- Appendix 1: Agency Resource Statement
- Appendix 2: Expenses and Resources for Outcome 1
- Appendix 3: Staffing profile
- Appendix 4: Work health and safety
- Appendix 5: Advertising and market research
- Appendix 6: Ecologically sustainable development and environmental performance
- Appendix 7: Grant programs
- Appendix 8: Committees
- Appendix 9: External involvement
- Appendix 10: Judicial activities
- Appendix 11: International visitors
- Appendix 12: Contact details
Appendix 1: Agency Resource Statement 2013–14
Table 8.1 Agency Resource Statement 2013–14
|Actual available appropriation
|Ordinary annual services1|
|Total ordinary annual services||192,863||170,164||22,699|
|Total special accounts||–||–||–|
|Total net resourcing for agency||192,863||170,164||22,699|
1 Appropriation Act (No.1) 2013–14 and Appropriation Act (No.3) 2013–14. This also includes Prior Year Departmental appropriation and section 31 relevant agency receipts.
2 Includes an amount of $8.358m in 2013–14 for the Departmental Capital Budget. For accounting purposes this amount has been designated as 'contributions by owners'.
3 Includes $181.778m in Appropriation (Appropriation Bill No. 1 & 3) and $3.271m in Section 31 Receipts per Note 25 Table A of the Financial Statements, and $6.940m in Cash (Cash and Cash equivalents at the beginning of the reporting period) per Cash Flow Statement.
4 Unspent Departmental Annual Appropriation per Note 25 Table C of the Financial Statements.
5 Administered Appropriation per Note 25 Table A of the Financial Statements.
6 Administered Appropriation reduced per Note 25E of the Financial Statements in accordance with Section 11 of Appropriation Act No.1 2013–14.
7 Does not include 'Special Public Money' held in Other Trust Monies Account (OTM).
Appendix 2: Expenses and resources for Outcome 1
Table 8.2 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)||874||1892||685|
|Expenses not requiring appropriation in the Budget year||300||9153||-615|
|Departmental Appropriation (Appropriation Bill No. 1 & No. 3)4||154,383||155,213||-830|
|Expenses not requiring appropriation in the Budget year5||49,161||50,167||-1006|
|Total expenses for Outcome 1||204,718||206,484||-1766|
|Average Staffing Level (number)||782||786|
1 Full year budget, including any subsequent adjustment made to the 2013–14 Budget per 2013–14 Estimated Actual expenses in Table 2.1 of the 2014–15 Attorney General's Portfolio Budget Statements page 317.
2 Administered Expenses (Services Rendered) Per Note 18A of the Financial Statements.
3 Includes write down and impairment of assets, and refunds of fees per Note 18B and 18C of the Financial Statements.
4 Departmental Appropriation combines 'Ordinary annual services (Appropriation Bill No.1 and No.3) and 'Revenue from independent sources (s31)'.
5 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).
Appendix 3: Staffing profile
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 2014, the agency had a total workforce of 767 employees that either support a specific court e.g. direct judicial support to a Family Court Justice or a Federal Circuit Court Judge, or provide shared services e.g. registrars, family consultants, registry services and corporate services.
Of the agency's 767 employees:
- 200 (26.08 per cent) were male and 567 (73.92 per cent) were female.
- 628 (81.88 per cent) were ongoing employees and 139 (18.12 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.
8.3 Staff by location
Note: Actual occupancy at 30 June 2014 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
CJ – Office of the Chief Justice
NSO – National Support Office
Table 8.4 Staff by gender
Table 8.5 Staff by attendance status
|APS 1||Part Time||1||1|
|APS 2||Full Time||2||2||11||12||3||12||42|
|APS 3||Full Time||5||6||49||4||29||12||6||27||138|
|APS 4||Full Time||5||9||47||27||10||3||26||1||128|
|APS 5||Full Time||3||19||35||2||22||9||5||28||1||124|
|APS 6||Full Time||2||22||5||1||2||4||36|
|EL 1||Full Time||2||30||23||12||5||2||15||89|
|EL 2||Full Time||1||15||16||9||3||1||9||54|
|SES 1||Full Time||2||1||1||2||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 8.6 Ongoing staff by location and classification
Table 8.7 Non-ongoing staff by location and classification
At 30 June 2014, there were 33 judges, including the Chief Justice; 16 female and 17 male.
Table 8.8 Total number of judges, 30 June 2014
|New South Wales||13|
|Victoria||1 Chief Justice|
|Australian Capital Territory||1 Deputy Chief Justice|
During 2013–14, 88 employees left the agency (47 were non-ongoing, 41 were ongoing employees), being an annual turnover rate of 11.5 per cent against total employee numbers (767) at 30 June 2014.
Table 8.9 Workforce turnover
|Non-ongoing employees – 5.43%||Dismissed||5|
|Retirement age over 65||3|
|Total non-ongoing employees||47|
|Ongoing employees – 4.63%||Dismissed||1|
|Ill health / invalidity||2|
|Inter department transfer||7|
|Retirement age under 60||3|
|Retirement age 60–65||2|
|Retirement age over 65||1|
|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 2013–14. 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 2014, 735* Family Court and Federal Circuit Court employees were covered by the Enterprise Agreement.
Table 8.10 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 2014, 27 employees had enforceable AWAs in place.
In some limited cases, the Family Court and Federal Circuit Court has used individual flexibility arrangements, common law contracts and determination 24 instruments pursuant to the Public Service Act 1999 to build upon existing AWA arrangements.
Table 8.11 Employees covered by other agreements
|Australian Workplace Agreements||Individual Flexibility Arrangements||Common law contracts||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, 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 2013–14.
Table 8.12 AWA minimum and maximum salary ranges by classification
|Classification||Salary Range ($)|
|APS 2||59,311 – 59,311|
|APS 5||84,754 – 84,754|
|APS 6||82,194 – 82,194|
|EL 1||102,137 – 130,000|
|EL 2||130,087 – 188,665|
|SES 1||175,495 – 199,092|
|SES 2||209,650 – 215,237|
Table 8.13 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
* Excludes casual employees.
Appendix 4: Work health and safety
Work health and safety
Maintaining the health and safety of staff and all those who use the Court's premises is integral to the values and business of the Court. The Court is committed to:
- a continuous improvement approach to comply with the Work Health and Safety Act 2011
- maintaining a healthy and safe workplace
- preventing injuries by managing risk, including identifying and mitigating workplace hazards to health and safety, and
- making good work health and safety practice part of business as usual for all managers and staff.
During 2013–14 the Court continued to work to achieve this through:
- actively preventing work-related injury and illness via regular workplace checks and inspections
- providing access to information, training, professional support and advice on workplace health and safety (WHS) issues, via the Court's intranet, training programs, e-learning and induction
- consulting with staff and their representatives on the development and variation of health and safety management arrangements
- advising managers and staff of their WHS responsibilities, and
- ensuring health and safety representatives have the time and resources to reasonably perform their roles.
The Court recognises that effective health and safety management reduces the social and financial costs of occupational injury and illness.
Specific initiatives taken by the Court during 2013–14 to ensure the health, safety and welfare of staff included:
- advising all management and staff of their legislated obligations, accountability, consultative requirements, communication and leadership responsibilities in relation to health and safety
- providing all registry and business unit managers with resources for early intervention including roles and responsibilities, and
- national recording and systems management of WH&S throughout the courts, managed through the National Workplace Health and Safety Committee.
