Appendix 10: Annual Performance Statement

Federal Court of Australia Annual Report 2017-2018

Annual Performance Statement

Introductory statement

I, Warwick Soden, as the accountable authority of the Federal Court of Australia, present the 2017–18 annual performance statements for the entity, as required under paragraph 39(1)(a) of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (PGPA Act).

In my opinion, these annual performance statements are based on properly maintained records, accurately reflect the performance of the entity, and comply with subsection 39(2) of the PGPA Act.

Warwick Soden
Chief Executive Officer and Principal Registrar
Federal Court of Australia

Outcome 1

Apply and uphold the rule of law for litigants in the Federal Court of Australia and parties in the National Native Title Tribunal through the resolution of matters according to law and through the effective management of the administrative affairs of the Court and Tribunal

Program 1.1: Federal Court of Australia

Outcome 2

Apply and uphold the rule of law for litigants in the Family Court of Australia through the resolution of family law matters according to law, particularly more complex family law matters, and through the effective management of the administrative affairs of the Court

Program 2.1: Family Court of Australia

Outcome 3

Apply and uphold the rule of law for litigants in the Federal Circuit Court of Australia through more informal and streamlined resolution of family law and general federal law matters according to law, through the encouragement of appropriate dispute resolution processes and through the effective management of the administrative affairs of the Court

Program 3.1: Federal Circuit Court of Australia

Outcome 4

Improved administration and support of the resolution of matters according to law for litigants in the Federal Court of Australia, the Family Court of Australia and the Federal Circuit Court of Australia and parties in the National Native Title Tribunal through efficient and effective provision of shared corporate services

Program 4.1: Commonwealth Courts Corporate Services

Federal Court of Australia

The relationship between the Federal Court's Portfolio Budget Statements, its corporate plan and annual performance statement

Outcome One

Program 1.1: Federal Court of Australia

Purpose

  • Decide disputes according to the law as quickly, inexpensively and efficiently as possible.

Delivery

  • Exercising the jurisdiction of the Federal Court of Australia.
  • Supporting the operations of the National Native Title Tribunal.

Performance criterion

Timely completion of cases

  • 85 per cent of cases completed within 18 months of commencement
  • Judgments to be delivered within three months.

Criterion source

  • Table 2.3: Performance criteria for Outcome 1, Federal Court of Australia Portfolio Budget Statements 2017–18
  • Federal Court of Australia Corporate Plan 2017–2018.

Results

Timely completion of cases
TargetResult 2017–18Target status
85 per cent of cases completed within 18 months of commencement93 per cent of cases were completed within 18 months of commencementTarget met
Judgments to be delivered within three months79 per cent of judgments were delivered in three monthsTarget met

The Court met both targets in relation to timely completion of cases:

  • 85 per cent of cases completed within 18 months of commencement

In the reporting period, the Court disposed of 92.6 per cent within 18 months of commencement. This figure includes appeals and related actions and excludes native title cases. This is well above the target rate of 85 per cent.

  • Judgments to be delivered within three months

The Court has a goal of delivering reserved judgments within a period of three months. Success in meeting this goal depends upon the complexity of the case and the pressure of other business upon the Court.

During 2017–18, the Court handed down 2028 judgments for 1743 court files (some files involve more than one judgment being delivered, e.g. interlocutory decisions and sometimes, one judgment will cover multiple files).

This is an increase of 312 judgments from last financial year. The data indicates that 82 per cent of appeals (both full court and single judge) were delivered within three months and 79 per cent of judgments at first instance were delivered within three months of the date of being reserved.

A detailed analysis on the performance of the Federal Court can be found in Part 3 and Appendix 5.

Outcome Two

Program 2.1: Family Court of Australia

Purpose

  • To help Australians resolve their most complex family disputes by deciding matters according to the law, promptly, courteously and effectively.

Delivery

  • Exercising the jurisdiction of the Family Court of Australia.

The Family Court of Australia is a separate Chapter III court under the Australian Constitution and the performance criteria applicable to the Court are identified in the 2017–18 Federal Court of Australia Portfolio Budget Statements and in the Federal Court of Australia Corporate Plan 2017–2018.

This program was previously part of the Family Court and Federal Circuit Court. The program was transferred to the Federal Court of Australia with effect from 1 July 2016 by the Courts Administration Legislation Amendment Act 2016.

Performance criterion

Timely completion of cases

  • Clearance rate of 100 per cent
  • 75 per cent of judgments to be delivered within three months
  • 75 per cent of cases pending conclusion to be less than 12 months old.

Criterion source

  • Table 2.5: Performance criteria for Outcome 2, Federal Court of Australia Portfolio Budget Statements 2017–18
  • Federal Court of Australia Corporate Plan 2017–2018.

