Appendix One
Appendix Two
Appendix Three
Appendix Four
Appendix Five
Appendix Six
Appendix Seven
Appendix Eight
Appendix Nine
Appendix Ten
Appendix Eleven
Appendix Twelve

Appendix One

Entity resource statement 2015–16

Table 8.1 Entity Resource Statement 2015–16
  Actual available appropriation
2015–16
$'000
Payments made
2015–16
$'000
Balance remaining
2015–16
$'000
Ordinary annual services1      
Departmental appropriation2 180,6213 167,555 13,0664
Total 180,621 167,555 13,066
       
Administered expenses      

Outcome 15

892 564 3286
Total 892 564 328
       
Total ordinary annual services 181,513 168,119 13,394
       
Special Appropriations Special appropriations limited by criteria / entitlement
Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 s 777 300 255 45
Total 300 255 45
       
Special accounts8      
Opening balance
Appropriation receipts
Total special accounts
       
Total net resourcing for agency 181,813 168,374 13,439
  1. 1 Appropriation Act (No.1) 2015–16 and Appropriation Act (No.3) 2015–16. This also includes Prior Year departmental appropriation and S.74 relevant agency receipts.
  2. Includes an amount of $7.398m in 2015–16 for the Departmental Capital Budget. For accounting purposes this amount has been designated as 'contributions by owners'.
  3. Includes $159.500m in Appropriations (Appropriation Bill No. 1 and 3), and $2.699m in section 74 Receipts per Note 5.1A of the Financial Statements, and $1.396m in Cash – Cash and cash equivalents at the beginning of the reporting period – per Cash Flow Statement, and $17.026m in Appropriations Receivable per Note 3.1B in the Financial Statements.
  4. Unspent departmental annual Appropriations per Note 5.1B of the Financial Statements.
  5. Administered Appropriations per Note 5.1A of the Financial Statements.
  6. Administered appropriation balance remaining per Note 5.1B of the Financial Statements (includes payments of $0.040m for 2014–15 accrued items).
  7. Repayments not provided for under other appropriations. Note 5.1C in the Financial Statements.
  8. Does not include 'Special Public Money' held in accounts like Other Trust Monies Account (OTM).

Appendix Two

Expenses and resources for outcome 1

Table 8.2 Expenses 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
2015–16
$'000

(a)
Actual Expenses
2015–16
$'000

(b)
Variation
2015–16
$'000

(a) – (b)
Program 1.1: Family Court and Federal Circuit Court
Administered expenses      
Ordinary Annual Services (Appropriation Bill No. 1 and No. 3) 892 5252 367
Expenses not requiring appropriation in the Budget year 0 8003 -800
Special appropriations 300 2434 57
Departmental expenses      
Departmental Appropriation (Appropriation Bill No. 1 and No. 3)5 156,477 156,388 89
Expenses not requiring appropriation in the Budget year6 50,126 49,725 401
Total expenses for Outcome 1 207,795 207,681 114
       
  2014–15 2015–16  
Average Staffing Level (number) 775 766  

 

  1. Full year budget, including any subsequent adjustment made to the 2015–16 Budget per 2015–16 Estimated Actual expenses in Table 2.1 of the 2015–16 Attorney General's Portfolio Additional Estimates Statements page 81.
  2. Administered Expenses (Services Rendered) per Note 2.1A of the Financial Statements.
  3. Includes write down and impairment of assets per Note 2.1B of the Financial Statements.
  4. Special appropriations consist of refunds of fees paid under section 77 of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013.
  5. Departmental Appropriation combines 'Ordinary annual services (Appropriation Bill No.1 and No.3) and 's 74 retained revenue receipts'.
  6. Includes depreciation and amortisation, liabilities assumed by related entities for the Judges' Pension Scheme (Family Court of Australia), resources received free of charge, and Judges' Pension Scheme (Invalidity) (Federal Circuit Court of Australia).

Appendix Three

Staffing profile

At 30 June 2016, the entity had a total workforce of 753 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 entity's 753 employees:

  • 191 (25.37 per cent) were male and 562 (74.63 per cent) were female, and
  • 601 (79.81 per cent) were ongoing employees and 152 (20.19 per cent) were non-ongoing employees.

The following tables show staff statistics by location, gender, full-time and part-time status, and ongoing and non-ongoing.

Table 8.3 Staff by location
Level ACT NSO NSW NT QLD SA TAS VIC WA Total
APS 1     1             1
APS 2 1 1 17   10 4   18   51
APS 3 6 9 67 3 34 14 7 35   175
APS 4 5 10 60 1 33 12 4 36 1 162
APS 5 3 23 43 2 22 8 5 28 1 135
APS 6 4 26 7   2 2   3   44
EL 1 6 29 31 1 17 7 6 23   120
EL 2 2 7 22   12 4 2 10   59
SES 1   1 1   1     1   4
SES 2   2               2
Total 27 108 249 7 131 51 24 154 2 753
Note: Actual occupancy at 30 June 2016 includes full and part-time staff with the exception of judicial officers and casual employees. All figures are based on actual headcount. Legend
SES – Senior Executive Officer
NSO – National Support Office
Table 8.4 Staff by gender
Level Gender ACT NSO NSW NT QLD SA TAS VIC WA Total
APS 1 Male     1             1
APS 2 Female 1 1 13   7 4   12   38
Male     4   3     6   13
APS 3 Female 4 7 49 2 24 7 6 24   123
Male 2 2 18 1 10 7 1 11   52
APS 4 Female 4 8 50 1 26 10 4 29   132
Male 1 2 10   7 2   7 1 30
APS 5 Female 3 18 36 2 20 8 4 23 1 115
Male   5 7   2   1 5   20
APS 6 Female 4 15 6   2 2   3   32
Male   11 1             12
EL 1 Female 4 4 25 1 17 5 6 19   81
Male 2 25 6     2   4   39
EL 2 Female 2 3 15   6 3 1 8   38
Male   4 7   6 1 1 2   21
SES 1 Female     1         1   2
Male   1     1         2
SES 2 Female   1               1
Male   1               1
Total   27 108 249 7 131 51 24 154 2 753
Table 8.5 Staff by attendance status
Level Attendance ACT NSO NSW NT QLD SA TAS VIC WA Total
APS 1 Full-time                    
Part-time     1             1
APS 2 Full-time 1 1 11   9 3   14   39
Part-time     6   1 1   4   12
APS 3 Full-time 6 7 46 3 25 13 4 25   129
Part-time   2 21   9 1 3 10   46
APS 4 Full-time 5 8 51 1 31 9 3 30 1 139
Part-time   2 9   2 3 1 6   23

APS 5

Full-time 3 20 37 2 20 8 5 24 1 120
Part-time   3 6   2     4   15
APS 6 Full-time 2 22 7   2 2   3   38
Part-time 2 4               6
EL 1 Full-time 4 27 19 1 13 4 2 14   84
Part-time 2 2 12   4 3 4 9   36
EL 2 Full-time 2 7 15   10 3 1 8   46
Part-time     7   2 1 1 2   13
SES 1 Full-time   1 1   1     1   4
SES 2 Full-time   2               2
Total   27 108 249 7 131 51 24 154 2 753
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
Level ACT NSO NSW NT QLD SA TAS VIC WA Total
APS 1     1             1
APS 2   1 14   6 4   15   40
APS 3 3 7 55 3 30 13 4 29   144
APS 4 3 8 33 1 18 8 2 19 1 93
APS 5 2 22 35 2 19 8 5 21 1 115
APS 6 4 25 7   2 2   2   42
EL 1 5 26 30 1 14 6 5 18   105
EL 2 2 7 20   11 4 2 10   56
SES 1     1   1     1   3
SES 2   2               2
Total 19 98 196 7 101 45 18 115 2 601
Table 8.7 Non-ongoing staff by location and classification
Level ACT NSO NSW NT QLD SA TAS VIC WA Total
APS 2 1   3   4     3   11
APS 3 3 2 12   4 1 3 6   31
APS 4 2 2 27   15 4 2 17   69
APS 5 1 1 8   3     7   20
APS 6   1           1   2
EL 1 1 3 1   3 1 1 5   15
EL 2     2   1         3
SES 1   1               1
Total 8 10 53   30 6 6 39   152
Table 8.8 Indigenous staff by location, gender and employment status
Employment Status Gender ACT NSO NSW NT QLD SA TAS VIC WA Total
Ongoing Female     4   1 1   1   7
Male                    
Non-ongoing Female                    
Total       4   1 1   1   7

Judicial officers

At 30 June 2016, there were 35 judges, including the Chief Justice; 17 female and 18 male.

Table 8.9 Total number of judges, 30 June 2015
Location Judges
New South Wales 14
Victoria 1 Chief Justice
6 Judges
Queensland 7
South Australia 3
Tasmania 1
Australian Capital Territory 1 Deputy Chief Justice
2 Judges
Total 35

Workforce turnover

During 2015–16, 100 employees left the entity (33 were non-ongoing, 67 were ongoing employees), being an annual turnover rate of 13.28 per cent against total employee numbers (753) at 30 June 2016.

Table 8.10 Workforce turnover
Employment Type Reason Total
Non-ongoing employees – 4.38% Resignation 32
Dismissed 1
Total non-ongoing employees   33
Ongoing employees – 8.90% Dismissed – Code of Conduct 2
Inter-department transfer 9
Redundancy 3
Resignation 34
Retirement age under 60 11
Retirement age 60 – 65 6
Retirement age over 65 2
Total ongoing employees   67
Total   100
Note: The above figures do not include non-ongoing employees whose actual period of engagement reached their non-ongoing contract date of expiry.

Agreement making

Enterprise Agreement

The Federal Magistrates Court of Australia and Family Court of Australia Enterprise Agreement 2011–2014 continued to operate during 2015–16. 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 2016, 733*Family Court and Federal Circuit Court employees were covered by the Enterprise Agreement.

Table 8.11 Family Court and Federal Circuit Court employees covered by the Federal Magistrates Court of Australia and Family Court of Australia Enterprise Agreement 2011–2014
Level Female Male Total
APS 1   1 1
APS 2 38 13 51
APS 3 123 52 175
APS 4 132 30 162
APS 5 115 20 135
APS 6 32 12 44
EL 1 80 38 118
EL 2 37 10 47
Total 557 176 733
* Excludes casual employees

Other agreements

Offers of Australian Workplace Agreements (AWA) to employees ceased from 13 February 2008, in accordance with government policy; however, at 30 June 2016, 12 employees had enforceable AWAs in place.

In some limited cases, the Family Court and Federal Circuit Court has used common law contracts and determination 24 instruments pursuant to the Australian Public Service Act 1999 to build upon existing AWA arrangements.