Ongoing wellbeing initiatives included:
- ergonomic assessments of workstations, provision of ergonomic furniture, access to a free employee assistance program, annual influenza vaccinations, access to peer support officers, first aid officers and harassment contact officers were all provided for the Court's employees on an ongoing basis, and
- the Court's local work health and safety committees continued to meet throughout 2013–14. None of the Court's locations reported work health and safety audits requiring serious investigations during the year.
Workers' compensation and early intervention management
Continuing education, early intervention and strong recording mechanisms ensured claims were kept to a minimum. The Court continued to proactively manage its workers compensation cases, which has contributed to reducing the total future costs of all such claims.
The costs of claims have decreased in 2013–14, however careful attention will need to be given to the number of claims for psychological injury and duration of time off work.
Proactive management has continued to be reflected in the premium rates.
The Rehabilitation Management System (RMS) which outlines the framework, has now been implemented for effectively managing early intervention and claims processes and is aiding effectively in managing the incidence and severity of compensable and non-compensable injury and illness. The Court's aim is to assist employees to return to work as soon as possible.
Table 8.14 Comcare premium rates, 2010–11 to 2014–15
|Latest premium rates||1.25%||1.12%||1.18%||0.88%||1.11%|
|All agencies combined premium rates||1.20%||1.41%||1.77%||1.81%||2.12%|
Appendix 5: Advertising and market research
Under sections 311A of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918, the courts are required to disclose particulars of payments of $12,400 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 $34,659 during the 2013–14 financial year in advertising and market research, comprising mainly payments to media advertising organisations for recruitment notices, with $17,189 (GST inclusive) being paid to the Australian Public Service Commission for an annual subscription to APS Jobs.
During 2013–14, the Family Court and Federal Circuit Court did not conduct any market research or advertising campaigns.
Appendix 6: Ecologically sustainable development and environmental performance
- Estimated savings of $45,000 were made in 2013–14 under energy supply contracts negotiated in recent years.
- Paper usage reduced to below 2011–12 levels.
The following information is provided in accordance with Section 516A of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation 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 2013–14.
Impacts on the environment
The Court impacts on the environment in a number of areas, primarily in the consumption of resources. Table 8.15 lists environmental impact/usage data where available.
Table 8.15 Family Court and Federal Circuit Court environmental impact/usage data, 2011–12 to 2013–14
|Energy usage privately leased sites (stationary)||*||*||Data not available until October 2014|
|Paper usage (office paper)||24,165 reams||27,181 reams||23,964 reams|
|Transport vehicles— energy usage||5839 GJ||6035 GJ||Data not available until October 2014|
|Transport Flights (estimated)||3,452,811 kms||3,101,516 kms||3,461,665 kms|
|975 tonnes CO2||860 tonnes CO2||962 tonnes CO2|
* As a result of the re-classification of the Commonwealth Law Courts (CLCs) as Special Purpose buildings in 2012 and the associated changes to building management**, the courts no longer report energy and water usage for the CLC buildings. Therefore previous years' energy data is not comparable and has been removed.
** Historically, energy and water for the CLCs has been apportioned between the multiple jurisdictions occupying the buildings on an estimated percentage basis because there are no separate water or energy meters for each jurisdiction. In 2012, the CLCs were reclassified by the Department of Finance and Deregulation (DoFD) as Special Purpose Properties (SPPs) with DoFD responsible for the management of approximately 90% of the buildings. From that time, energy and water data has not been made available to the Court and is reported by DoFD.
Measures to minimise the Court's environmental impact
Environmental Management System
The Environmental Management System (EMS) has many of the key elements now in place. This includes:
- 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 2013–14, the Court worked within its EMS to minimise its environmental impact through a number of specific measures, either new or continuing.
- annual stationary energy use has continued to reduce, with a further reduction in 2013–14 as noted in Table 8.15. Electricity contracts continued to be reviewed to ensure value for money. Energy supply contracts negotiated in recent years resulted in estimated savings of $45,000 during 2013–14, 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 implemented in 2012, staff continued to be encouraged to shut down their desktops at the end of the day prior to the auto shutdown start time 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.
- a reduction in paper usage of over 3000 reams was achieved in 2013–14 (compared to 2012–13) taking usage to below 2011–12 levels
- 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 were encouraged to use the online portal system, and staff were 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 15 sites, and
- most printers were set to default double sided printing and monochrome.
- work commenced on national cleaning tenders for both the CLCs and many of the privately leased registries, with the new contracts scheduled to commence in 2014–15. The Statement of Requirements for both of the cleaning tenders included provision for recycling
- waste recycling (commingled recycling) for plastics, metal, cardboard etc. was available at six sites
- printer toner cartridges were 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
- as noted previously, secure paper recycling was available at all sites, and non-secure paper recycling was available at 15 sites, and
- light globes were recycled for all sites.
- the court's Environmental Champions Network (ECN) continued to offer the opportunity for staff to provide their input to environmental matters for the courts. The volunteer membership has increased from five members in 2010 to 19 members representing 13 sites nationally in 2013–14. Projects in 2013–14 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
- Christmas electronic equipment shutdown drive
- ECN 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 internal e-newsletter the Courts Exchange
- a courts-specific 'envirosmart' logo was used as branding when promoting environmental initiatives, and
- the Court continued to be represented as members on the (federal) Government Agency Environmental Network (GAEN); an interagency network facilitating the sharing of best practice environmental information. Its membership included approximately 30 agencies.
Fitouts and refurbishments continued to be conducted in an environmentally responsible manner including by:
- recycling demolished materials where possible
- maximising reuse of existing furniture and fittings
- engaging consultants with experience in sustainable development where possible
- maximising the use of environmentally friendly products such as recycled content in furniture and fittings, low VOC (volatile organic compounds) paint and adhesives, and energy efficient appliances, lighting and air conditioning, and
- installing water efficient appliances.
Whilst some travel is unavoidable, staff are encouraged to consider alternatives if possible, including using improved videoconferencing facilities.
Review and improvement strategies
As is 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 via a number of means. In 2013–14 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 (EEGO) Policy.
Additional ESD implications
In 2013–14, the Court did not administer any legislation with ESD implications, nor did it have outcomes specified in an Appropriations Act with ESD implications.
Appendix 7: Grant programs
The Family Court and Federal Circuit Court made no grant payments during 2013–14.