Results

Timely completion of cases
TargetResult 2017–18Target status
Clearance rate of 100 per centThe clearance rate was 100 per centTarget met
75 per cent of judgments to be delivered within three months75 per cent of judgments were delivered within three monthsTarget met
75 per cent of cases pending conclusion to be less than 12 months old67 per cent of cases pending conclusion were less than 12 months oldTarget not met

In 2017–18, the FCoA achieved two targets and was unable to achieve one. The Court achieved a clearance rate of 100 per cent, improving on the clearance rate of 98 per cent in 2016–17. The FCoA aims to deliver 75 per cent of reserved judgments within three months of completion of a trial. In 2017–18, 75 per cent of the 1044 reserved original jurisdiction judgments (excluding judgments on appeal cases) were delivered within that timeframe. The FCoA also aims to have more than 75 per cent of its pending applications less than 12 months old. At 30 June 2018, 67 per cent of pending applications were less than 12 months old, compared with 68 per cent at 30 June 2017.

Outcome Three

Program 3.1: Federal Circuit Court of Australia

Purpose

  • To provide a simple and accessible alternative to litigation in the Family Court and Federal Court.
  • To provide efficient and effective registry services to assist the respective courts to achieve their stated purpose.

Delivery

  • Exercising the jurisdiction of the Federal Circuit Court of Australia.
  • Providing an efficient and effective registry service to the public.

The Federal Circuit Court of Australia remains a separate Chapter III court under the Australian Constitution and the performance criteria applicable to the Court is identified in the 2017–18 Federal Court of Australia Portfolio Budget Statements and in the Federal Court Corporate Plan 2017–2018.

This program was previously part of the Family Court and Federal Circuit Court. The program was transferred to the Federal Court of Australia with effect from 1 July 2016 by the Courts Administration Legislation Amendment Act 2016.

Performance criterion

Timely completion of cases

  • 90 per cent of final order applications disposed of within 12 months
  • 90 per cent of all other applications disposed of within six months
  • 70 per cent of matters resolved prior to trial.

Timely registry services

  • 75 per cent of counter enquiries served within 20 minutes
  • 80 per cent of National Enquiry Centre telephone enquiries answered within 90 seconds
  • 80 per cent of email enquiries responded to within two working days
  • 75 per cent of applications lodged processed within two working days.

Criterion source

  • Table 2.7: Performance criteria for Outcome 3, Federal Court of Australia Portfolio Budget Statements 2017–18
  • Federal Court of Australia Corporate Plan 2017–2018.

Results

Timely completion of cases
TargetResult 2017–18Target status
90 per cent of final order applications disposed of within 12 months62 per cent of final order applications were disposed of within 12 monthsTarget not met
90 per cent of all other applications disposed of within six months91 per cent of all other applications were disposed of within six monthsTarget met
70 per cent of matters resolved prior to trial72 per cent of matters were resolved prior to trialTarget met

Timely registry services
TargetResult 2017–18Target status
75 per cent of counter enquiries served within 20 minutes93 per cent of counter enquiries were served within 20 minutesTarget met
80 per cent of National Enquiry Centre telephone enquiries answered within 90 seconds18 per cent of National Enquiry Centre telephone enquiries were answered within 90 secondsTarget not met
80 per cent of email enquiries responded to within two working days100 per cent of email enquiries were responded to within two working daysTarget met
75 per cent of applications lodged processed within two working days98 per cent of applications lodged were processed within two working daysTarget met

In 2017–18 the Federal Circuit Court achieved two targets under timely completion of cases and was unable to achieve one. This is an improvement in performance from last financial year. In the area of timely registry services, the Federal Circuit Court achieved three targets and was unable to achieve one. A detailed analysis on the performance of the Federal Circuit Court can be found in Part 3 of the Federal Circuit Court of Australia's 2016–17 Annual Report.

Outcome Four

Program 4.1: Commonwealth Courts Corporate Services

Purpose

  • To provide efficient and effective corporate services to the Commonwealth courts and the National Native Title Tribunal.

Delivery

  • Providing efficient and effective corporate services for the Commonwealth courts and the National Native Title Tribunal.

Performance criterion

Efficient and effective corporate services

  • Corporate services to be provided within the agreed funding
  • Performance benchmarks as set out in the memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the courts to be met.

Criterion source

  • Table 2.9: Performance criteria for Outcome 4, Federal Court of Australia Portfolio Budget Statements 2017–18
  • Federal Court of Australia Corporate Plan 2017–2018.

Results

Efficient and effective corporate services
TargetResult 2017–18Target status
Corporate services to be provided within the agreed fundingThis target has been achieved with Corporate Services achieving savings in the 2017–18 financial yearTarget met
Performance benchmarks as set out in the memorandum of understanding between the courtsMeasures as identified through the consultative process for 2017–18 financial year achievedTarget met

The key outcome measure for Corporate Services is improved administration and support for the resolution of matters according to law for litigants in the Federal Court of Australia, the Family Court of Australia and the Federal Circuit Court of Australia and parties in the National Native Title Tribunal, through efficient and effective provision of shared corporate services.

The intent of the merger of the courts' corporate services is to deliver short-term savings and place the courts on a sustainable funding footing over the longer term, ensuring they are better placed to deliver services to litigants. The ability of Corporate Services to meet budget and projected average staffing numbers are the metrics that will be used to measure performance.

A detailed analysis on the performance of Corporate Services can be found in Part 4 (Management of the Court).


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