Table 8.12 Employees covered by other agreements
  Australian Workplace Agreements Common law contracts Individual Flexibility Arrangements Determination 24 arrangements
Level Female Male Total Female Male Total Female Male Total Female Male Total
APS 1                        
APS 2             1   1      
APS 3                        
APS 4                        
APS 5             1   1      
APS 6             1   1      
EL 1   1 1 1   1 6 9 15      
EL 2 1 7 8   4 4 5 6 11 1 1 2
SES 1 1   1 1 2 3            
SES 2 1 1 2               1 1
Total 3 9 12 2 6 8 14 15 29 1 2 3

Non-salary benefits

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 (e.g. first aid, chief and deputy chief fire warden, community language) and airline club memberships.

Performance pay arrangements

The Court's industrial instruments do not include provision for performance based pay to employees. No employees received performance pay during 2015–16.

Table 8.13 AWA minimum and maximum salary ranges by classification
Classification Salary Range ($)
APS 2 59,311 – 59,311
APS 3 N/A
APS 4 N/A
APS 5 84,754 – 84,754
APS 6 89,217 – 89,217
EL 1 102,137 – 130,000
EL 2 131,082 – 188,665
SES 1 175,434 – 209,650
SES 2 211,851 – 215,237
Table 8.14 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
APS 1 $42,779 $44,063
$43,937 $45,256
$45,745 $47,118
APS 2 $46,841 $48,247
$49,395 $50,877
$51,945 $53,504
APS 3 $54,740 $56,383
$56,129 $57,813
$57,583 $59,310
APS 4 $61,356 $63,197
$62,950 $64,839
$64,562 $66,499
APS 5 $66,325 $68,315
$68,404 $70,457
$70,330 $72,440
APS 6 $72,036 $74,198
$75,867 $78,144
$82,285 $84,754
EL 1 $91,831 $94,586
$95,497 $98,362
$99,161 $102,136
EL 2 $108,424 $111,677
$111,736 $115,089
$120,081 $123,684
$121,079 $125,639
$124,095 $127,818
$127,264 $131,082
* Excludes casual employees

Appendix Four

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 and the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988
  • providing and maintaining a healthy and safe workplace
  • preventing injuries by managing risk, including identifying and mitigating workplace hazards to health and safety
  • developing strategies aimed at preventing work-related injury and illness
  • promoting awareness and understanding of work health and safety within the Court
  • fostering a cooperative relationship between the Court and its workers which provides for constructive consultation on health, wellbeing, safety and welfare at work, and
  • monitoring and evaluating work health and safety performance to assess the effectiveness of the measures taken.

During 2015–16, the Court continued to work to achieve this through:

  • promoting the importance of health, safety and wellbeing through encouraging discussions at team meetings
  • 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 issues, via the Court's intranet, training programs, e-learning and induction
  • consulting with staff and their representatives on the ongoing review of the Work Health and Safety Management Plan, the Rehabilitation Management System and the Work Health and Safety Strategic Plan 2014–2016
  • advising managers and staff of their health and safety 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 work-related injury and illness. Specific initiatives taken by the Court during 2015–16 to ensure the health, safety and welfare of staff included:

  • developing and implementing the Court's comprehensive Work Health and Safety Management Plan
  • continued implementation and review of the Rehabilitation Management System
  • continued implementation of the Court's Work Health and Safety Strategic Plan 2014–2016
  • drafting Work Health and Safety Risk Assessment Guidelines
  • developing Due Diligence training for staff of the Court
  • reviewing reporting processes which included the implementation of a new Hazard Notification and Report Form
  • 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
  • continued monitoring of national issues and trends through the National Work Health and Safety Committee.

Ongoing wellbeing initiatives included:

  • National Work Health and Safety Committee – meetings held twice a year
  • re-establishment of the Health and Safety Representative Network and the First Aid Officer Network – meetings are held twice a year, providing members with the opportunity to network and access tools and information online and support from the human resources team
  • providing regular health and safety updates through the quarterly HR Newsletter
  • employees have access to ergonomic assessments of workstations, ergonomic furniture, a free employee assistance program, annual influenza vaccinations, peer support officers, first aid officers and harassment contact officers
  • the local health and safety committees continued to meet throughout 2015–16 and no locations reported health and safety audits requiring serious investigations during the year, and
  • re-launch of the peer support network, with nine people attending specialist counselling training.

Workers' compensation and early intervention management

Consistent with the Court's continuous improvement approach, there was a decrease in the Court's workers compensation premium again this year.

The Rehabilitation Management System (RMS) outlines the Court's approach to wellbeing and rehabilitation, through identifying suitable approaches for effectively managing the incidence and severity of work-related injury/illness and to assist employees to return to work following an absence.

As the RMS has now been in place for two years, RSM Bird was engaged to undertake a full internal audit of the system against Comcare's audit framework. All recommendations are currently being implemented, with the RMS identified as being a robust and transparent approach.

The Court continues to proactively manage its workers compensation cases and early intervention, which has further contributed to reducing the total future costs of all claims.

Appendix Five

Advertising and market research

Under sections 311A of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918, the courts are required to disclose particulars of payments of $12,700 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 $39,389 (GST inclusive) during the 2015–16 financial year in advertising and market research, comprising mainly payments to media advertising organisations for recruitment notices, with $27,039 (GST inclusive) paid to Dentsu Mitchell for recruitment advertising.

During 2015–16, the Family Court and Federal Circuit Court did not conduct any market research or advertising campaigns.

Appendix Six

Ecologically sustainable development and environmental performance

The following information is provided in accordance with Section 516A of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act 1999.

Court activities and ecologically sustainable development

As noted in its Environmental Policy, the Court:

"...recognises the importance of implementing sound environmental practices in all court functions..."

This overarching commitment to ecologically sustainable development (ESD) was implemented in a number of ways by the Family Court and Federal Circuit Court during 2015–16.

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 (noting data is for Family Court and Federal Circuit Court).

Table 8.15 Family Court and Federal Circuit Court environmental impact/usage data, 2012–13 to 2015–16
  2012–13 2013–14 2014–15 2015–16
Energy usage privately leased sites (stationary) 6490 GJ
(Giga joules)
6237 GJ 5383 GJ Data not available until October 2016
Transport vehicles—energy usage 6100* GJ 6035 GJ 5871 GJ 6002 GJ
Transport flights (estimated) 3,101,516 kms 3,461,665 kms 2,843,969 kms 3,829,5970 kms
860 tonnes CO2 962 tonnes CO2 783** tonnes CO2 Emissions report unavailable from new travel provider
Paper usage (office paper) 27,181 reams 23,964 reams 30,385 reams 33,872 reams
* this figure was originally reported as 6035 GJ. The correct figure is listed above. ** this figure does not include the emissions for 45,830 kms travelled under a new travel booking provider for the courts which commenced operation in May 2015 (emission figures not available at this time).

Measures to minimise the court's environmental impact

Environmental Management System

The Court's Environmental Management System (EMS) has many of the key elements now in place.

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.

Other measures

During 2015–16, the Court worked within its EMS to minimise its environmental impact through a number of specific measures, either new or continuing.

Energy

  • as noted in Table 8.15 the 2015–16 data is not available until October 2016
  • electricity contracts continued to be reviewed to ensure value for money. Energy supply contracts negotiated in recent years resulted in estimated savings of $15,000, 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.

Information technology

  • in addition to the desktop auto shutdown program that commences at 7pm, staff continued to be encouraged to shut down their desktops as they leave work to maximise energy savings
  • e-waste was recycled or reused where possible, including auctioning redundant but still operational equipment, and
  • ensuring fully recyclable packaging where possible.

Paper

  • most facsimile machines are 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 19 sites, and
  • most printers are set to default double sided printing and monochrome.

Waste/cleaning

  • cleaning contracts for the Commonwealth Law Courts (via the Department of Finance who act as the lessor) and the majority of the privately leased sites came into effect in 2014. Provision for waste commingled recycling (such as non-secure paper, cardboard, recyclable plastics, metals and glass) forms a part of both contracts, with regular waste reporting included in the contract requirements for the privately leased sites
  • printer toner cartridges continued to be recycled at the majority of sites
  • recycling facilities for staff personal mobiles were permanently available at 11 sites
  • electronic media (CDs, work mobiles etc.) continued to be securely shredded and components recycled where possible
  • as noted previously, secure paper recycling was available at all sites, and
  • fluorescent light globes continued to be recycled for all sites.

Corporate culture/communication

  • the Environmental Champions Network (ECN) continued to offer the opportunity for staff to provide input about environmental matters for the courts. The volunteer membership comprises 17 members representing 13 sites nationally.

    Projects in 2015–16 included:
    • Earth Hour
    • a national 'Transport Challenge', where staff earned points for walking, riding etc. or using public transport to go to and from work over a two week period, as well as for exercising (as an points option encouraging healthy behaviour for those who could not use alternative transport)
    • Christmas electronic equipment shutdown drive
    • 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 national internal eNewsletter Courts Exchange, and
  • a court-specific 'envirosmart' logo was used as branding when promoting environmental initiatives.

Property

Fitouts and refurbishments continued to be conducted in an environmentally responsible manner including:

  • recycling demolished materials where possible
  • maximising reuse of existing furniture and fittings
  • engaging consultants with experience in sustainable development where possible and including environmental performance requirements in relevant contracts
  • maximising the use of environmentally friendly products such as recycled content in furniture and fittings, low VOC (volatile organic compounds) paint and adhesives, and energy efficient appliances, lighting and air conditioning, and
  • installing water efficient appliances.

Travel

Whilst some travel is unavoidable, staff are encouraged to consider alternatives if possible, including using 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.

In 2015–16 the Court:

  • reviewed its environmental risk register (significant environmental aspects and impacts), and
  • collected and reported relevant energy use data under the Energy Efficiency in Government Operations Policy.

Additional ESD implications

In 2015–16, the Court did not administer any legislation with ESD implications, nor did it have outcomes specified in an Appropriations Act with ESD implications.

Appendix Seven

Grant programs

The Family Court and Federal Circuit Court made no grant payments during 2015–16.

Appendix Eight

Committees

Judicial committees, 30 June 2016
Committee Terms of reference
Court Policy Committee

Chief Justice Bryant (Chair)
  • To support the Chief Justice in the governance of the Court and to provide advice on strategy and the future direction of the Court.

 

Standing Committee Terms of reference
Finance

Justice Berman (Chair)
  • Budgeting
  • Judicial remuneration
  • Audit and risk
  • To provide judicial input to the Court's annual budget in relation to the funding and resourcing of judicial work, including the national calendar for interstate judicial travel.
Rules

Justice Ryan (Chair)

Justice Rees (Chair)
from February 2016
  • 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.
Court Performance

Justice Austin (Chair)
  • Case management
  • Magellan
  • To ensure the implementation and maintenance of case management systems designed to achieve maximum efficiency in the discharge of the Court's work.
Court Services

Justice Forrest (Chair)
  • Cultural diversity
  • Unrepresented litigants
  • Property management
  • Library
  • Family violence
  • Children's
  • IT judicial requirements
  • To oversee and report on the provision of services to the public, including the equitable delivery of access to justice, mindful of barriers created by the cost of litigation, race, religious, cultural and language diversity, family violence and physical and mental health disabilities.
  • The provision of services to judges and staff.
  • The Court's maintenance and storage of its records.
Professional Development and Judicial Welfare

Justice Ainslie-Wallace (Chair)

Professional development programs including:
  • Orientation
  • Judicial welfare
  • Research and ethics
  • To develop, implement and oversee the ongoing judicial education in the Family Court, including orientation for new appointments, the formulation of a comprehensive plan for judicial education and the annual Judicial Education Conference.
  • To put in place and monitor programs which assist judges to maintain resilience as judges.
  • To oversee the research and ethics committee.