Appendix 8: Committees
Table 8.16 Judicial committees, 30 June 2014
|Title||Chair||Members||Terms of reference|
|Chief Justice's Policy Advisory||Chief Justice Bryant||
||To support the Chief Justice in the administration of the Court and provide her with advice on strategy and policy|
|Access to Justice
(comprising the Cultural Diversity, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and Unrepresented Litigants Committees)
|Deputy Chief Justice Faulks||
||To oversee the Court's cultural diversity plan and provide advice to the Chief Justice and Chief Executive Officer on cultural diversity issues, special needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and unrepresented litigants|
|Principal, Child Dispute Services
||To ascertain what, if any, further work needs to be undertaken with respect to the involvement of children in parenting cases and assess whether children feel their voices have been heard in proceedings that addressed their living arrangements|
||To identify and describe the agreed statistical and management information needs of the Family Court and Federal Circuit Court at all levels|
||To complete the implementation of the courts' Family Violence Strategy and provide advice to the Chief Justice, Chief Judge and Chief Executive Officer on family violence issues|
|Phil Hocking (Chief Information Officer)||
||To provide direction to the courts about new areas of IT development, investment and investigation by providing high level advice and making recommendations to each jurisdiction's policy advisory group about IT support needs for judicial officers within the courts|
|Judicial Development||Justice Ainslie-Wallace||
||To develop, implement and oversight judicial education in the courts|
|Judicial Finance||Deputy Chief Justice Faulks||
||To provide judicial input to the Family Court's annual budget and to provide an information point for judges|
|Judicial Remuneration||Justice Austin||
||To prepare submissions to annual and other reviews by the Remuneration Tribunal, to liaise with the Chair of the FCA Remuneration Committee and to meet with the Tribunal and the Chief Justice from time to time|
|Law Reform||Justice Strickland||
||To consider and comment upon proposed legislation and law reform proposals and to participate in inquiries, investigations and consultations as required|
||To exchange information about support for Magellan, report to the Chief Justice on its operation, liaise with child welfare and police departments on the evaluation of Magellan and ensure that cases involving allegations of child sexual or serious physical abuse are dealt with as effectively and efficiently as possible|
||To plan and assess the current and future needs of the courts in relation to property services including contracting, refurbishment and construction activity|
|Research and Ethics
||To consider, monitor and overview all research and evaluation proposals (internal or external) for approval and disseminate research papers/results as necessary|
||To consider all necessary or proposed rule changes. Section 123 of the Family Law Act 1975 provides that a majority of judges may make rules of court in relation to practices and procedures to be followed in the Family Court|
|International Framework for Court Excellence||Justice Murphy||
||To provide advice to the Chief Justice on the implementation of the International Framework for Court Excellence in the Family Court of Australia|
Senior management committees
Table 8.17 Senior management governance committees, 30 June 2014
|Title||Chair||Members||Terms of reference|
|Chief Executive Officer's Management Advisory Group||Chief Executive Officer Family Court and Federal Circuit Court
||To provide operational and policy advice to the Chief Executive Officer regarding key areas that are likely to be affected by the integration of the administrations of the Family Court and the Federal Circuit Court|
|Audit and Risk Committee||Chris Doogan AM
||Monitor and where necessary recommend improvements to:
|National Consultative||Chief Executive Officer's representative Director Human Resources (Claire Golding)||Members are selected by vote and represent:
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
|Staff Development||Director Human Resources (Claire Golding)||
||To identify and/or develop national training and development initiatives, policies and programs|
|Work Health and Safety||Director Human Resources (Claire Golding)||
Appendix 9: External involvement
The Family Court has a number of strategies for strengthening its partnerships with clients and other stakeholders within the family law system, such as legal practitioners, non-government organisations and government agencies and departments.
External stakeholders at the strategic level influence, either directly or indirectly, the direction of the family law system within Australia. They include:
- the Attorney-General's Department
- other government departments and agencies
- child welfare authorities
- the Department of Human Services
- legal services commissions and community legal centres
- law societies and the Law Council of Australia
- community-based and non-government organisations, and
- the Australian Federal Police.
Relationships with these groups are managed either by the Chief Justice, the Deputy Chief Justice, other judges on behalf of the Chief Justice, the Chief Executive Officer and/or other senior executives.
There are a number of established channels through which external stakeholders may inform the Court and affect its processes and client service delivery, 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 section of the Law Council of Australia
The Chief Justice and the Deputy Chief Justice meet quarterly with the Family Law Section of the Law Council of Australia. There are regular liaison meetings between the state law societies and bar associations and each of the Court's registries.
Family Law Forum
The Chief Justice 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. The Family Law Forum met in November 2013.
In addition to the Family Law Forum, a number of external stakeholders contribute to court direction by contributing to or being members of various court committees, for example, as members of the Court's Magellan Committee, the Audit and Risk Committee and the Family Law Courts Advisory Group. For more information on court committees, see Appendix 8.
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 and other government agencies, including many at the State level, was again a priority of registries in 2013–14.
Local pathways groups or networks continued to be a key forum for engagement. Pathways is a family law interagency network, established in 2005 and funded by the Federal Attorney-General's Department. It aims to facilitate a more integrated family law system, to include lawyers and community-based agencies that deal with separated families, family dispute resolution and associated issues such as family violence. Each network develops and maintains cross-sector training to help build stronger working relationships in the family law system.
Regular consultation also provides the 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 make effective referrals to community-based services for clients who may require ongoing support.
In addition to general consultations, registries engaged with community-based organisations and other jurisdictions about best practice approaches to support those clients who are subject to, or fear, violence from their partner, former partner or other family members.
Some of the regional highlights during the year follow:
- The Brisbane registry has maintained a collaborative approach with the State Magistrates Court in maximising the use of their Justice of the Peace (JP) service to the community. Presentations were conducted in February, March and June 2014 to the JP Branch. The presentations focused on the particular requirements for witnessing family law documents and to encourage volunteers to offer time as JPs in the registry.
- The Brisbane registry held meetings with registrars from the Brisbane Magistrates Court concerning counter ticketing and the drop box model. The drop box model is a self-service initiative where all solicitors and law firm filing clerks can 'drop box' all material for filing. They then select a method of return (mail, registry post box or pick up) within 48 hours. The benefits of the drop box model is that no ticket is taken at the counter and therefore there is no waiting in the queue. Drop box cover sheets and large envelopes are supplied and the process is self-managed without intervention by Client Service Officers (CSOs). This also enables CSOs to focus on serving clients in the queues. The rate of requisitions with drop box is no greater than filing on the spot or filing by other methods such as eFiling.
- Brisbane registry also held regular meetings with family law practitioners, Legal Aid, the Department of Human Services, Child Support and the Magellan Stakeholders Group. These meetings provide opportunities for information exchange and awareness raising and build strong networks across the family law system.
- The benefits of eFiling continued to be promoted to clients, with Queensland, once again, experiencing the largest volume in the number of documents eFiled.
- Melbourne registry had regular liaison with the family law sections of the Law Institute of Victoria (via the monthly Court Practice Committee), the Family Law Section of the Victorian Bar (via the Case Management Judge's regular consultations with the Chair of this section) 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 introduction of the international court excellence framework, and any issues arising with respect to registry services and facilities.
- In anticipation of the need for greater coordinated and collaborative relationships between the federal family law jurisdictions and state child welfare authorities, an initiative of co-location of a child protection worker at the Melbourne registry of the Commonwealth Law Courts and the Dandenong Federal Circuit Court was introduced. 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 and the department and the legal aid commission. 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 and providing a venue for those events at Chief Justices Chambers, Melbourne Commonwealth Law Courts Building. The Victorian Regional Coordinator for Child Dispute Services is central to this support of Pathways.
- 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 Family Court and Federal Circuit Court. The forum is convened by the courts' Senior Family Consultant Ms Antonia Dunne and is arranged in Hobart with video link to Launceston. Discussion points have included the analysis of work pre and post implementation of the family violence legislative amendments, police training and police responses to family violence.
- Dandenong registry hosted 15 Indonesian delegates from religious and general courts, non-government organisations, disability support agencies, the University of Indonesia and the Indonesian Human Rights Commission. This delegation was made under the terms of the Memorandum of Understanding between Australia and the Supreme Court of Indonesia. The delegates learnt about community and state funded legal services provided at Dandenong and in particular, observed the operations of the Family Law Assistance Program which is a partnership with Monash University to provide free legal advice.
