terrace, Alice Springs NT 0870|
|Darwin||Supreme Court Building, State Square, Darwin NT 0800|
|Brisbane||Harry Gibbs Commonwealth Law Courts Building
Cnr North Quay and Tank Streets,, Brisbane QLD 4000
|Cairns||Commonwealth Government Centre, Level 3
104 Grafton Street, Cairns QLD 4870
|Rockhampton||Virgil Power Building, Ground Floor
46 East Street, Cnr Fitzroy Street, Rockhampton QLD 4700
|Townsville||Level 2, Commonwealth Centre, 143 Walker Street, Townsville QLD 4810|
|Adelaide||Roma Mitchell Commonwealth Law Courts Building
3 Angas Street, Adelaide SA 5000
|Hobart||Edward Braddon Commonwealth Law Courts Building
39–41 Davey Street, Hobart TAS 7000
|Launceston||ANZ Building, Level 3, Cnr Brisbane and George Streets, Launceston TAS 7250|
|Dandenong||53–55 Robinson Street, Dandenong VIC 3175|
|Melbourne||Owen Dixon Commonwealth Law Courts Building
305 William Street, Melbourne VIC 3000
|General federal law registries|
|All enquiries should be directed to the relevant registry, contact details follow.
TTY/Voice calls – Contact the National Relay Service on 133 677 or Speak & Listen contact 1300 555 727
|Australian Capital Territory|
Commonwealth Law Courts Building
Cnr University Avenue and Childers Street
Canberra ACT 2601
|Phone: (02) 6267 0566
Fax: (02) 6267 0625
|New South Wales|
|Sydney||Law Courts Building
Level 17, Queens Square
Sydney NSW 2000
|Phone: (02) 9230 8567
Fax: (02) 9230 8295
|Darwin||Level 3 Supreme Court Building
Darwin NT 0800
|Phone: (08) 8941 2333
Fax: (08) 8941 4941
|Brisbane||Level 6 Harry Gibbs
Commonwealth Law Courts Building
119 North Quay
Brisbane QLD 4000
|Phone: (07) 3248 1100
Fax: (07) 3248 1260
|Adelaide||Level 5 Roma Mitchell
Commonwealth Law Courts Building
3 Angas Street
Adelaide SA 5000
|Phone: (08) 8219 1000
Fax: (08) 8219 1001
Commonwealth Law Courts Building
39–41 Davey Street
Hobart TAS 7000
|Phone: (03) 6232 1715
Fax: (03) 6232 1701
Commonwealth Law Courts Building
305 William Street
Melbourne Vic 3000
|Phone: (03) 8600 3333
Fax: (03) 8600 3351
Commonwealth Law Courts Building
1 Victoria Avenue
Perth WA 6000
|Phone: (08) 9268 7100
Fax: (08) 9224 8360
Chambers of the Chief Judge
Chief Judge John Pascoe AO CVO
GPO Box 9991
Sydney NSW 2000
Phone: (02) 9217 7261
Fax: (02) 9217 7272
Office of the Chief Executive Officer
Mr Richard Foster PSM
GPO Box 9991
Canberra ACT 2601
Phone: (02) 6243 8725
Fax: (02) 6243 8737
National Enquiry Centre
The National Enquiry Centre (NEC) is the entry point for all telephone and email enquiries on Family Law (Federal Circuit Court and Family Court) matters. The NEC provides information and procedural advice, forms and brochures, and referrals to community and support services. NEC staff cannot provide legal advice.
Opening Hours: 8.30am to 5.00pm Monday to Friday
Phone: 1300 352 000
International: +61 2 8892 8590
Postal Address: PO Box 9991, Parramatta NSW 2124
TTY/voice calls: Contact the National Relay Service on 133 677 or for Speak and Listen calls contact 1300 555 727
Commonwealth Courts Portal – www.comcourts.gov.au
General Federal Law enquiries – firstname.lastname@example.org
Family Law enquiries – email@example.com
Commonwealth Courts Portal – firstname.lastname@example.org
Communication enquiries – email@example.com
YouTube – www.youtube.com/user/federalcircuitcourt