 

Senior management committees, 30 June 2016
Title Chair Members Terms of reference
Chief Executive Officer's Management Advisory Group

Chief Executive Officer Family Court and Federal Circuit Court (Richard Foster)

  • Executive Director, Corporate (Adrian Brocklehurst)
  • Executive Officer, Family Court (Leisha Lister)
  • Executive Director Operations, Federal Circuit Court (Steve Agnew)
  • Principal Registrar, Family Court (Angela Filippello)
  • Principal, Child Dispute Services (Jane Reynolds)
  • Principal Registrar, Federal Circuit Court (Adele Byrne)
  • Regional Registry Managers
  • Director of Administration, Federal Circuit Court (Stewart Fenwick)
  • Chief Information Officer (Paul Stace)

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

Brian Acworth (external member)

Members
  • Maria Storti (external member)
  • Simon Kelso (Regional Registry Manager ACT/NSW)

Observers

  • Adrian Brocklehurst (Executive Director Corporate and CFO)
  • ANAO representatives (including KPMG)
  • RSM Bird Cameron representatives
  • RSM Bird Cameron also provide secretariat services

Monitor and where necessary recommend improvements to:

  • Risk management identification and amelioration
  • Internal control processes (including fraud control)
  • The financial reporting process
  • The functioning of the internal audit unit
  • The external audit process
  • Processes for monitoring compliance with legislation, regulations and government policy

Maintain an effective working relationship with the ANAO

National Consultative Committee

Chief Executive Officer's representative – Director, Human Resources (Claire Golding)

Members are selected by vote and represent:
  • Associates (Bernadette Henderson)
  • Client Services – major registries (Chris Cole)
  • Client Services –regional registries (Kevin Jenkins)
  • National Enquiry Centre (Phillip Garrard)
  • Registrars (Dinh Tran)
  • National Support Office (Matt Asquith)
  • Secretariat (Jane Morgan)
  • A representative from the Community and Public Sector Union is also invited to attend

Consultative forum for staff about issues with a national perspective, such as industrial democracy, security, the strategic objectives of the courts, equal employment opportunities, new technology, accommodation and amenities, and personnel and staffing policies and practices

Delegates present staff views on issues that affect the management and future direction of the courts and provide feedback and briefings to the workplace nationally

Work Health and Safety

Director Human Resources (Claire Golding)

  • Executive Director, Corporate Services (Adrian Brocklehurst)
  • National Property Manager (Akasha Atkinson)
  • Health and Safety representative (Brian Hartley)
  • First Aid Officer (Bernadette Henderson)
  • Director Human Resources – Chair (Claire Golding)
  • Registry Manager (Greg Johannesen)
  • Workforce and Policy Manager (Jane Morgan)
  • HR Coordinator – Secretariat (Jaime Simons)
  • Director Procurement and Risk (Patrick Lamb)
  • Case Manager and Wellbeing Adviser (Sharon Briggs)
 

Appendix Nine

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 Social Services, Child Support, the Australian Institute of Family Studies, non-government organisations and community legal centres.

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 Advisory Group. For more information on court committees, see Appendix eight.

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 a priority of registries in 2015–16.

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 facilitates 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 feedback about users' experiences of registry services and the courts. This leads to service improvements and ensures that the courts are 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:

New South Wales/Australian Capital Territory

Sydney and Wollongong
  • Judges participated in a forum with the legal profession to engage lawyers around issues relating to judicial duty lists and interim hearings. Other meetings with representatives of the law society, bar association and legal aid were held throughout the year.
  • Registry management team members attended the regular forum with NSW Legal Aid to discuss issues impacting legal aid and the courts.
  • Sydney registry hosted meetings of the Unrepresented Litigants Working Party, chaired by Justice Le Poer Trench and Judge Baumann, which included representatives from child welfare agencies, the Family Law Section of the Law Council, legal aid, the Attorney-General's Department and the legal profession. The working party continues to address a series of issues that confront unrepresented litigants and their experiences with the courts.
  • Sydney registry hosted the annual meeting of the NSW Magellan Steering Committee which is chaired by Justice Cleary. The committee includes judges from Sydney, Newcastle and Parramatta and representatives from the NSW Police, NSW Department of Family and Community Services and legal aid and provides direction on the management of Magellan cases in NSW.
  • Registrars hosted a meeting with the NSW Law Society and representatives of the legal profession to further develop the partnership with the Family Law Settlement Service (FLSS).
  • The Women's Family Law Support Service continues to provide valuable support to women attending court in the Sydney registry. The service is provided by the Marrickville Women's Refuge and the liaison officer is in regular contact with staff to provide support and assistance.
  • Sydney registry participated in the Greater Sydney Family Law Pathways Network (FLPN) including community-based organisations and family relationship centres (FRC).
  • Continuing Legal Education seminars were held approximately every two months for members of the legal profession.
  • Sydney registry hosted work experience students and provided supervision to law students.
  • Portal information sessions were conducted and training sessions for lawyers were held in Sydney and Wollongong.
  • Other key collaborative engagements in the Sydney registry in 2015–16 include:
    • Legal Aid Family Law Duty Service
    • Legal Aid Court Ordered Mediation Program
    • Information and Referral Service (provided by the Sydney City FRC), and
    • Women's Family Law Support Service.
  • Sydney registry hosted judges and foreign delegates including:
    • a contingent of judges from Asia that attended the Commonwealth and Common Law International Family Justice Conference in late 2015
    • a delegation from Vanuatu including the Chief Registrar, Vanuatu Courts and representatives from the Island Courts, Supreme Court and Magistrates Court, and
    • Myanmar fellows undertaking a study tour of Australian courts.
Canberra
  • The ceremonial farewell sitting for Deputy Chief Justice Faulks was held on 12 February 2016 pending his retirement in late 2016. The ceremonial welcome sitting for Justice Shane Gill was held on 17 May 2016. Both ceremonies attracted large crowds of practitioners from the Canberra legal community.
  • The senior family consultant was awarded a Churchill Fellowship to undertake research and investigate and evaluate the use of structured assessment methodologies in family law matters and in particular, structured approaches for assessing parents and children. This will assist the courts' future development in this area.
  • Canberra registry provided Portal training to practitioners and their support staff in September 2015.
  • The registry manager and a judge met with students undertaking legal studies and the registry hosted visits from students competing in the Philip C Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition and Bond University High School Mooting Competition.
  • The registrar and registry staff met with the two Muslim legal aid liaison officers to provide information about the Court and court processes and discuss referrals.
  • The registrar continued to be very proactive in the local community and throughout the year was involved in the following activities:
    • meetings with Relationships Australia to discuss family dispute resolution services
    • participated in a review of the ACT FLPN
    • met with a visiting court officer from Japan to discuss family violence in the Family Court system
    • met with the coordinator of the ACT FLPN
    • meetings with the Office for Children, Youth and Family Support about exchange of information for family law matters
    • met with ACT government representatives to discuss the domestic violence policy gap analysis
    • met with the Executive Director of the Women's Legal Centre to discuss family violence initiatives
    • met with the Family Law Committee to discuss listing arrangements for the duty list and various matters
    • attended the 2016 ACT Women's Awards Ceremony honouring women who have made an outstanding contribution to improving the status and lives of women and girls in the community
    • regular liaison with the Chair of the Family Law Committee about relevant recent changes in legislation and/or procedure
    • liaison with the ACT Legal Aid about matters which may affect delivery of their duty lawyer service and/or their client group
    • chaired the ACT Legal Aid Independent Children's Lawyer (ICL) Advisory Committee, interviewing candidates for the ICL panel, and
    • attended a workshop Domestic Violence: The Legal Services Challenge, run by the Business and Industry Engagement on Domestic Violence Project.
  • The senior family consultant presented at a domestic violence conference hosted by ACT FLPN.
  • The family consultant joined the ACT FLPN steering committee and was invited to be a panel member representing the Court for Family Law and Child Protection: collaboration or confusion.
Parramatta
  • The NSW Legal Aid Early Intervention Unit duty solicitor scheme continued, with two or three full-time solicitor's onsite. Services are delivered to increase access to earlier, expert legal assistance for unrepresented individuals seeking legal help; assist clients to take timely and appropriate action to progress or resolve their family law matters efficiently and effectively; and improve the efficiency of the courts by reducing the impact of unrepresented litigants on the workload of registry staff and the Court process. Significant numbers of clients seen by the duty solicitors for the first time were referred to services such as FRCs, resulting in reduced filings of inappropriate court applications. These would otherwise have been listed before a judicial officer, resulting in time being spent on a matter where a non-litigious pathway was more appropriate.
  • The NSW Legal Aid Court Ordered Mediation Program (COMP), which began as a pilot at Parramatta registry in 2011, continues to operate with one permanent full-time equivalent legal aid mediator onsite. Parties in children's matters may be referred (or ordered) to COMP at any stage of the litigation process if there is a connection to NSW Legal Aid (i.e. at least one party has legal aid funding or if an independent children's lawyer has been appointed in the matter). COMP has resulted in full or partial settlement for a majority of matters, saving a significant number of court days and legal aid funded days.
  • NSW Legal Aid facilitated a mediation placement for one registrar, as part of a Graduate Diploma Family Dispute Resolution with the Institute of Family Practice. This permitted the registrar to work with mediation services provided outside the Court.
  • A pilot commenced in January 2015 providing for the Aboriginal Legal Service (ALS) to provide a duty solicitor service at the Court from 9am to 1pm for parenting matters, with solicitors remaining at the Court after these hours should client service delivery require it. The ALS offers access to culturally appropriate early intervention assistance, expert advice and court representation in family law matters. The ALS represents and advises unrepresented Aboriginal clients in proceedings before the courts. The ALS adopts a unique service delivery model that is specific to the ALS, with solicitors working with Aboriginal field officers. The ALS duty service provides Aboriginal clients access to professional and proficient legal representation.
  • Liaison with the local legal profession continued. The Family Court case management judge, the Federal Circuit Court coordinating judge, other judicial officers, and the registry management team, communicated regularly with the Western Sydney legal profession. This liaison extended to the provision of instruction in the use of the Portal.
  • The FLSS is a joint initiative of the courts, the NSW Bar Association and the Law Society of NSW. FLSS assists with financial/property matters, usually at the post-conciliation conference and pre-final hearing stage of proceedings. The NSW Law Society met with Parramatta judicial officers and the Parramatta legal profession to explain the FLSS process. The FLSS settlement rate has also positively contributed to a material saving of court days.
  • Registrars and family consultants attended a Greater Sydney FLPN education and networking event at which the keynote speaker addressed the issues of family violence and trauma and how they impact children and families.
  • The senior family consultant attended steering group meetings and local interagency events held by Greater Sydney FLPN.
  • A judge and family consultant presented at a Parramatta Region Family Law Interagency (part of the Greater Sydney FLPN) event on the recognition of Aboriginal culture within the Family Law Act.
  • The registry manager spoke at a Parramatta region family law interagency event on safety protocols at court.
  • A judge, registrar, family consultant and the registry manager were involved as presenters in a forum involving Aboriginal services, the courts and the NSW Department of Family and Community Services.
  • The senior family consultant continued to facilitate FRC attendance at court, as part of FRC training and familiarisation.
  • The registry manager, in collaboration with a Western Sydney University Adjunct Professor (former Family Court Judge), continued to provide a significant number of briefings to Western Sydney secondary schools, local TAFE and Western Sydney University students.
  • Child Dispute Services provided a three-month supervised placement for a fourth year social work student from Monash University. The placement involved a research task involving a literature review on the topic of The applicability of Trauma-Informed and Child-Focussed Practice to Family Consultant Interventions.
  • A registrar spoke at a family law conference on the drafting of Consent Orders.
  • The registry manager spoke at an AIJA conference on strategies to mitigate risk of violence in the courts.
  • A registrar, whose first language is Vietnamese, was guest speaker at a NSW Vietnamese Women's Association information session on Legal Matters relating to seniors (part of the 'Vietnamese Senior – Happy and Well for Life' project funded by Fairfield Club Grants).
  • Parramatta registry hosted the following foreign delegations:
    • a visiting Japanese judge looking at different aspects of the courts/registry
    • a Japanese senior court administrator
    • Malaysian Legal Aid, and
    • the Republic of Korea, Child Support Agency.
  • The NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal continued to deliver some of its conciliation and hearing services from Parramatta registry, using one courtroom on a full-time basis, plus another courtroom as required.
Dubbo
  • The family consultant is the immediate past chair – and current member – of the NSW Central West 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.
  • Circuiting judges to Dubbo registry (from Parramatta registry) regularly spoke at the Central West lawyer continuing legal education events.
  • Staff hosted two Portal instructional sessions with the Central West legal profession.
Newcastle
  • Child Dispute Services attended the Greater Newcastle FLPN meetings and presentations. Judges presented at a FLPN event on Indigenous issues.
  • Child Dispute Services met with Interrelate staff at Port Macquarie and Centacare staff at Tamworth.
  • Judges and staff held quarterly meetings with members of the legal profession.
  • Regular meetings were held between senior registry staff and members of the Hunter Valley Family Law Practitioners Association. These meetings facilitated discussion and the exchange of information on issues relevant to the registry and the legal profession.
  • Judges and registrars continued to assist the Hunter Valley Family Law Practitioners Association with the preparation for and presentation of the annual Hunter Valley Family Law Conference.
  • Regular lunchtime seminars were again held for members of the legal profession, with judges, registrars, barristers, lawyers and special guest speakers presenting on topics such as:
    • drug testing
    • mediation
    • registrar chambers applications
    • parental responsibility
    • setting aside orders
    • advocacy
    • dealing with untruthful litigants and evidence, and
    • change of circumstances in parenting applications.
  • Newcastle registry hosted visits from students from the University of Newcastle as part of their family law training program, as well as high school students conducting mock trials.