- Dandenong registry hosted an Access and Equity Forum to inform the wider family law community about African communities within family law. The session was sponsored by the Victorian Family Law Pathways Network. Dandenong registry was chosen because the city has significant cultural diversity and is one of the Victorian migrant settlement hubs for new and emerging African communities.
New South Wales/ Australian Capital Territory
- Key collaborative engagements continued in 2013–14 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
- Women's Family Law Support Service.
- Regular meetings were by the Case Management Judges of the Family Court and Federal Circuit Court continued to be held with family law practitioners.
- Continuing Legal Education seminars were held approximately every two months for members of the profession.
- The Magellan Steering Committee met once during the year and at that meeting the Department of Family and Community Services announced that from 1 March 2014 the Magellan protocol would apply to the whole of New South Wales and not just certain postcodes.
- A Child Dispute Services representative continued to attend meetings of the Greater Sydney Families in Transition Group (Pathways).
- Court staff from the Child Dispute Services team in Newcastle attended the monthly Family Law Pathways Network meetings and were involved in presenting at and organising various activities in the Newcastle region. This included the Family Law Aboriginal Roadshow as part of National Reconciliation Week activities and the Greater Newcastle Family Law Pathways network annual conference on "Collaboration in the family law sector".
- The Newcastle registry, including the judiciary, held quarterly meetings with members of the legal profession and staff.
- Regular lunchtime seminars were held at Newcastle registry for members of the legal profession with judges and lawyers presenting on topics such as:
- Family Reports
- A mud map of Superannuation – Issues from initial Conference to Hearing
- Police Super
- Child Support
- Spouse Maintenance
- Introduction into Trusts
- Personal Property Register/Director's Penalty Notice – Implications for Caveats and caveatable interests.
- The Newcastle registry accommodated 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.
- In Wollongong registry, a Child Dispute Services representative continued to attend local Pathways meetings.
- Parramatta registry continued to participate in collaborative engagement with Legal Aid NSW, specifically the early intervention unit, duty solicitor scheme and court-ordered mediation program. These services continue to increase access to earlier, expert legal assistance for unrepresented individuals seeking legal help; to assist clients to take timely and appropriate action to progress or resolve their family law matters efficiently and effectively; and to improve the efficiency of the courts by reducing the impact of unrepresented 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.
- Parramatta registry personnel, including the Family Court Case Management Judge, the Federal Circuit Court Coordinating Judge, other judiciary officers, and the Registry Management Team, met regularly with members of the legal profession. These meetings are invaluable for all parties as they provide an opportunity to discuss changes and local issues and to provide procedural and legal updates.
- The Parramatta Senior Family Consultant continued to facilitate Family Relationship Centre (FRC) attendance at court, as part of FRC training and familiarisation. During the year, more than 35 people participated in this activity.
- A Parramatta family consultant also attended a Greater Sydney Family Law Pathways Network education and networking event, at which keynote speakers addressed issues relating to children not wanting to spent time with the parent with whom the child did not live.
- A Parramatta registrar—whose first language is Vietnamese—attended as guest speaker at a NSW Vietnamese Women's Association seminar on 'Mental Health Awareness and Legal Matters' for Seniors.
- The Dubbo registry 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 via video link 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.
- The Canberra registry 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.
- The Canberra 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.
South Australia/Northern Territory
During 2013–14 the Adelaide registry has been active in developing and implementing triage practices in an effort to reduce waiting times at our filing and subpoena counters. A booking system has been successfully introduced for subpoena and file viewing which allows clients to phone in advance and agree on a suitable time to come into the registry to view documents. Over 500 solicitors used this service in 2013–14.
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.
- Contributing to a study by an Intern from Sydney University who was preparing a paper on the Family Law Courts' Mental Health Project.
- Hosting a visit from the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse – Adelaide Hearing. This high profile hearing saw local witnesses presenting their submissions and/or evidence over the full week.
- Building a relationship with the South Australian Multi Agency Protection Service. This service is a partnership between multi-agencies and is led by South Australian Police, and aims to protect and provide services to vulnerable people within the community.
- Hosting a visit from Judge Kida, Registrar Ishihara and Registrar Muramatsu from Japan and Professor Kent Anderson from the Adelaide University.
- Co-presenting to Adelaide University law students on the practical application of family law, from the judicial perspective, the role of family consultants in the process and the roles of both judge and family consultant in case management.
- Facilitating a hypothetical (The voice of the child) for the SA Family Law Pathways annual conference. This hypothetical traced the path of a family from separation to trial, with a focus on the range of agencies involved, and examining at each stage how the voice of the child is represented.
- Working with the Commonwealth Attorney-General's Department in relation to the South Australian component of the pilot project Improving the interface between the child protection systems and the family law system.
- Continued quarterly meetings with representatives from the legal profession and Families SA.
- Coordinating and chairing the Family Law Conference in Bali in June 2014.
- Darwin registry continued their active involvement with a range of stakeholder groups including Pathways, the Family Relationships Centre Consortium Group, local Indigenous groups and the legal profession.
- Presentations to Darwin family law practitioners (Family Law Refresher programme, Law Society of NT) in relation to the role of family consultants as case assessors and relocation matters – a research perspective, with implications for the assessment and litigation processes.
Appendix 10: Judicial activities
In addition to hearing and determining cases, the Family Court's judges actively contribute to the development of the law and legal education, both in Australia and internationally. This is achieved through attending conferences and seminars; membership of relevant bodies; presenting papers and lectures; addressing academic institutions, professional associations and community-based organisations; meeting international delegations and liaising with judicial colleagues around the world.
Many judges also serve as members of organising committees for conferences as well as working in the community with a variety of legal and non-legal organisations.
