ISSN: 1035–9060 (print version)

ISSN: 2203–1863 (online version)

© Commonwealth of Australia 2014

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Enquiries

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

National Communication
Family Court and Federal Circuit Court
GPO Box 9991
CANBERRA ACT 2601
Ph: +61 2 6243 8690
Fax: +61 2 6243 8737
Email:  communication@familylawcourts.gov.au

Alternative formats

This annual report is available electronically at:

http://www.familycourt.gov.au/wps/wcm/connect/fcoaweb/reports-and-publications/annual-reports/

The online version contains links to the 2013–14 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:

Design and typesetting: Papercut Graphic Design

Printing: CanPrint Communications

Two-dimensional code

This annual report is printed on Monza Recycled Satin Artboard (cover) and Monza Recycled Satin (inside pages).

Monza Recycled is Certified Carbon Neutral by The Carbon Reduction Institute (CRI) in accordance with the global Greenhouse Gas Protocol and ISO 14040 framework. Monza Recycled contains 55% recycled fibre, and 45% elemental chlorine free pulp. All virgin pulp is derived from well-managed forests and controlled sources. Monza Recycled is manufactured by an ISO 14001 certified mill.

Certifications

Letter of Transmittal

04 September 2014

Senator the Honourable George Brandis QC
Attorney-General
Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600

Dear Attorney,

I am pleased to present the Annual Report of the operations of the Family Court of Australia for the financial year ending 30 June 2014.

The report is submitted in accordance with section 38S subsections (1) and (3) of the Family Law Act 1975. The Act requires the Family Court to prepare and furnish you with a report of the management of the administrative affairs of the Court during the preceding 12 months.

The report has been prepared in accordance with the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet's Requirements for Annual Reports 2013-14.

This is the Family Court of Australia’s 25th Annual Report.

Yours sincerely,

[Signed in the hard copy]

Diana Bryant AO 
Chief Justice

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 Family Court of Australia in the 2013–14 reporting year. Prepared according to parliamentary reporting requirements, the report outlines the goals stated in the Court's Portfolio Budget Statements and relates them to the results achieved during the year.

PART 1: The year in review—the Chief Justice's overview highlighting significant issues and initiatives the Court has undertaken during the reporting year.

PART 2: Overview of the Court—information about the Court, including its role, functions, powers, governance, organisational structure, initiatives, planning and international cooperation.

PART 3: Report on performance—how the Court performed during the period against the above outcome and related program. The performance reports are based on the outcome and program framework and performance information in the 2013–14 Portfolio Budget Statements and the Portfolio Additional Estimates Statements 2013–14 for the Attorney-General's portfolio.

PART 4: Appeals—information about the Appeal Division, trends in appeals and appeals to the High Court.

PART 5: Significant and noteworthy judgments—summaries of some of the important Full Court decisions made during 2013–14.

PART 6: Management and accountability—information on corporate governance, external scrutiny, human resource management, financial management, purchasing, consultants and contract management, legal services, assets management and other activities relevant to the general administration of the Court.

PART 7: Financial statements for the year ending 30 June 2014—the audited financial statements for 2013–14.

PART 8: Appendices—the resource statement, resources for outcomes, staffing profile, work health and safety, advertising and market research, ecologically sustainable development and environmental performance, grant programs, committees, external involvement, judicial activities, international visitors and contact details.

PART 9: Index and list of requirements

The following should assist readers to locate information in the annual report and to understand court-specific language:

  • Acronyms, abbreviations and a glossary of court-specific terminology
  • List of requirements
  • Alphabetical index

An electronic version of this annual report is available from the Family Court of Australia's website (www.familycourt.gov.au) at this link: http://www.familycourt.gov.au/wps/wcm/connect/fcoaweb/reports-and-publications/annual-reports/