South Australia/Northern Territory

  • Continued active involvement in the Child Support Stakeholder Engagement Program, Community Stakeholders Engagement Group, Pathways, FRCs and Children's Contact Services (including regional contact centres).
  • Guided tours for professionals working in the family law system for a 'lived experience' of what it is like for clients to go to the Family Court. The tours included:
    • the Court building and its services
    • filing an application at the Court registry
    • seeing a courtroom
    • watching the Court hold hearings, and
    • visiting the SA Family Law Pathways Kiosk and Mediation Section of the courts.
  • Visits to the Legal Services Commission, allowing staff the opportunity to meet with Commission staff and familiarise themselves with the operations of the Legal Services Commission.
  • Information sessions to law students from the University of South Australia and the Adelaide University. Students also visited the registry as part of the universities' family law training programs.
  • Involvement in the South Australian Police call centre staff training. The registry provided call centre participants with information in relation to the work of the courts and where to refer clients for advice.
  • Attending and offering support to the South Australian Government's High Tech Challenge which is developing IT programs in relation to the prevention of violence against women.
  • Conducted cultural awareness training. In conjunction with a local interpreter and translation company, staff had the opportunity to gain a better understanding of working with interpreters and the barriers experienced with language and cultural differences for CALD clients working with the Court system.
  • Hosted a video-link from the Western Australian State Courts on the Western Australian Integrated Court Management System (ICMS) with invites extended across court jurisdictions in South Australia.
  • Facilitated the South Australian biannual Pathways CEO briefing.
  • Participated in the South Australian Living Arts festival. In conjunction with the Federal Court, the Adelaide registry co-hosted an Indigenous art exhibition presented by Seymour College. This exhibition created a learning environment for students and the wider community by presenting traditional and contemporary artworks by Indigenous peoples.
  • Initiated an electronic database as a communication tool for the South Australian Magistrates Court in relation to obtaining copies of Family Court and Federal Circuit Court Orders in relation to children when an Intervention Order action is underway in the state jurisdiction.
  • With Adelaide identified as the host city for NAIDOC Week 2015, the registry coordinated an event that consisted of lunch being supplied by an Aboriginal catering company, a smoking ceremony, traditional dance and a presentation from an Aboriginal elder in relation to the input from the local community into the design of our Circle Court.

Queensland

  • Consultation with State Magistrates Court colleagues occurred in July and August 2015 regarding the development and implementation of a referral system for urgent matters from Brisbane Magistrates Domestic Violence Court to the Brisbane registry.
  • Court tours and presentations to staff of various local Relationships Australia offices occurred throughout the year.
  • Continuing collaboration occurred with the State Magistrates Court in maximising the use of the Justice of the Peace (JP) service to the community through the respective courts. Presentations were conducted by Brisbane staff to volunteer JPs on 15 July 2015, 26 February 2016 and 19 May 2016. The presentations focused on the requirements for witnessing family law documents.
  • Meetings between the courts, Legal Aid Queensland and the Queensland Department of Justice and Attorney-Generals were held to discuss the implementation of information exchange between the specialist domestic violence court pilot in Southport Magistrates Court and the Brisbane registry.
  • Meetings were held in October 2015 with local representatives of firms on the Interpreters and Translation Services Panel, following the signing of new Deeds of Understanding with the courts.
  • A Court tour and presentation to members of Gold Coast FLPN was held in October 2015.
  • Registry staff organised and conducted mock hearings for the Queensland University of Technology Bar Practice course.
  • Staff participated in the Child Support Stakeholders Engagement Group meeting conducted by the Department of Human Services.
  • Ongoing consultation with Crown Law and the Queensland Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services regarding the production of redacted subpoena material in court proceedings.
  • Staff participated at the Annual Family Law Duty Lawyers stakeholders meeting in November 2015.
  • A meeting was held between Uniting Care post separation service providers and courts' Child Dispute Services area in December 2015.
  • A meeting was held with legal and administrative staff of Women's Legal Service in March 2016.
  • Ongoing liaison with local family law practitioners associations and Pathways groups occurred in circuit locations of Rockhampton, Lismore and Coffs Harbour.
  • Regular meetings were held with the local family law practitioners associations, Legal Aid Queensland, the Queensland Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services and the Magellan Stakeholders Group. These meetings provide opportunities for information exchange and building stronger networks across the family law system.

Victoria/Tasmania

Melbourne
  • Regular liaison continued with the family law section of the Law Institute of Victoria (via the monthly Court Practice Committee), the Family Law Section of the Victorian Bar and with the Victorian Legal Aid Commission (via meetings with relevant senior managers). Matters discussed included case management processes, the Court User Satisfaction Survey results, new Rules, the Court Reform Bill and any issues arising with respect to registry services and facilities such as safety, security, interviews rooms and fee payment and copying services.
  • The collaborative relationship between the federal family law jurisdictions and state child welfare authorities continued nationally. The initiative of a co-located child protection worker at the Melbourne and Dandenong registries was confirmed as ongoing by the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services following a positive evaluation completed by the Australian Institute of Family Studies. 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 continued to be steered by a committee comprising the courts, the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services and Victoria Legal Aid. 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.
  • Justice Bennett, the President of the Children's Court, the Deputy Chief Magistrate, Victoria Legal Aid, Victoria Police, the Australian Federal Police and the Department of Health and Human Services continued liaison with Victorian courts and agencies in the context of the Victorian Royal Commission into Family Violence. Inter-court and inter-agency engagement has focussed upon the Royal Commission Recommendations with the view to improved responses to complex family cases. In particular, exchange of information concerning cases where there are family violence allegations on a more systemic and methodical basis, has been a central concern. The Regional Coordinator for Child Dispute Services has actively supported this work on behalf of the Family Court and the Federal Circuit Court together with the Registry Manager.
  • Significant support of Victoria Pathways has continued, including helping with the design of events and providing a venue for those events. The Victorian Regional Coordinator for Child Dispute Services is central to this support. Major events were hosted at Melbourne registry, including a forum on Mental Illness and Children in Family Law and Engaging with Perpetrators of Family Violence. These events are well attended, including representation from judicial officers.
  • International delegations from the Sri Lankan Supreme Court (judges and court administrators ) were hosted by Melbourne registry, as was a judicial officer from Israel who was interested in the Court's approach to parenting disputes and the services provided by Child Dispute Services.
  • Court Network Victoria launched its resource publication, Family Law Booklet for CALD communities (Vietnamese and Dinka), acknowledging the significant contribution of the Melbourne registry in achieving this innovative milestone. Whilst a previous publication was specifically orientated towards unrepresented litigants at the Final Hearing stage of proceedings, these recent publications are more expansive and cover the entire litigation process. Future publications are envisaged, which will expand this resource across other CALD communities.
  • The registry supported a number of initiatives including:
    • Thornbury High Indigenous Students (half day exposure to the Court) – four year 11 and 12 students participated in a tour of the registry, met with Justice Bennett and attended court proceedings
    • CHUO Summer School 2016 (half day exposure to the Court) – 12 students from Japan participated in discussions with Justice Bennett, attended court proceedings and a tour of the registry
    • Year 10 student placements from a number of schools where students learnt about the justice system, the work of courts and registry administration
    • Victoria University Internship Program – enabling law students to observe court hearings and gain insight into the family law jurisdiction
    • Asia Law Centre, University of Melbourne – in collaboration with the Law Centre, Ms Flavia Agnes (Scholar, Author and Human Rights Activist) was hosted by the Family Court to speak to invited guests from Victorian courts and representatives from the legal profession), on the subject of Women's Rights in the context of family breakdown in India
    • Through the University of Melbourne, Melbourne registry hosted a group of Australian Imams and addressed the cultural interface between these communities and the family law system. This was a most valuable exchange, which identified the mutual benefits of establishing a pathway with the Council of Imams for future consultative purposes on family law related topics.
Dandenong
  • Quarterly meetings were held with the registrar and the three agencies providing free legal advice at the registry. The purpose of the meetings is to exchange information about process changes and registry practices, particularly as they relate to unrepresented litigants in order that services are continually improved.
  • Several meetings were held involving senior staff of the Department of Health and Human Services – Southern region, Dandenong judges and senior registry staff. The meetings promote cooperation and facilitate the exchange of information to better protect the children involved in court disputes. An officer of the Department continues to work out of the registry one day each week.
  • Quarterly meetings of community-based legal practitioners, local FRC, Victorian Family Pathways Network and other community-based dispute resolution services were held. It is a forum of service providers with a common client base, sharing information and discussing family dispute resolution issues and challenges to ensure that services are coordinated and responsive.
  • Dandenong hosted a forum titled CALD and African-Australian communities within Family Law: Access and Equality from a Woman's Perspective on 30 June 2016. The event was organised by the Victorian FLPN. A Federal Circuit Court judge was one of a panel of experts to discuss how cultural differences impact the making of court orders and what information needs to be given to the courts in order to achieve culturally appropriate responses.