A summary of conferences and seminars attended and papers delivered by the Chief Justice and Family Court judges during 2013–14, and other activities undertaken during that period, follow:
Chief Justice's activities
|Conferences attended and papers delivered|
|3–5 July 2013||
Second Family Law and Practice Conference, London
Paper delivered: From Shared Care to Safety: the Impact of the Family Law Legislation Amendment (Family Violence and Other Measures) Act 2011 on Parenting Matters in the Australian Family Law Courts (plenary address, 3 July 2013)
|17–19 July 2013||Hague International Judicial Network Meeting, London|
|12 September 2013||
2013 Austin Asche Oration in Law and Governance, Darwin
Paper delivered: The Big Picture: Responding to the Challenges Arising in International Family Law
|4 October 2013||
4th Justice Environments Conference, Brisbane
Chair, Children's and Family Courts session
|25 October 2013||
Hunter Valley Practitioners' Association Conference, Pokolbin
Paper delivered: Keynote Address
|15 November 2013||
Law Institute of Victoria Family Law Conference, Melbourne
Paper delivered: State of the Nation
|7 March 2014||
Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners Trusts Symposium, Adelaide
Paper delivered: Heterodox is the New Orthodox – Discretionary Trusts and Family Law: A General Law Comparison
|10–12 March 2014||
New Zealand Pacific Judicial Conference, Auckland
Chair, Family Violence Session, 10 March 2014
|5–8 May 2014||
International Association of Women Judges 12th Biennial International Conference, Arusha
Paper delivered: The International Hague Network of Judges and Direct Judicial Communication: An Australian Perspective (panel presentation, 7 May 2014)
|27 May 2014||
International Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers 5th Hague Symposium, New York
Paper delivered: The Development of a Good Practice Guide for the Article 13(b) Grave Risk Defence under the Hague Child Abduction Convention and Australia's Experience of the Hague Child Protection Convention (panel presentation)
|28–31 May 2014||
Association of Family and Conciliation Courts 51st Annual Conference, Toronto
Papers delivered: Parental Sharing of Care, Decisions and Responsibilities – Challenges for Judicial Officers (panel presentation, 29 May 2014)
Learning from Children: Comparative Approaches to Hearing Children's Voices (co-presenter at workshop, 30 May 2014)
In addition, the Chief Justice:
- Attended the City of London's Dinner to Her Majesty's Judges as guest of Lord Justice Thorpe on 3 July 2013
- Attended the 40th anniversary of the establishment of the Australian Legal Aid Office in Melbourne on 31 July 2013
- Was interviewed as part of the Australian Feminist Judgments Project
- Attended the Australian Women Lawyers 15th anniversary dinner in Melbourne on 17 August 2013
- Attended the Australian Academy of Law's Lecture, 'Legal Education, Regulation and Funding' in Brisbane on 21 November 2013
- Attended the Supreme Court White Ribbon Day breakfast in Brisbane on 25 November 2013
- Was a member of The Hague Permanent Bureau Working Party on Article 13(b) and attended the working party meeting at The Hague from 30 January 2014 to 1 February 2014
- Attended the Constitutional Law Conference in Sydney on 14 February 2014
- Attended a national independent children's lawyers stakeholder meeting in Melbourne on 14 March 2014
- Attended the Multicultural Council Australian Migration and Settlement Awards Dinner in Canberra on 24 March 2014
- Participated in the Walk for Justice in Melbourne on 13 May 2014
- Launched the book Islamic Family Law in Australia: to Recognise or Not to Recognise in Sydney on 14 May 2014
- Renewed the Memorandum of Understanding on Australia-Indonesia judicial cooperation with the Chief Justice of the Federal Court of Australia and the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Indonesia in Jakarta on 24 June 2014
- Launched the Family Law Detection of Overall Risk Screen online tool in various sites
- Held regular meetings with the Family Law Section executive throughout the financial year
- Attended quarterly Heads of Jurisdiction meetings
The Chief Justice is a Joint Director of Studies, Program Committee, World Congress on Family Law and Children's Rights Inc. The Chief Justice is a board member of the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (AFCC) and is President of the Australian Chapter of the AFCC.
The Chief Justice is the sole patron of Australian Women Lawyers, a patron of Court Network and a patron of Gordon Care.
The Chief Justice has been appointed Chair of the working group to develop a Guide to Good Practice on the Interpretation and Application of Article 13(b) of the 1980 Hague Child Abduction Convention. The working group convened in The Hague in June 2013 and developed draft guidelines for good practice with respect to Article 13(b).
Activities of judges
Papers presented and conferences, seminars and workshops conducted and/or attended
- Advanced cross examination for senior instructors of the United Kingdom Advocacy Training Council, June 2013
- Advocacy for barristers of five years' call at the United Kingdom Bar residential workshop, June 2013
- Advocacy for new practitioners for the United Kingdom Advocacy Training Council, June 2013
- Consultative seminar on the Possible Establishment of a Separate Family Court Structure for Ireland, paper presented 'The Australian Experience of a Specialist Family Court – Where Strange Tales Begin and Happy Endings are Possible', July 2013
- Family Law Intensive, Emerging Trends, papers presented 'Extrinsic Material and the Judicial Determination' and 'Legal Personal Representatives', July 2013
- Queensland Law Society and Family Law Practitioners Association Residential, paper presented 'Emerging Trends in Family Law', July 2013
- 2nd International Family Law and Practice Conference 2013, Parentage, Equality and Gender, July 2013
- Australian National University, paper presented 'The Evolution of the Civil Trial System', August 2013
- Family Law Practitioners Association Queensland Family Law Residential, paper presented 'Add Backs – Where Are We At and Where To From Here?', August 2013
- Illawarra Region and South Highlands Family Law Pathways Network, paper presented 'The Family Violence Amendments – First Impressions: Are We There Yet?', August 2013
- Law Institute of Victoria Family Law Residential, August 2013
- National Judicial College of the Republic of Indonesia, paper presented 'Judicial Mediation', August 2013
- University of South Australia Evenings Seminar, paper presented 'Children's Participation', August 2013
- Victoria Legal Aid independent children's lawyers program, presentation, August 2013
- Address to the Darwin legal profession on Family Court Rules, September 2013
- East Timor Seminar, paper presented 'Domestic Violence – Assisting East Timor in Developing a Legal and Judicial Response to Domestic Violence', September 2013
- Judicial Orientation Workshop, presentation, September 2013
- Law Institute of Victoria 'All in the Family' networking event, September 2013
- Hunter Valley Practitioners Association Conference, paper presented 'A Review of the Case Law 2012 – October 2013', October 2013
- Hunter Valley Practitioners Association Conference, paper presented 'Hard Cases Make Bad Law', October 2013
- Judicial Conference Association colloquium, session chaired 'Therapeutic Jurisprudence', October 2013
- Lone Fathers Association, presentation 'Parental Responsibility and the Best Interests of Children', October 2013
- Melbourne University, Beyond Law School lecture series – Family Law, panel presentation, October 2013
- North Shore Family Lawyers Practice Group, paper presented 'A Family Law Potpourri – Ask the Judge', October 2013 (paper also presented at the New South Wales Bar Association Continuing Professional Development Conference, March 2014)
- Queensland Collaborative Lawyers' Training Seminar, panellist, October 2013
- Family Law Section Intensive (Adelaide), paper delivered 'A Review of the Case Law 2012 – October 2013', November 2013
- Family Law Section Intensive (Adelaide), paper presented 'Family Law and the Corporations Act', November 2013
- International Organisation for Judicial Training conference (Washington DC), November 2013
- Law Institute of Victoria Family Law Conference, panel chair, November 2013
- Family Law Refresher Seminar, paper presented 'World Post Stanford', January 2014
- Legal Aid New South Wales, independent children's lawyer training, presentation (Parramatta), February 2014
- Legal Aid New South Wales, workshops in advocacy training for independent children's lawyers (Sydney), workshop presenter, February 2014
- Legal Aid Queensland, independent children's lawyer training, presentation, February 2014
- National Judicial College of Australia judgment writing conference, presentation, March 2014
- New South Wales Bar Association Continuing Professional Development conference, paper presented, 'Advocacy: a Consumer's Point of View', March 2014
- Queensland Bar Association Annual Conference, paper presented 'Developments in Court Practice and Procedure', March 2014
- Queensland Family Law Practitioners conference, paper presented 'Developing Issues in Family Law', March 2014
- Queensland Law Society Annual Symposium, presentation, March 2014
- University of Queensland, lecture to family law students, 'Introduction to the Family Court', March 2014
- Australasian Institute of Judicial Administration, Assisting Unrepresented Litigants – A Challenge for Courts and Tribunals conference, paper presented 'The Unrepresented Litigant on Appeal' (co-presentation), April 2014
- Family Court Parramatta occasional advocacy series, paper presented 'Evidence in Chief and Affidavits: Traps for Young Players', April 2014
- Legal Aid New South Wales, workshops in advocacy training for Independent Children's Lawyers (Parramatta), workshop presenter, April 2014
- Association of Family and Conciliation Courts 51st annual conference, paper presented 'To Treat or Not to Treat: Legal Responses to Transgender Young People', May 2014
- Cross Border Family Law Patterns and the Well-Being of the Child: Asia Pacific Perspectives conference, paper presented 'The Operation of the 1980 Convention in Australia and the Best Interests of the Child', May 2014
- Family Law Intensive (Melbourne), paper presented 'A Review of the Case Law 2013 – May 2014', May 2014
- Meeting of the Canadian and American Networks of Hague Judges, paper presented in written form 'Some Early Judicial Experiences of the Operation of the 1996 Child Protection Convention in Australia', May 2014
- Riverina Family Law Network Pathways Conference, paper presented 'Mind Matters: Better Approaches to Mental Health in Family Law', May 2014
- College of Law Advanced Family Law conference, paper presented 'The Vexed Issue of Vaccination', June 2014
- Family Court Parramatta occasional advocacy series, commentary on the topic 'Case Theory: Forensically Using the Rules, Pre-trial Procedures and Interlocutory Tools to Your Client's Advantage in Property Matters', June 2014
- Greater Sydney Family Law Pathways network meeting, paper presented 'Therapeutic Justice: The Family Law Courts' Early Intervention Techniques', June 2014
- Judicial Orientation Workshop, presentation, June 2014
- National Judicial College of Australia, National Judicial Orientation Conference, June 2014
In June 2014 the Australian Journal of Family Law published a conference paper by Justice Strickland (co-authored with Kristen Murray, Senior Legal Research Adviser to Chief Justice Bryant) entitled 'A Judicial Perspective on the Australian Family Violence Reforms 12 Months On', based on the paper Justice Strickland delivered at the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts 50th Annual Conference in June 2013.