Acronyms and Abbreviations

AAT Administrative Appeals Tribunal

AFCC Association of Family and Conciliation Courts

AGD Australian Government Attorney-General's Department

AGIMO Australian Government Information Management Office

AHS After Hours Service

AM Member of the Order of Australia

ANAO Australian National Audit Office

AO Officer of the Order of Australia

APS Australian Public Service

ASL Average Staffing Level

ASPIRE Appreciating Strong Performance and Innovation by Recognising Employees

ATSI Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander

AUSTLII Australasian Legal Information Institute

AWA Australian Workplace Agreement

BSDO Business Systems Development Officer

CCP Commonwealth Courts Portal

CDS Child Dispute Services

CEI Chief Executive Instruction

CEO Chief Executive Officer

CJ Chief Justice

CLC Commonwealth Law Courts

CMAG Chief Executive Officer's Management Advisory Group

CPSU Commonwealth and Public Sector Union

CSD Corporate Services Division

CSO Client Service Officer

CSSMG Client Services Senior Managers Group

Cth Commonwealth

DCJ Deputy Chief Justice

DHS Department of Human Services

DVD digital video disc

ECN Environmental Champions Network

ECONET Ethics Contact Officer Network

EL Executive Level of the Australian Public Service

EMS environmental management system

ESD ecologically sustainable development

FAIM Fellow of the Australian Institute of Management

FC Family Consultant

FCC Federal Circuit Court of Australia

FLC Family Law Court

FLIS Family Law Information Service

FMA Act Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997

FOI freedom of information

FRAL Family Relationship Advice Line

FRC Family Relationship Centre

GAEN Government Agency Environmental Network

GST goods and services tax

HR Human Resources

HSMAs (Work) Health and safety management arrangements

ICT information and communications technology

IP Internet Protocol

IPS information publication scheme

IT information technology

IVR interactive voice recognition

J judge

KPI Key Performance Indictor

MA The Supreme Court of Indonesia (Mahkamah Agung)

MOU Memorandum of Understanding

NEC National Enquiry Centre

NSO National Support Office

PAC Chief Justice's Policy Advisory Committee

PBS Portfolio Budget Statements

PMDS Performance Management and Development System

PSM Public Service Medal

SDC Staff Development Committee

SES Senior Executive Service of the Australian Public Service

SOE standard operating environment

VOC volatile organic compounds

WCAG Web Content Accessibility Guidelines

WHS work health and safety

WHSC Work Health and Safety Committee

YEAG Young Employees Advisory Group

Glossary of court-specific terms

Casetrack—Casetrack is the case management system used by the Family Court, including the Appeal Division, and the Federal Circuit Court of Australia.

Child dispute services—the family consultant services of the Family Law Courts. Family consultants are court experts who specialise in child and family issues after separation and divorce. They provide the courts and families with expert advice regarding children's best interests; help parties resolve their dispute where possible; write and produce family reports; and advise the courts and families about the services provided to families and children by government, community and other agencies.

The Court—means the Family Court of Australia.

The courts—means the Family Court of Australia and the Federal Circuit Court of Australia.

Family consultant—a psychologist and/or social worker who specialises in child and family issues that may occur after separation and divorce.

Family Law Courts—comprise the Family Court of Australia and the Federal Circuit Court of Australia.

Family law registry—a public area at a Family Law Court where people can obtain information about the courts and their processes and where parties file documents in relation to their case.

Interim proceedings—proceedings for orders pending a final determination of the issues in dispute.

Interlocutory proceedings—proceedings taken during the course of, and incidental to, a trial.

Magellan—cases that come to the Family Court that involve allegations of sexual abuse and/or serious physical abuse of a child go into the Court's Magellan program.

Registrar—a court lawyer who has been delegated power to perform certain tasks; for example, grant divorces, sign consent orders and decide the next step in a case.

Registry—how the courts' offices are known. For example, the Melbourne registry is in the Commonwealth Law Courts building on William Street.

Reserved judgments delivery time—the time between the hearing and the delivery of the judgment concerned.

Rules—a set of directions that outlines court procedures and guidelines. The rules of the Family Court of Australia are the Family Law Rules 2004 and the rules of the Federal Circuit Court of Australia are the Federal Circuit Court Rules 2001.