Tasmania

  • 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, Tasmania Police and staff of the Family Court and Federal Circuit Court. The forum is convened by the Senior Family Consultant and is arranged in Hobart with video-link to Launceston. Discussions have included: the impact of family violence on children and their developing brain; the Family Law Council's interim report on the interaction of family law and child protection systems; the Safe Home, Safe Families: Tasmania's Family Violence Action Plan 2015–2020; and the cross examination of vulnerable witnesses.
  • The registrar convenes and chairs quarterly meetings between the courts, Child Protection and Legal Aid Commission Tasmania to raise new developments, discuss stakeholder concerns and review the informal protocol between the courts and Child Protection.
  • The registrar delivered a lecture to family law students at the University of Tasmania Law School and family consultants have presented to the Tasmanian Young Lawyers Group.
  • The Tasmanian registries actively support the southern, northern and north west family law pathways groups.

Appendix Ten

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 2015–16, and other activities undertaken during this period, follow:

Chief Justice's activities
Conferences attended and papers delivered
17 July 2015

Queensland Law Society's 30th Family Law Residential. Co-presented with Her Honour Judge Mary O'Dwyer of the District and Family Court, New Zealand the Keynote Address.

23 July 2015

Presented at the Victorian Magistrates Court Professional Development Conference: Intersection of Family Law, Child Protection and Family Violence and the launch of the Family Law Manual for Magistrates.

14–15 August 2015

Opened and presented at the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts 2nd Australian Chapter meeting.

17–18 August 2015

Gave two brief papers at the UNICEF Children in Law Conference, Vietnam (one on the Family Court and how we determine the best interests of the child, and the other on medical procedures that require court authorisation).

25 August 2015

Panellist at Business and Professional Women's event: Empowering Women in the Legal System: An Equal Pay Day Event.

12–13 September 2015

Presented a State of the Nation address at the Family Law Practitioners' Association of Western Australia.

14–17 September 2015

Attended the Commonwealth Magistrates' and Judges' Association (CMJA) 17th Triennial Conference in Wellington, New Zealand.

23 September 2015

Panellist at the Law Institute of Victoria's 2015 Family Violence Conference.

9–11 October 2015

Presented at the Judicial College of Australia Conference in Adelaide: Family Courts and family violence.

23–24 October 2015

Panellist and a 'fire-side chat' with Members of the Family Law Bar at the South Australian Bar Association 2015 Annual Conference.

12 November 2015

Presented the Hochelaga Lecture in Hong Kong: Challenges in the Development of International Family Law: Reflections by the Chief Justice of the Family Court of Australia.

13–14 November 2015

Panellist at the 3rd Children's Issues Forum in Hong Kong: An Evaluation of Family Law Reforms in Australia.

16–19 November 2015

Hosted and presented at the Commonwealth and Common Law Standing Conference for International Family Judges in Sydney.

21–23 January 2016

Fourth meeting on Article 13(1)(b) in The Hague, Netherlands.

21–23 February 2016

Presented at the National Judicial College of Australia's National Judicial Orientation Program: Maintaining Psychological and Physical Health in Adelaide.

11 March 2016

Presented at the STEP Trusts Symposium in Adelaide: Unsettled Settlements.

9 April 2016

Keynote presenter at the Australian Women Lawyers 6th National Conference: A View from the Top of the Hill — A Retrospective by an Activist Woman Lawyer.

5 May 2016

Presented at the Australian Intercultural Society luncheon: Creating the Best Society for Our Children.

10 May 2016

Presented at the Court Network National Volunteer Week.

26–29 May 2016

Attended the International Association of Women Judges' 13th Biennial Conference in Washington.

1–4 June 2016

Attended the 53rd Association of Family and Conciliation Courts' Conference in Seattle.

16 June 2016

Presented at the Australasian Institute of Judicial Administration's Improving Court Practice in Family Violence Cases Conference.

21 June 2016

Presented at the Department of Human Services National Litigation Team conference.

In addition, the Chief Justice:

  • Participated in the Victorian Bar's Continuing Professional Development series on 14 July 2015 on Strategic Case Management: Briefing Counsel Effectively.
  • Participated in an all judges' meeting on 3 July 2015 in Sydney.
  • Hosted a luncheon in Sydney on 13 August 2015 to hear Ibu Nani speak in relation to the Ten Years of the PEKKA NGO supporting Women and Children's Access to Legal Identity and Family Law in Indonesia.
  • Presented at the Supreme Court of Indonesia in Jakarta on 3 September 2015 on the topic of A Better Experience for Clients: Transforming Public Services.
  • Participated in a roundtable of the Royal Commission into Domestic Violence with Commissioner Neave 21 September 2015.
  • Presented at the launch of Stepping Stones: Legal barriers to economic equality after family violence by Women's Legal Service Victoria on 22 September 2015.
  • Attended the Australian Academy of Law Symposium at the Supreme Court of Victoria on 8 October 2015.
  • Held an Annual Judges' conference in Melbourne on 16–17 October 2015.
  • Attended the 45th Meeting of the Council of Chief Justices of Australia and New Zealand in Darwin on 21 October 2015.
  • Attended an International Hague Network Judges' Meeting on 11–12 November 2015 in Hong Kong.
  • Attended the inaugural Tristan Jepson Memorial Foundation Advisory Council meeting on 25 November 2015.
  • Attended the Law Institute of Victoria's Courts and the media forum on 11 December 2015.
  • Attended the Victorian Legal Aid Launch of Research brief Characteristics of respondents charged with breach of family violence intervention orders.
  • Attended the launch of the Luke Batty Foundation at Government House on 2 March 2016.
  • Attended the Judicial Council of Cultural Diversity's launch of its consultation reports on 17 March 2016.
  • Attended the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts' Australian Chapter All Day Workshop Innovations in Family Law on 24 March 2016.
  • Hosted a Deakin University delegation of Sri Lanka judiciary on 7 April 2016.
  • Attended the ACT Law Society 31st Annual Blackburn Lecture by DCJ Faulks on 17 May 2016.
  • Held regular meetings with the Family Law Section executive throughout the year.
  • Attended quarterly meetings of the Council of Chief Justices of Australia and New Zealand.

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 is 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.

Activities of judges

Papers presented and conference, seminars and workshops conducted and/or attended