Professional legal development
Family Court judges contribute to professional legal development through their membership of and participation in professional and research-based associations. The Family Court has been consistently represented on the Family Law Council since its establishment. During 2013–14 the Family Court's judicial representative on the Family Law Council was Justice Benjamin from the Hobart registry. Justice Benjamin is also a member of the Judges Orientation Course.
Justice May from the Brisbane registry is the President of the Australasian Institute of Judicial Administration. Justice Strickland from the Adelaide registry is the Family Court's nominated director on the board of the Australian Institute of Family Law Arbitrators and Mediators and is its longest serving director. Justice Strickland is also a member of the planning committee responsible for establishing the Australian Chapter of the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts. Justice Ainslie-Wallace from the Sydney registry is a Fellow, Australian Academy of Law, Deputy Chair Australian Advocacy Institute, Chair, College of Law Master of Applied Law [Family Law] Advisory Committee and Visiting Faculty Member of the National Institute for Trial Advocacy (USA).
Justice Murphy from the Brisbane registry is a National Advisory Council Member of the Family Law Section of the Law Council of Australia, an Advisory Board Member of the World Congress on Family Law and Children's Rights and a member of the National Judicial Conference of Australia. Justice Forrest from the Brisbane registry is a member of the Queensland Courts Indigenous Justice Committee and Justice Bennett from the Melbourne registry is a member of the Judicial Officers Aboriginal Cultural Awareness Committee. Justice Berman from the Adelaide registry is a member of the Judicial Council on Cultural Diversity. The Council formally met in March 2014 and resolved to formalise the Council by way of a web page, through establishing a close working relationship with the Migration Council and by arranging a two day conference. Justice Berman is also a member of the sub-committee responsible for organising the conference.
Judges are involved in the development and conduct of the National Judicial Orientation Program, delivered through the National Judicial College, and teaching for other judicial education bodies throughout Australia. Judges regularly present to law societies and bar associations in their respective jurisdictions, as well as holding informal meetings with members of the legal profession and participating in stakeholder meetings. Judges are also often asked to speak at secondary schools and lecture at law schools about particular topics and about their work generally. For example, during the reporting period Justice Benjamin of the Family Court and Judge Baker of the Federal Circuit Court provided a full day mock trial practice for students undertaking the practical legal training course in Tasmania. Justice Ainslie-Wallace assisted the University of Technology Sydney's mooting team in advocacy preparation, provided advocacy training as part of the Victorian Bar Readers course and the Northern Territory Bar Readers course, and provided training for lawyers employed by Securities and Futures Commission of Hong Kong in advocacy instruction, expert witness training and investigation technique. Justice Ainslie-Wallace also provided advocacy instruction for defence counsel and victim advocates of the International Criminal Court in The Hague.
Justice Bennett from the Melbourne registry is primary contact judge designated for Australia to the International Hague Network of Judges. During 2013–14, Justice Bennett undertook direct (case specific) judicial communications, including enquiries, mediation and mirror orders, with the following countries:
- Czech Republic
- New Zealand
- Northern Ireland
- United Kingdom, and
- United States of America.
Justice Bennett also had general network judicial communications with all countries to ascertain procedures within their respective jurisdictions for enforceability of measures recognised under the Convention of 19 October 1996 on Jurisdiction, Applicable Law, Recognition, Enforcement and Co-operation in Respect of Parental Responsibility and Measures for the Protection of Children.
In her role as Hague network judge, Justice Bennett held meetings and conducted information sessions throughout the year. These included meetings with the International Family Law Section of the Attorney-General's Department, the Australian Central Authority and the State Central Authorities. Justice Bennett also made oral video presentations to Germany and the United States on Hague Network Judicial Communications.
Justice Bennett hosted a visit to Melbourne registry by a Japanese delegation who attended as part of a study and research group investigating the use of mediation in Hague proceedings, and a visit by a German judge.
Several judges of the Family Court hold commissions as members of the Commonwealth Administrative Appeals Tribunal. During the reporting period, one judge delivered reasons in the AAT decision Qantas Airways Limited and the Commission of Taxation  AATA 316, which concerned fringe benefit tax liabilities.
Membership of professional associations
Judges of the Family Court are members of organisations including the Academic Committee of the New South Wales College of Law; the Advisory Board, Family Law Practice for the New South Wales College of Law; the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts; the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (Australian Chapter); the Association of International Family Judges; the Association of International Judicial Administration; the Australian and New Zealand Association of Psychiatry, Psychology and Law; the Australian Association of Women Judges; the Australian Centre for Court and Justice System Innovation; the Australasian Institute of Judicial Administration; the Bar Association of Queensland; the Centre for Children and Young People; Children's Rights International; the Commission for Children and Young People and Child Guardian (Qld); the Court Network Reference Group; the Family Law Practitioners Association (Qld); the Family Law Section of the Law Council of Australia; the International Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers; the International Association of Women Judges; the International Bar Association; the International Commission of Jurists; the Judicial Conference of Australia; LawAsia; the Law Society of New South Wales; Melbourne University Law School; Menzies School of Health Research; the National College of Judicial Education; the New South Wales Bar Association; the Queensland Judicial Indigenous Justice Committee; and the Victorian Bar Association.
Appendix 11: International visitors
The Court's work in Indonesia during 2013–14 is covered in detail in Part 2. In addition, during 2013–14, the Court had visitors from the following countries.
In February 2014, the Court's Sydney registry hosted a delegation from the Hong Kong Department of Social Work. In 2012 the Hong Kong government established a 'Children's Dispute Resolution Pilot Scheme' based on Australia's model of family dispute resolution whereby the Department's social work officers and clinical psychologists are responsible for casework and group work services to families and children affected by family disputes. To develop up-to-date services in accordance with the joint parental responsibility theme, a delegation of four social workers met with Australian service providers and the Family Court of Australia to gain further information.
