PDF Printable version of the full report 

ISSN: 1035–9060 (print version)

ISSN: 2203–1863 (online version)

© Commonwealth of Australia 2015

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


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
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 2014–15 Attorney-General's Portfolio Budget Statements.


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: Paragon Printers

QR 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 per cent recycled fibre, and 45 per cent 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.


Letter of transmittal

Letter of transmittal - text available below

1 September 2015

The Hon. George Brandis QC
Attorney-General of the Commonwealth of Australia and
Minister for Arts
PO Box 6100
Senate, 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 2015.

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 2014-15.

This is the Family Court of Australia's 26th 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 2014–15 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 2014–15 Portfolio Budget Statements and the Portfolio Additional Estimates Statements 2014–15 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 2014–15.

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 2015—the audited financial statements for 2014–15.

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

Acronyms and abbreviations

AAT Administrative Appeals Tribunal

AGD Australian Government Attorney-General's Department

AGIMO Australian Government Information Management Office

AHS After Hours Service

ALAF Australian Leadership Awards Fellowship

ALS Aboriginal Legal 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

ATSI Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander

AUSTLII Australasian Legal Information Institute

AWA Australian Workplace Agreement

BSDO Business Systems Development Officer

CaLD Culturally and Linguistically Diverse

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

COMP Court Ordered Mediation Program

CPC Chief Justice's Court Policy Committee

CPSU Commonwealth and Public Sector Union

CSA Client Service Advice

CSO Client Service Officer

CSSMG Client Services Senior Managers Group

Cth Commonwealth

DCJ Deputy Chief Justice

DHS Department of Human Services

ECN Environmental Champions Network

ECONET Ethics Contact Officer Network

EDCS Executive Director Client Services

EIU Early Intervention Unit

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

FLCAG Family Law Courts Advisory Group

FLIS Family Law Information Service

FLPN Family Law Pathways Network

FLSS Family Law Settlement Service

FOI freedom of information

FRAL Family Relationship Advice Line

FRC Family Relationship Centre

GST goods and services tax

HR Human Resources

HSMAs (Work) Health and safety management arrangements

IACA International Association for Court Administration

ICT information and communications technology

IP Internet Protocol

IPS information publication scheme

ISDN Integrated Services for Digital Network

IT information technology

IVR interactive voice recognition

J judge

KPI Key Performance Indicator

MA The Supreme Court of Indonesia (Mahkamah Agung)

MOU Memorandum of Understanding

NEC National Enquiry Centre

NSO National Support Office

PBS Portfolio Budget Statements

PGPA Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013

PMDS Performance Management and Development System

PSM Public Service Medal

RMS Rehabilitation Management System

RSR Registry Service Quarterly Return

SDC Staff Development Committee

SES Senior Executive Service of the Australian Public Service

VOC volatile organic compounds

WAN Wide Area Network

WCAG Web Content Accessibility Guidelines

WHS work health and safety

WHSC Work Health and Safety Committee

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 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 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.

Part 1: The year in review