  • 3 July 2015, Annual Judges Meeting, Sydney.
  • 9–11 July 2015, Victoria Legal Aid, Independent Children's Lawyer Training Program Conference, Melbourne: The Role and Importance of the ICL – A Judicial Perspective.
  • 10–11 July 2015, Australian Advocacy Institute, Family Law Advocacy Workshop for Independent Children's Lawyers, Perth.
  • 15 July 2015, 30th Annual Family Law Residential, Gold Coast: A Review of Case Law 2014–15.
  • 16 July 2015, NSW Bar readers' dinner, Sydney.
  • 18 July 2015, Queensland Law Society, Family Law Residential, Gold Coast: Self represented litigants Practical Implications and Solutions; The Great Debate; Special Medical Procedure cases; and Pleadings without Pleadings.
  • 20 July 2015, Briefing at Victoria Legal Aid, Melbourne: Outcome of Family Law Legal Aid Services Review.
  • 29 July 2015, Family Violence and Separated Parents: New Empirical Insights, Dr Rae Kaspiew.
  • 1 August 2015, 25th Hunter Valley Family Law Annual Conference, Hunter Valley: A Review of Case Law 2014–15; Mental Illness/Psychological Disturbance and Evidence.
  • 13 August 2015, Ten Years of the PEKKA NGO Supporting Women and Children's Access to Legal Identity and Family Law in Indonesia Luncheon.
  • 13 August 2015, Judicial College of Victoria, Seminar Program, Chaired by the Hon Justice Stephen Kaye AM, Melbourne: Closing the Gap – confronting Indigenous Incarceration.
  • 14–15 August 2015, Second AFCC Australian Chapter Annual Conference, Sydney: To Treat or not to Treat: Legal Responses to Transgender Young People Revisited; The child's parents are in court, does it matter? Psychologists and Family Law.
  • 17 August 2015, Asia Law Centre Seminar presented by Mr Antony Dapiran, Davis Polk, Hong Kong and Professor Jiunn-ron Yeh, Chair Professor, National Taiwan University, Melbourne: Tolerance and Rights in Asia – With Perspectives from Hong Kong and Taiwan.
  • 18 August 2015, Judicial College of Victoria, Koori Twilight Series, Dean Cowie, Manager, Native Title Unit, Department of Justice and Regulation, and Barry Kenny, CEO, Gunaikurnai Land and Waters Aboriginal Corporation, Melbourne: Recognising Traditional Owner Rights.
  • 22 August 2015, State Conference, Quamby Estate, Tasmania: A Wilderness of Decisions or Emerging Trends – Property Matters post-Stanford.
  • 26 August 2015, Lecture presented by the Hon Dr Julia Gillard at the College of Law, Victoria University, Melbourne: Education and Social Justice: The Global Education Agenda and Improving Our World.
  • 26 August 2015, All in the Family Networking Event, Law Institute of Victoria, Melbourne.
  • 26 August 2015, Lecture presented by Susan Adams, Psychologist, at the Child Dispute Services Seminar Series, Melbourne: Traumatised Children and Family Law: Challenges, Implications and Moving Forward.
  • 28–30 August 2015, Language and the Law II Conference, Darwin.
  • 3 September 2015, Judicial Council on Cultural Diversity Roundtable, Melbourne: Improving Access to Justice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Women.
  • 3 September 2015, Keynote address, National Children's and Youth Law Centre Awards and Volunteer Evening, King and Wood Mallesons, Melbourne: Children's and Young People's Right to Access Legal Advice and Legal Services.
  • 3–4 September 2015, Towards Indigenous Democracy, 10th Annual National Indigenous Legal Conference, Melbourne.
  • 6–9 September 2015, Domestic violence conference, Belfast.
  • 7–11 September 2015, Mediation training for Japanese-Australian family disputes, Yokohama.
  • 8 September 2015, Continuing Legal Education, Dr P Krabman, Parramatta: Distortion, Disruption, Damage and Danger – Personality Function and Dysfunction in the Context of Parental Separation.
  • 8 September 2015, Family Law Council forum discussion, Justice Precinct, Parramatta.
  • 8 September 2015, Queensland Child Protection Lawyers Association Annual Lecture, Brisbane.
  • 9–13 September 2015, International Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers Annual Conference, Taormina, Sicily.
  • 22 September 2015, South Pacific Council of Youth and Children's Court Conference, Canberra: Family Law and Child Protection Intersection 'The Best Interests of the Child'.
  • 23 September 2015, University of Queensland, Advocacy Students: Advocacy in the Appellate Jurisdiction of the Family Court of Australia.
  • 25–26 September 2015, Australian Advocacy Institute, General Advocacy Skills, Sydney.
  • 30 September 2015, SA Bar Readers Course, Adelaide: Session about the Family Court.
  • 30 September 2015, Family Law and ADVO applications, Specialist Domestic Violence Prosecutors Course.
  • 4–9 October 2015, International Bar Association, Annual Conference, Vienna, Austria: Martial arts ethics: the offensive and defensive use of the rules of professional conduct.
  • 6–8 October 2015, Dialogues Conference, National Judicial College of Australia (organising committee), Adelaide.
  • 9–11 October 2015, Judicial College of Australia, Colloquium, Adelaide: The 800th Anniversary of Magna Carta.
  • 16 October 2015, Australasian Institute of Judicial Administration, 21st Oration in Judicial Administration Lecture delivered by The Rev. Father Frank Brennan SJ AO, Professor of Law, Australian Catholic University, Melbourne: The Contours and Prospects for Indigenous Recognition in the Australian Constitution, and Why It Matters.
  • 16–17 October 2015, Annual Judges Conference, Melbourne.
  • 19 October 2015, Family Justice Young People's Board workshop, with Board members and establishing committee, London.
  • 21–23 October 2015, HCCH and ISS Cross-Border Child Protection, Legal and Social Perspectives Conference, Geneva: International Child Abduction – Ensuring the Safe Return of the Child.
  • 23 October 2015, Family Law Practitioners Association, Intensive, Advocacy, Brisbane.
  • 27 October 2015, Inaugural Victorian Tristan Jepson Memorial Foundation Lecture, Keynote speaker The Hon Mary-Jane Ierodiaconou, Associate Justice, Supreme Court of Victoria, Melbourne: Inspiring Change: Creating a Healthy Workplace.
  • 29–30 October 2015, National Judicial College of Australia, Leadership Conference, Sydney.
  • 4 November 2015, Q and A session with local legal profession and the NSW Central West Family Law Pathways Network members, Dubbo.
  • 6–7 November 2015, Australian Advocacy Institute Advocacy Workshop (Crime) NSW Legal Aid, Sydney.
  • 13–14 November 2015, Children's Issues Forum, Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong.
  • 13–15 November 2015, Judicial College of Victoria, Back to Country Weekend: a Weekend on Gunai Kurnai land, Gippsland region.
  • 16–19 November 2015, Common Law and Commonwealth Conference, International Perspectives on Family Law Session, Sydney: Best Arrangements for Returning Children under the Abduction Convention and Otherwise; Country Reports – Australia; Concerns and Issues of Central Authorities; Judges, the Value of Judges' Networks and Judicial Communication – What Do You Want To Know or Ask About from the Expert Panel? Best Arrangements for Returning Children under the Abduction Convention and Otherwise.
  • 18 November 2015, Recovery of Child Support and Family Maintenance in Asia Pacific and Worldwide: National and Regional Systems and the Hague 2007 and Protocol Conference, Hong Kong.
  • 18 November 2015, International Hague Network of Judges Meeting, Hong Kong.
  • 19–20 November 2015, Justice and Society Symposium, Cranlana Program, Melbourne.
  • 25 November 2015, Keynote Address, Community West Contact Centre and Victoria Legal Aid Networking Evening, Melbourne: Contact Centres and Child-focused Services.
  • 26 November 2015, College of Law (Brisbane), Advanced Family Law Day, Brisbane: Recent Full Court cases.
  • 26 November 2015, NSW Department of Family and Community Services training day: Best Interests of the Child and the Importance of Aboriginal Culture, Parramatta.
  • 27 November 2015, Parenting Disputes Training Day, Victoria Legal Aid, Melbourne: A Respondent's Perspective in Abduction Cases.
  • 30 November–4 December 2015, Australian Advocacy Institute Workshop (for Securities and Futures Commission), Hong Kong.
  • 11 December 2015, Queensland Law Society, Annual Specialist Accreditation presentation breakfast, Brisbane.
  • 16 December 2015, Domestic Violence and Dowry Abuse workshop with Ms Flavia Agnes (Women's Rights Lawyer and Legal Scholar, India), Melbourne.
  • 21–22 January 2016, Northern Territory Law Society, Family Law Conference, Darwin: Something that caught my eye.
  • 27–29 January 2016, Singapore International Conference on Court Excellence, Singapore: Courts implementation of the International Framework for Court Excellence.
  • 1 February 2016, Panel presentation with the Hon Justice Bromberg, the Hon Justice James Allsop AO, Professor Gillian Triggs, and students from Skyline Foundation, County Court, Melbourne: Community Opening of the Legal Year.
  • 6 February 2016, National Judicial College of Australia, Sentencing Conference, Canberra.
  • 11 February 2016, Judicial College of Victoria, Koori Twilight, Chief Judge Peter Kidd, County Court of Victoria, Melbourne: Judicial Intervention: Managing Counsel.
  • 12–13 February 2016, Australian Advocacy Institute, teacher training, Sydney.
  • 13 February 2016, Law Council of Australia, Family Law Section, Intensive, Sydney: The latest and greatest.
  • 18 February 2016, Victoria Legal Aid, Panel Presentation, Chaired by Leanne Sinclair, Family Violence Program Manager, Melbourne: Launch of Research Brief: Characteristics of Respondents Charged with Breach of Family Violence Intervention Orders.
  • 19 February 2016, Launch of the NSW Legal Aid new National Independent Children's Lawyer's website.
  • 20 February 2016, Australian Advocacy Institute Workshop (for NSW Bar), Orange.
  • 21–26 February 2016, National Judicial College of Australia, Judicial Orientation Program, Glenelg.
  • 26 February 2016, Department of Human Services annual conference, Sydney: Effective advocacy in court proceedings.
  • 27 February 2016, Queensland Family Law Practitioners' Conference, Cairns: Proper resourcing of the family law courts – a national priority.
  • 4–5 March 2016, Legal Aid Child Representation Conference, Wollongong: Crime pays: Finding and using material from associated criminal law proceedings in family law and care proceedings.
  • 4–5 March 2016, Legal Aid Child Representation Conference, Wollongong: Children's Participation – a look towards the future.
  • 4–5 March 2016, Australian Advocacy Institute Workshop for NSW Legal Aid.
  • 7 March 2016, Lecture by Justice Giacomo Oberto, Civil Court of Turin, Italy, Melbourne: Prenuptial Agreements in Contemplation of Divorce: European and Italian Perspectives.
  • 10 March 2016, Cross Examination Round Table, Attorney-General's Department, Melbourne.
  • 10 March 2016, International Commercial Surrogacy Arrangements workshop with Child Dispute Services, Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Justice, Premier and Cabinet, Melbourne.
  • 14 March 2016, Inner Temple London, Lecture, London: The Essential Requirements of Good Advocacy.
  • 14 March 2016, Greater Sydney Family Law Pathways Network, Panel member, Sydney: Family Violence and Trauma – the impact on families.
  • 17 March 2016, Judicial College of Victoria, Koori Twilight Series, Magistrate Ann Collins, including Tammy Anderson's performance of I don't want to play house, Melbourne: Family Violence.
  • 18 March 2016, Queensland Law Society Symposium, Brisbane: Advanced Advocacy for Solicitors.
  • 18 March 2016, NSW Young Lawyers, Continuing Legal Education.
  • 19 March 2016, University of Queensland, family law students, Brisbane: Introduction to the Family Court.
  • 21–23 March 2016, National Judicial College of Australia, Writing Better Judgments Program, Canberra: The first page – more than an introduction.
  • 22 March 2016, NSW College of Law, Sydney: The In/Effective Use of Experts in Property Matters from a Judge's Perspective.
  • 22 March 2016, NSW Specialist Domestic Violence Course, NSW Police Force, Parramatta: Family Law.
  • 22 March 2016, NSW College of Law, Family Law Autumn Intensive, Sydney: Judges Day.
  • 4–5 April 2016, International Social Services, Children and Families Across Borders Conference, Melbourne: International Parental Child Abduction: The Place of the Child.
  • 9 April 2016, Royal History Society of Victoria, Judging for the People: Honouring 175 Years of the Supreme Court in Victoria Conference, Melbourne: Molesworth v Molesworth.
  • 14 April 2016, Family Dispute Resolution Practitioners in Legal Aid, Sydney: Therapeutic Jurisprudence in Family Law.
  • 14 April 2016, Lecture by Ms Yoshiko Ohmachi, Family Court Probation Officer, Japan, Melbourne Law School, Melbourne: Educational Intervention in Japanese Juvenile Proceedings.
  • 15 April 2016, Panel Presentation, Australian Centre for Justice Innovation, Melbourne: Humour and Alternative Dispute Resolution.
  • 15–17 April 2016, Inner Temple Bar, New Practitioners Advocacy Skills Workshop, London.
  • 21 April 2016, Working with Children: A United Kingdom Perspective with Child Dispute Services, registry staff and Professor Judith Masson, School of Law, University of Bristol, Melbourne.
  • 27–29 April 2016, Re-Unite Workshops, Leicester, United Kingdom.
  • 29 April 2016, 24th annual Sir Ninian Stephen lecture, Newcastle.
  • 2–5 May 2016, Fourth Malta Conference (Malta IV) on Cross-Frontier Child Protection and Family Law Conference, Malta: An Overview of the Benefits and Key Features of the Hague 1996 Convention on the International Protection of Children.
  • 7 May 2016, Tasmanian Family Law Practitioners Conference, Cambridge.
  • 7 May 2016, Law Council of Australia, Family Law Section, Intensive, Melbourne: The latest and greatest.
  • 10 May 2015, local legal profession and the NSW Central West Family Law Pathways Network members, Dubbo: The recent case of Saintclaire [2015] FamCAFC 245 and suggestions for particularising undue influence, unconscionability and duress claims.
  • 25–29 May 2016, International Association of Women Judges, Biennial Conference, Washington DC.
  • 26 May 2016, Family Law Practitioners Association, young practitioners early career lawyers training, Brisbane: running a protection order matter from start to finish; evidence 101; how to stop worrying and love business valuations; the different pathways to parenthood: surrogacy and other roads less travelled.
  • 27 May 2016, Australasian Institute of Judicial Administration, Challenges of Social Media for Courts and Tribunals symposium, Melbourne.
  • 1 June 2016, Women's Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Program Forum, Sydney.
  • 1 June 2016, Queensland Bar Association, Junior Bar Advocacy Course, Brisbane.
  • 1–4 June 2016, 53rd AFCC Annual Conference, Seattle: Global Responses to Family Violence: 'Grave Risk' and 'Best Interests' Compared.
  • 9–11 June 2016, LAWASIA conference, Hong Kong.
  • 15–17 June 2016, Australasian Institute of Judicial Administration, Family Violence Conference, Melbourne.
  • 16 June 2016, Judicial College of Victoria, Koori Twilight, Chaired by Justice Mordy Bromberg, County Court of Victoria, Melbourne: Communicating with Indigenous Witnesses.
  • 25 June 2016, Law Council of Australia, Family Law Section, Intensive, Darwin: The latest and greatest.
  • 29–30 June 2016, Asia Pacific Symposium on the 1980 Hague Convention, Tokyo.