Nani Zulminani, Director of PEKKA.
The Family Court hosted a delegation from Indonesia under the court-to-court MOU which looked at access to justice for disadvantaged groups and how to link paralegal and legal advisory services in Indonesia. The delegation included:
- five university professors that supervise legal aid clinics in universities in Medan (North Sumatra), Bandung (West Java), Makassar (South Sulawesi), Mataram (NTB) and Kupang (NTT)
- six Chief Judges from family and general courts in the provinces of North Sumatra, West Java, South Sulawesi, NTB and NTT that currently have duty solicitor posts at court
- three NGOs supporting access to justice for women and people with a disability, and
- five representatives from the Supreme Court of Indonesia, the national development and planning agency, and the national legal aid agency.
Under the court-to-court cooperation with the Supreme Court of Indonesia (see page 50), the Family Court is assisting the Supreme Court of Indonesia to develop and implement a system of alternate dispute resolution (ADR). As part of this cooperation, the Court hosted a delegation from the Supreme Court of Indonesia's ADR Working Group in Sydney and Melbourne. The visit focussed on the role of ADR in family law disputes, the role of NADRAC and pre-action protocols, and Collaborative Law and Restorative Justice Conferencing Practices as a means of resolving disputes.
Dr Jamhari Makruf, Vice Rector of the National Islamic University (UIN) in Jakarta and Chair of the National Taskforce for Islamic Education Reform, visited the Dandenong registry to view how the Family Law Assistance Program operates within the registry. Monash University assisted with the visit.
Delegation from the Supreme Court of Kenya hosted by the Honourable Diana Bryant AO, Chief Justice of the Family Court of Australia.
In 2013, the President of the Supreme Court of Kenya established a Performance Management and Measurement Steering Committee (PMMSC) to spearhead the adoption of a performance-based management system in the judiciary to help transform its operations and to enhance accountability, efficiency and results in the courts.
In executing its mandate, the Committee undertook a review of international best practices and recommended that as Australia, among other jurisdictions, has implemented successful judicial performance management systems, a visit to Australia would assist the Kenyan judiciary to learn and understand successful and tested performance management practices.
In May 2014, Chief Justice Bryant hosted the PMMSC from the Supreme Court of Kenya. The visit to the Melbourne registry and NSO of the Family Court of Australia focussed on the following areas:
- best practice in performance management
- determing the most effective performance measures and standards for measuring and benchmarking court performance
- establishing appropriate institutional, policy and legal frameworks for implementing and sustaining high performance
- the tools utilised in tracking, measuring and evaluating performance including the use of case management systems and the automation of performance management, court processes and records, and
- court user surveys and the implementation of the International Framework for Court Excellence.
The delegation included:
- Hon Mr Justice Daniel Musinga (Judge, Court of Appeal/Chairman)
- Hon Lady Justice Agnes Murgor (Judge, Court of Appeal)
- Hon Justice Luka Kimaru (Judge, High Court)
- Hon Justice George Kimondo (Judge, High Court)
- Dr Wamwea Nyoike (Director, Performance Management/Secretary)
- Hon Mr Kiarie W Kiarie (Chief Magistrate)
- Hon Mr AbdulQadir Lorot (Acting Senior Principal Magistrate)
- Mr Dominic Nyambane (Assistant Director, Performance Management)
- Mr Gilbert Kipkirui (Assistant Director, Performance Management), and
- Ms Sophie Amutavy (Legal Researcher).
In November 2013, Justice Bennett of the Melbourne registry welcomed a visit from Judge In So Nam from the Tongyeong Branch Court of the Republic of Korea. The visit focussed on the anonymisation and publication of family law judgments in the Family Court of Australia.
In October 2013, the Family Court's National Support Office, the National Enquiry Centre and the Parramatta registry hosted a visit from Robert Van der Laan, the senior strategy consultant for the Netherlands Council for the Judiciary.
Mr Van der Laan was conducting a study on e-governance and the modernisation and digitisation of judicial procedures and was interested in: the Family Court's innovative case management system; Casetrack; the Commonwealth Courts Portal; eFiling; performance management; statistical services; and the National Enquiry Centre.
In September 2013, the Sydney registry hosted a visit from Chief District Judge Dag Carlstedt from the Tonsberg District Court in Norway. His Honour was interested in the process for managing complex family law trials in Australia and the Less Adversarial Trial.
Papua New Guinea
The Melbourne registry hosted the architectural team involved in the design of the new Waigani National Courts Complex for the Supreme Court of PNG in Port Moresby. The purpose of the visit was to tour Australian courthouses to illustrate how key issues such as passive surveillance and security are addressed.
The delegation included:
- Justice Ellenas V Batari (Chairman of Court Buildings and Facilities Committee)
- Justice Don Sawong (Supreme Court of PNG)
- Mr Ian Augerea, Registrar (National Judicial Services of PNG, NJS)
- Mr Kapi Sarohafa (Secretary, NJS)
- Ms Mischelle Keme (Infrastructure Coordinator, NJS)
- Mr Paul Kelly (Organisational Development Advisor, NJS)
- Mr Jason Stewart (Facilities Advisor, NJS), and
- Brett Hudson, Mark Tendys and Diane Jones (Architects).
In June 2014, Chief Justice Bryant hosted a visit to the Melbourne and Sydney registry from the Juvenile Justice Division of the State Courts of Singapore. The delegation, headed by the new Senior District Judge, Ms Valerie Thean, was interested in further study of the Court's Less Adversarial Trial process for family law cases in Australia. The Juvenile Justice Division of the Singapore State Courts has adopted some of the philosophy and practices from the Family Court of Australia and is now focussed on further refining the framework of family justice in Singapore. New initiatives include a more holistic management of family cases, as well as a direction toward a more inquisitorial system, similar to the Less Adversarial Trial, in dealing with family cases within the court system.
In conjunction with Children's Right's International, chaired by the former Chief Justice of the Family Court of Australia, the Hon Alastair Nicholson, and UNICEF Vietnam, the Melbourne registry of the Family Court hosted a delegation from the Supreme People's Court of Vietnam. The purpose of the visit was to conduct an in-depth study of the Children's Court of Victoria and the Family Court of Australia.
The visit focussed on the following objectives:
- Acquire information and gain an understanding of the Court including the role of the Court and its place within the Australian and Victorian court system; the legal and policy framework that governs the Court, its operation and jurisdiction; specialised procedures and facilities for children by the Court; recruitment, retention and professional development of required specialist personnel, including judges; monitoring and evaluation of the effectiveness of the Court and its data collection systems; and the relationships of the Court to the wider justice and welfare systems.
- Explore possibilities of establishing institutional linkages between the courts, or other relevant bodies, and Vietnam's Supreme People's Court with a view to ongoing support to Vietnam's emerging Juvenile and Family Court.
- Acquire an understanding of Victoria's justice system and its approach to children, with particular emphasis on juvenile justice, child protection and child witnesses and victims of other crimes.
- Gain exposure to the restorative justice approaches to juvenile justice in Victoria and community-based responses to juvenile offending behaviour.
The delegation included:
- Dr Tran Van Do (Deputy Chief Justice, Supreme People's Court)
- Ms Le Thi Thu Ba, Vice Chair (Judicial Reform Steering Committee)
- Ms Ngo Thi Minh (Vice Chair, Culture, Education, Youth and Children Committee, National Assembly)
- a representative from the Judicial Committee, National Assembly
- a senior representative from the Ministry of Justice
- Dr Nguyen Van Thao (Director, Research Institute, National Assembly)
- a senior representative from the Judicial Science Institute, Supreme People's Court
- a key member of the drafting team of the Project for the Establishment of the Family and Juvenile Court
- Mr Vijaya Ratnam-Raman (UNICEF Viet Nam, Legal Specialist), and
- Ms Truc Nguyen (UNICEF Vietnam, Justice for Children Specialist).
Chief Justice Diana Bryant AO, Justice Bennett and Leisha Lister with the project team on the International Family Mediation of the Japan Association of Arbitrators.
With assistance from Dr Susan F Cochrane, Director International Family Law Section of the Attorney-General's Department, Ms Freia Carlton, Victoria Legal Aid, and Ms Helen Freris from International Social Services Australia (ISS), Chief Justice Bryant and Justice Bennett, Hague Network Judge, hosted a workshop with a delegation of lawyers from the Project Team on the International Family Mediation of the Japan Association of Arbitrators.
The workshop focussed on the Family Court's experience in the case management of international abduction cases under the Hague Convention and the practical aspects of providing mediation for these cases. The topics for the workshop included:
- the process of creating a Hague mediator list
- accreditation/qualification of Hague mediators
- education and training of Hague mediators
- mediation model used for Hague mediation
- interpretation/translation for mediation
- participation of the parties and lawyers
- use of audiovisual tools
- availability of legal aid
- government support in relation to the court proceedings
- cost and use of mediation (timing and type of cases), and
- scope of Hague mediation.
The delegation included: Mikiko Otani, Ayako Ikeda, Seiko Minomo, and Yuko Nagata.
Ms Kaoru Ishihara, a senior court official at the Nagoya Family Court and a visiting scholar at ANU Law School, visited the Court's Melbourne registry. Ms Ishihara was interested in the way the Court deals with international abduction cases under the Hague Convention and the role of the Central Authority in Australia.
Mr Matsumura from the Kofu Family Court, and a visiting scholar at the Asian Law Centre at Melbourne Law School, visited the Melbourne, Canberra and Adelaide registries to discuss the role of family consultants and mediation in family law cases in Australia.
A delegation from the Japan Federation of Bar Associations (JFBA), headed by Yoshifusa Saito (JFBA) and Professor Tomiyuki Ogawa from Kinki University in Japan, visited the Sydney registry to learn more about Family Court procedures.
The Japan Family Law Sub Committee included:
- Professor Tomiyuki Ogawa (Kindai University Faculty of Law)
- Mr Saito Yoshibo (Tokyo Bar Association)
- Ms Kyoko Ogawa (Shiga Bar Association)
- Ms Kojima Taeko (Sendai Bar Association)
- Mr Masuda Katsuhisa (Osaka Bar Association)
- Mr Kuramochi Masakatsu (First Tokyo Bar Association)
- Ms Hiroe Nakai (Osaka Bar Association)
- Ms Akiko Sugita (Tochigi Bar Association)
- Ms Miyuki Sakurai (Osaka Bar Association), and
- Ms Keiko Honbou (First Tokyo Bar Association).
Appendix 12: Contact details
Chief Justice's Chambers
Owen Dixon Commonwealth Law Courts
305 William Street
Melbourne VIC 3000
(GPO Box 9991, Melbourne VIC 3001)
Deputy Chief Justice's Chambers
Nigel Bowen Commonwealth Law Courts
Cnr University Avenue and Childers Street
Canberra ACT 2600
(GPO Box 9991, Canberra ACT 2601)
National Support Office
Chief Executive Officer
15 London Circuit
Canberra ACT 2601
(GPO Box 9991, Canberra ACT 2601)
National Enquiry Centre
The National Enquiry Centre (NEC) is the entry point for all telephone and email enquiries on Family Court of Australia and Federal Circuit Court of Australia matters. The NEC provides information and procedural advice, forms and brochures, and referrals to community and support services. NEC staff cannot provide legal advice. The NEC is opened from 8.30am to 5.00pm Monday to Friday.
PO Box 9991, Parramatta NSW 2124
Phone: 1300 352 000
TTY/voice calls: Contact the National Relay Service on 133 677 or for Speak and Listen calls contact 1300 555 727
International: +61 2 8892 8590
Family Law Courts website: www.familylawcourts.gov.au
Family Court website: www.familycourt.gov.au
Federal Circuit Court website: www.federalcircuitcourt.gov.au
Family Law Registries
Australian Capital Territory
Nigel Bowen Commonwealth Law Courts
Cnr University Ave and Childers Street
Canberra ACT 2600
(GPO Box 9991, Canberra ACT 2601)
New South Wales
Level 1, 463 Kiewa Street
Albury NSW 2640
(PO Box 914, Albury NSW 2640)
Cnr Macquarie and Wingewarra Streets
Dubbo NSW 2830
(PO Box 1567, Dubbo NSW 2830)
Level 2, 29–31 Molesworth Street
Lismore NSW 2480
(PO Box 9, Lismore NSW 2480)
61 Bolton Street
Newcastle NSW 2300
(PO Box 9991, Newcastle NSW 2300)
Garfield Barwick Commonwealth Law Courts
1–3 George Street
Parramatta NSW 2123
(PO Box 9991, Parramatta NSW 2123)
Lionel Bowen Commonwealth Law Courts
97–99 Goulburn Street
Sydney NSW 2000
(GPO Box 9991, Sydney NSW 2001)
Level 1, 43 Burelli Street
Wollongong NSW 2500
(PO Box 825, Wollongong NSW 2500)
Cnr Railway Terrace and Stott Terrace
Alice Springs NT 0870
(PO Box 9991 NT 0871)
80 Mitchell Street
Darwin NT 0800
(GPO Box 9991, Darwin NT 0800)
Harry Gibbs Commonwealth Law Courts
119 North Quay Brisbane QLD 4000
(PO Box 9991, Brisbane QLD 4001)
Commonwealth Government Centre
Level 3 and 4, 104 Grafton Street
Cairns QLD 4870
(PO Box 9991, Cairns QLD 4870)
Virgil Power Building
46 East Street (Cnr Fitzroy Street)
Rockhampton QLD 4700
(PO Box 9991, Rockhampton QLD 4700)
Level 2, Commonwealth Centre
143 Walker Street
Townsville QLD 4810
(PO Box 9991, Townsville QLD 4810)
Roma Mitchell Commonwealth Law Courts
3 Angas Street
Adelaide SA 5000
(GPO Box 9991, Adelaide SA 5001)
Edward Braddon Commonwealth Law Courts
39–41 Davey Street
Hobart TAS 7000
(GPO Box 9991, Hobart TAS 7001)
Level 3, ANZ Building
Cnr Brisbane and George Streets
Launceston TAS 7250
(PO Box 9991, Launceston TAS 7250)
53–55 Robinson Street
Dandenong VIC 3175
(PO Box 9991, Dandenong VIC 3175)
Owen Dixon Commonwealth Law Courts
305 William Street Melbourne VIC 3000
(GPO Box 9991, Melbourne VIC 3001)
Family Court of Western Australia
Peter Durack Commonwealth Law Courts
150 Terrace Road
Perth WA 6000
(GPO Box 9991, Perth WA 6848)
Phone: 08 9224 8222