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 2015–16 the Family Court's judicial representative on the Family Law Council was Justice Benjamin AM from the Hobart registry. Justice Benjamin was also re-appointed as a part-time Deputy President of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal in November 2015 for a further five years.

Justice Benjamin is a Chair of the Family Court's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Outreach Committee and Chair of the Joint Courts Costs Committee. His Honour continues to serve on the Academic Committee of College of Law, including the continuing development of Master qualifications for practitioners in family law. Justice Benjamin lectures at the University of Tasmania once per year and provides papers for local legal profession conferences such as the Family Law Practitioners Association conference and Independent Children's Lawyer conference. Justice Benjamin also continues to be part of the Tasmanian Centre for Legal Studies' Legal Practice Course and participated in a one day moot in May 2016 with the students.

Justice May from the Brisbane registry is Past President and member of the Australasian Institute of Judicial Administration; Fellow of the Australian Academy of Law; Member of the Australian Association of Women Judges; Member of the Bar Association of Queensland; Judicial Fellow of the International Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers; and Advisory Board member of the Judges Forum of the International Bar Association.

Justice Ainslie-Wallace from the Sydney registry is Master of the Honourable Society of the Inner Temple London; Fellow of the Australian Academy of Law; Chair, College of Law Master of Applied Law [Family Law] Advisory Committee; Adjunct Professor of Law, University of Technology, Sydney; Chair of the Australian Advocacy Institute (AAI); Chair of the AAI Management Committee; Visiting Faculty Member National Institute for Trial Advocacy (USA); Committee Member College of Law Dispute Resolution Advisory Committee; Council Member National Judicial College of Australia; and UTS High Achiever program mentor.

Justice Murphy from the Brisbane registry is a Member of the Advisory Board of the World Congress on Family Law and Children's Rights; Governing Council Member of the Judicial Conference of Australia; Member of the National Judicial College of Australia's Judgment Writing Committee; Member of the Family Law Section of the Law Council of Australia's National Advisory Council; Member of the College of Law's Applied Family Law Advisory Committee; Member of the Judicial Education Committee of the Family Court of Australia; Member of the International Association of Court Administration; Member of the Queensland Bar Association; Member of the Family Law Practitioners Association; and Chair of the Court Excellence Committee.

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 the judge representing the Family Court on the Council of Chief Justices Rules Harmonisation Committee and is President of the Australian Chapter of the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts.

Justice Berman from the Adelaide registry is a member of the Judicial Council on Cultural Diversity (a national body convened by the Chief Justice of the High Court and other Heads of Jurisdiction).

Justice Aldridge from the Sydney registry is the Family Court representative on the Consultative Council for Australian Law Reporting. Justice Aldridge also taught with the Australian Advocacy Institute in Hong Kong, Perth, Darwin, Sydney and Wollongong.

Justice Forrest from the Brisbane registry participated in meetings of the Queensland Courts' Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Justice Committee and travelled to Timor Leste for six weeks in June and July 2016 and participated in experience sharing with judges and advocacy training of local lawyers.

Justice McClelland from the Sydney registry is Professorial Visiting Fellow of the University of New South Wales. Justice McClelland completed the National Judicial College of Australia's 'Self-Represented Litigants and Accused: International Perspectives' online seminar program. Justice McClelland also presented the annual awards at the NSW Legal Aid Family Law Conference in August 2015 and participated in the NSW Bar Practice Course 'Day with Judges' component in September 2015 and May 2016.

Justice Bennett from the Melbourne registry is a member of the Judicial Officers Aboriginal Cultural Awareness Committee, which is chaired by the Hon Justice Kaye of the Supreme Court of Victoria; Member of the Law Institute of Victoria Courts Practise Committee; Member of the Independent Children's Lawyer's User Group Committee; Member of the Japan Delegation Committee; Member of the Magistrates Court of Victoria, Family Violence Taskforce; Chair of the Court Liaison Committee and Member of the Court's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Outreach Committee and Court Education Committee.

Judges are also 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 hold informal meetings with members of the legal profession and participate in stakeholder meetings. Judges are often asked to speak at secondary schools and lecture at law schools about particular topics and their work generally.

For example, Justice Strickland was involved in continuing legal development with the Law Society of South Australia and Adelaide Law School GDLP Advocacy Coaching Clinics.

Justice Bennett met with year 11 and 12 Thornbury High Indigenous students (as part of their half day exposure to the Court program). Justice Bennett also met with 12 students from Japan's CHUO University's Summer School program.

Justice Bennett from the Melbourne registry is primary contact judge designated for Australia to the International Hague Network of Judges. During 2015–16, Justice Bennett undertook direct (case specific) judicial communication with the following countries:

  • Argentina – judicial communication, mirror orders
  • Hungary – judicial communication
  • Canada – mirror orders
  • Trinidad and Tobago – court procedure
  • New Zealand – meditation, mirror orders
  • Singapore – complimentary orders, court proceedings, mediation
  • United Kingdom – mirror orders, and
  • United States – judicial communication, mirror orders.

Justice Bennett also undertook the following general network judicial communications:

  • 2 June 2016: the Chief Justice and Justice Bennett met with Professor Douglas Frankel and Debra Carter to discuss developments in Hague mediations and The Hague Convention Mediation Project being run by the University of Pennsylvania
  • 26 May 2016: the Chief Justice and Justice Bennett met with Ambassador Susan Jacobs, United States Special Adviser for Children's Issues, US State Department in Washington DC to discuss Hague issues including
    • Implications of the enforcement or return orders in Japan
    • Securing relief from prosecution for returning parents for international parental child abduction between Australia and the United States of America
    • Hague issues in our Asia region
  • Law Council of Australia: International Parental Child Abduction Legal Resource (Family Law Section of the Law Council of Australia) sent to judicial network colleagues around the world, and
  • Distribution of a USB at the Malta Conference containing procedures within each Hague Network of Judges' jurisdiction 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.

Legal Associates Professional Development Program

Judges of the Family Court presented seminars to our legal associates on areas of expertise or special focus in an ongoing legal associates' professional development program. This program provides legal associates with an opportunity to learn more about a particular area of law and to develop a deeper understanding of the range of issues that come before the Court. In addition, their Honours shared with the legal associates their personal career experiences. Seminars to date have been on the following topics:

  • The Honourable Justice Bennett: Key differences between the 1980 and 1996 Hague Conventions.
  • The Honourable Justice Berman: International Commercial Surrogacy – findings in Bernieres & Dhopal [2015] Fam CA 736.
  • The Honourable Justice May: Being a Judge in the Appeal Division.
  • The Honourable Justice Coate: Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

Victoria University Internship Program

The Victoria University Internship Program is joint initiative with the Court and Victoria University. It is a five day program run over the semester. The program provides interns with an opportunity to witness the inner workings of a federal court, including observing different stages of court proceedings, as well as meeting with judges, associates, registrars, family consultants and court staff to hear about career paths and opportunities.

Included in the program is a lunch with the profession and afternoon tea with current and former associates, and discussions on post-court proceedings with the Chief Justice and Melbourne judges.

The Court hosted the first program from August to December 2015 in which eight students participated and the second program from March to May 2016 in which 10 students participated.

Membership of professional associations

Judges of the Family Court are members of various professional organisations, some of which include:

  • Association of Family and Conciliation Courts
  • Association of International Family Judges
  • Australasian Institute of Judicial Administration Incorporated
  • Australian Academy of Law
  • Australian and New Zealand Association of Psychiatry, Psychology and Law
  • Australian Association of Women Judges
  • Australian Centre for Justice Innovation
  • Australian and New Zealand Association of Psychiatry, Psychology and Law
  • Bar Association of Queensland
  • Centre for Childhood Development and Education
  • Council of Australasian Tribunals Inc.
  • Family Law Council
  • Family Law Section of the Law Council of Australia
  • International Association of Court Administration
  • International Association of Women Judges
  • International Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers
  • International Bar Association
  • Judicial Conference of Australia
  • Judicial Council on Cultural Diversity
  • Judicial Officers Aboriginal Cultural Awareness Committee
  • LawAsia
  • Law Society of South Australia
  • Menzies School of Health Research
  • National Judicial College of Australia
  • NSW Bar Association
  • NSW Law Society
  • Victorian Bar Association.

Appendix Eleven

International visitors

During 2015–16, the Court had visitors and worked with delegations from the following countries.

Board of Imams Victoria

Justice Johns of the Melbourne registry along with Leisha Lister (Executive Officer), Manuela Galvao (Regional Coordinator, Child Dispute Services) and Rasheel Kaur (Senior Registrar) hosted representatives from the Board of Imams Victoria on 31 May 2016 to discuss divorce and family law in Australia. The programme was organised by the Sir Zelman Cowen Centre which provides legal education, training and research as well as support services on law-related topics to industry, government and the community.

Representatives from the Board of Imams Victoria and Family Court staff
Representatives from the Board of Imams Victoria and Family Court staff

Denmark

In February 2016, the Court participated in teleconferences with staff from the Denmark Ministry for Children, Gender Equality, Integration and Social Affairs who are currently reviewing the Danish system, particularly around cooperative parenting, and are interested the Australian model. The Danish delegation sought information about the Australian family law system.

Fiji

In August 2015, the Court assisted the Fiji Women's Rights Movement with their scoping study to document women's experiences in utilising Family Court services and their experiences of the Family Law Act, Domestic Violence and Crimes Decree. The scoping study focuses on what are the varied experiences of women in accessing justice in terms of the family law system; and the barriers that women in Fiji face to access the family law services.

India

In December 2015, in conjunction with the Asia Law Centre at the University of Melbourne, the Chief Justice hosted Ms Flavia Agnes, a senior legal scholar, author, and women's rights activist and a leading thinker in family law in India, at the Melbourne registry. Ms Agnes has written and published extensively on minorities and the law, gender and law, law in the context of women's movements, and on issues of domestic violence and feminist jurisprudence.

Italy

On 7 March, Justice Bennett's chambers hosted a lunch for visiting Italian judge, Justice Giacomo Oberto. The lunch was part of a broader visit with Justice Tony Pagone of the Federal Court.

The lunch was attended by Family Court and Federal Circuit Court judges, including Chief Justice Diana Bryant AO. Discussion topics included family law in Italy, money cases, pre-nuptial issues, judicial networking and rule of law. During his stay, Justice Oberto gave a lecture at Melbourne University titled 'Prenuptial agreements in contemplation of divorce: European and Italian perspectives'. He also attended and presented at a number of seminars and events as part of his visit with the Federal Court. Justice Oberto has been a judge of the Civil Court of Turin since 1984, where he deals with civil and commercial law cases. His professional appointments include Italian delegate to the Second Study Commission of the International Association of Judges since 1991, and Secretary-General to the International Association of Judges since November 1991.

From left: Chief Justice Diana Bryant AO, Justice Giacomo Oberto and Justice Victoria Bennett
From left: Chief Justice Diana Bryant AO, Justice Giacomo Oberto and Justice Victoria Bennett

Japan

May 2015

Ms Satomi Asaki, a Family Court Probation Officer from the Fukuoka High Court and visiting scholar at the ANU, spent time at the National Support Office to investigate ICT systems in the Court, in particular the video-link system, IT equipment in the courtroom and the Commonwealth Courts Portal.

August 2015

Parramatta registry welcomed Judge Taku Okada, Assistant Judge, Osaka District Court, Sakai Branch, Japan, to discuss the provision of human resources and judicial education.

Image of Paramatta registry staff with Judge Taku Okada, Assistant Judge, Osaka District Court, Sakai Branch, Japan, to discuss the provision of human resources and judicial education
From left: Jaimol Poovakkulathuchacko (Team Leader Registry Services), Sue McLear (Team Leader Judicial Services), Mark Palmer (Senior Family Consultant), Paul Le Large (Registry Manager), Hidekazu Nozawa (Hiroshima High Court), Sally Mashman (Manager NEC), Judge Taku Okada (Japan)
September 2015

In conjunction with the Asian Law Centre of the Melbourne University, delegates from the Court, headed by the Honourable Justice Benjamin, travelled to Japan to undertake co-mediation training in September 2015 and to assist participants in the Australia/Japan Co-Mediation Initiative in Hague Matters. Training in Japan went a long way to formulating a Hague Co-Mediation model to reflect the needs of families in cross border family disputes between Australia and Japan. For more information see page 8.

February 2016

Parramatta registry hosted Judge Okada and Senior Administrator Hidekazu Nozawa from Japan. The Court assisted the delegation's research in the area of access to justice and client services.

February 2016

National Support Office hosted a visit of Yoshiko Ohmachi, Family Court Probation Officer in Japan and Mr Takuya, Assistant Director in the Personnel Division of the Secretariat of the Nagoya District Court. The delegation was interested in information technology, especially the Commonwealth Court's Portal and eFiling.

Malaysia

In May 2016, Dr Norliah Ibrahim (Associate Professor, Ahmad Ibrahim Kulliyyah of Laws, International Islamic University Malaysia) and Prof Dr Zuhairah Ariff Abd Ghadas (Dean, Faculty of Law and International Relations, University Sultan Zainal Abidin, Malaysia) visited the Melbourne registry to discuss: the basis of law for determining matrimonial property relating to intangible interests; the Court's approach to claims of increase in earnings as matrimonial property; the Court's view on claims of future interest such as prospective business profits/ assets and interest in investments as claims of matrimonial property; and whether the principle for the best interest of the children be applied in matrimonial property claims

Myanmar

In November 2015, Ms Tin Nwe Soe (Director, Office of the Supreme Court of the Union) and Ms Khin Myo Myo Su Kyaw (Staff Officer, Office of the Supreme Court of the Union) visited the Sydney registry to discuss efficiency, judicial independence and public confidence in courts.

Republic of Korea

On 1 June 2016, the Director of the Child Support Agency (CSA) of Korea, SUN HEE LEE, and five CSA officers visited the Parramatta registry gain a better understanding of Australia's child support policy in order to improve the provision of child support services in Korea. The visit was part of a five-day tour of New Zealand and Australia and the visit to the Parramatta included presentations from Sally Cole and Jim McCulloch of the Child Support Service of Legal Aid NSW.

Sri Lanka

In March 2016, in conjunction with the Deakin Law School, the Chief Justice hosted a delegation of judges from Sri Lanka.

Thailand and Cambodia

In July 2015, as part of the Australian Aid funded programme, Australia-Asia Program to combat trafficking in persons (AAPTIP), the Family Court participated in several roundtable discussions with the judiciary from both Cambodia and Thailand.

The roundtables in Thailand focussed on the particular needs of vulnerable witnesses, children and human trafficking victims; protection of witnesses, including in-court services available to vulnerable witnesses; and case-flow management.

In Cambodia they focussed on: victim witness issues in the human trafficking context; victim-witness protection in the Australian context, with a focus on minors; and an overview of AAPTIP projects focused on victim-witness protection.

Roundtable participants in Bangkok, Thailand
Roundtable participants in Bangkok, Thailand

Trinidad and Tobago

In June 2016, through the National Center for State Courts, the Family Court assisted the United Nations Development Programme Juvenile Court Project in Barataria in the area of public confidence in courts, transparency and the online publishing of judgments.

Vanuatu

In August 2015, through the Australian Aid funded Police and Justice Support Program in Vanuatu, the Sydney registry hosted two court administrators from the Vanuatu Courts to assist them to gain a better understanding of case management and data collection.

Vietnam

In August 2015, in conjunction with UNICEF and the Supreme People's Court of Vietnam, the Chief Justice and Leisha Lister participated in a two-day meeting in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) to assist the Supreme People's Court of Vietnam with the current reform of Vietnam's Civil Code and Civil Procedure Code and Vietnam's newly established (but yet to be operationalised) Juvenile and Family Court. The Court will have jurisdiction over family law matters where children are involved. The two-day meeting was very successful and the Family Court was able to share with participants, details on how the Court determines the best interests of the child and about medical procedures that require court authorisation.

Common Law and Commonwealth Conference

Chief Justice Diana Bryant AO and the panel of international experts
Chief Justice Diana Bryant AO and the panel of international experts

Chief Justice Diana Bryant hosted the Commonwealth and Common Law International Family Justice Conference in Coogee in November 2015. The international judicial meeting stimulated discussion on a range of topics within the wider theme of our common law and commonwealth alliance within family law. The meeting brought together 80 justices from around the world to exchange views, create resolutions, encourage commonality of approach and build bridges between differing systems of family law. Some of the important topics covered by the panel of international experts included international relocation, the Hague Abduction and Protection Conventions, the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, inter-country adoption and surrogacy. The meeting also provided an opportunity to promote and nurture relationships with countries that are not yet parties to the Hague Conventions.

Appendix Twelve

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

Link to live chat

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

Email: enquiries@familylawcourts.gov.au

Family Court website: www.familycourt.gov.au

Federal Circuit Court website: www.federalcircuitcourt.gov.au

Twitter: @FamilyCourtAU

YouTube: www.youtube.com/user/familycourtAU

Family law registries

Australian Capital Territory

Canberra
Nigel Bowen Commonwealth Law Courts
Cnr University Ave and Childers Street
Canberra ACT 2600
(GPO Box 9991, Canberra ACT 2601)

New South Wales

Albury
Level 1, 463 Kiewa Street
Albury NSW 2640
(PO Box 914, Albury NSW 2640)
Dubbo
Cnr Macquarie and Wingewarra Streets
Dubbo NSW 2830
(PO Box 1567, Dubbo NSW 2830)
Lismore
Level 2, 29–31 Molesworth Street
Lismore NSW 2480
(PO Box 9, Lismore NSW 2480)
Newcastle
61 Bolton Street
Newcastle NSW 2300
(PO Box 9991, Newcastle NSW 2300)
Parramatta
Garfield Barwick Commonwealth Law Courts
1–3 George Street
Parramatta NSW 2124
(PO Box 9991, Parramatta NSW 2124)
Sydney
Lionel Bowen Commonwealth Law Courts
97–99 Goulburn Street
Sydney NSW 2000
(GPO Box 9991, Sydney NSW 2001)
Wollongong
Level 1, 43 Burelli Street
Wollongong NSW 2500
(PO Box 825, Wollongong NSW 2500)

Northern Territory

Alice Springs
Westpoint Building
Cnr Railway Terrace and Stott Terrace
Alice Springs NT 0870
(GPO Box 9991, Darwin NT 0801)
Darwin
Supreme Court Building
State Square
Darwin NT 0800
(GPO Box 9991, Darwin NT 0801)

Queensland

Brisbane
Harry Gibbs Commonwealth Law Courts
119 North Quay
Brisbane QLD 4000
(GPO Box 9991, Brisbane QLD 4001)
Cairns
Commonwealth Government Centre
Level 3 and 4, 104 Grafton Street
Cairns QLD 4870
(PO Box 9991, Cairns QLD 4870)
Rockhampton
Virgil Power Building
Ground Floor
46 East Street (Cnr Fitzroy Street)
Rockhampton QLD 4700
(PO Box 9991, Rockhampton QLD 4700)
Townsville
Level 2, Commonwealth Centre
143 Walker Street
Townsville QLD 4810
(PO Box 9991, Townsville QLD 4810)

South Australia

Adelaide
Roma Mitchell Commonwealth Law Courts
3 Angas Street
Adelaide SA 5000
(GPO Box 9991, Adelaide SA 5001)

Tasmania

Hobart
Edward Braddon Commonwealth Law Courts
39–41 Davey Street
Hobart TAS 7000
(GPO Box 9991, Hobart TAS 7001)
Launceston
Level 3, ANZ Building
Cnr Brisbane and George Streets
Launceston TAS 7250
(PO Box 9991, Launceston TAS 7250)

Victoria

Dandenong

 

53–55 Robinson Street
Dandenong VIC 3175
(PO Box 9991, Dandenong VIC 3175)
Melbourne

 

Owen Dixon Commonwealth Law Courts
305 William Street
Melbourne VIC 3000
(GPO Box 9991, Melbourne VIC 3001)

Western Australia

Perth

Family Court of Western Australia

Peter Durack Commonwealth Law Courts
150 Terrace Road
Perth WA 6000
(GPO Box 9991, Perth WA 6848)
08 9224 8222