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Report on Government Services 2015

Chapter 7, Volume C

Courts

The focus of the Courts chapter (chapter 7) of the Report on Government Services is the court administration functions of Australian and State and Territory courts.

Data are reported for the Federal Court, the Family Court of Australia and the Federal Circuit Court, the criminal and civil jurisdictions of the supreme courts (including probate registries), district/county courts, magistrates' courts (including children's courts), coroners' courts and the Family Court of WA.

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  • Key Facts
  • Indicator Framework
  • Indicator Results

In 2013-14, in the criminal jurisdiction of the supreme, district/county and magistrates' courts, approximately 843 100 cases were lodged, and 854 100 cases were finalised. In the civil jurisdiction of these same courts there were approximately 458 200 cases lodged and 477 200 cases finalised. In the Australian courts, approximately 117 000 cases were lodged, and approximately 114 300 cases finalised.

Total court administration recurrent expenditure less income (excluding fines) by the court authorities covered in this chapter was approximately $1.33 billion in 2013-14, comprising $1.1 billion for the State and Territory courts and $228.2 million for the Australian courts.

Common objectives for court services across Australia are: to be open and accessible; to process matters in an expeditious and timely manner; to provide due process and equal protection before the law; and to be independent yet publicly accountable for performance.

The performance indicator framework provides information on equity, efficiency and effectiveness, and distinguishes the outputs and outcomes of courts. The performance indicator framework shows which data are complete and comparable in the 2015 Report.

Indicator Framework

An overview of the Courts performance indicator results are presented. Information to assist the interpretation of these data can be found in the indicator interpretation boxes in the Courts chapter and attachment tables.

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Equity (access) indicators

Fees paid by applicants

Data for this indicator comparable, subject to caveats (chapter 7).

Average civil court fees collected per lodgment, 2013-14 ($).
  NSW Vic Qld WA SA Tas ACT NT Aus Gov Aust
Supreme / Federal (excl. probate) 2981 1637 1911 2134 3064 703 2575 1762 3726 2512
District / County 1660 1811 950 974 1012 .. .. .. .. 1374
Magistrates 149 218 123 118 117 78 197 59 .. 154
Family courts .. .. .. 377 .. .. .. .. 213 283
Fed Circuit Court .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 549 549

Legend: .. Not applicable
Source: Attachment table 7A.18.

Judicial officers

Data for this indicator comparable, subject to caveats (chapter 7).

Full time equivalent, 2013-14.
  NSW Vic Qld WA SA Tas ACT NT Aus Gov Aust
Total number 264.2 245.3 152.2 123.6 72.0 20.8 13.0 24.4 159.2 1074.7
Number per 100 000 people 3.5 4.2 3.2 4.8 4.3 4.0 3.4 10.1 0.7 4.6

Source: Attachment table 7A.27.

Effectiveness (access) indicator

Backlog

Data for this indicator comparable, subject to caveats (chapter 7).

Criminal matters
Higher (appeal) — Percentage of lodgments pending completion as at 30 June — 2013-14.
  NSW Vic Qld WA SA Tas ACT NT Aus Gov Aust
>12 months 3.3 7.4 7.2 5.2 8.6 5.9 3.7 9.1 .. ..
>24 months 0.8 0.8 0.5 1.0 .. ..

Legend: .. Not applicable; – Nil or rounded to zero
Source: Attachment tables 7A.19 and 7A.21.

Higher (non-appeal) — Percentage of lodgments pending completion as at 30 June — 2013-14.
  NSW Vic Qld WA SA Tas ACT NT Aus Gov Aust
>12 months 19.3 17.3 13.1 6.8 19.6 26.4 17.6 2.8 .. ..
>24 months 2.9 3.2 4.8 1.1 4.1 6.0 6.3 .. ..

Legend: .. Not applicable; – Nil or rounded to zero
Source: Attachment tables 7A.19 and 7A.21.

Magistrates — Percentage of lodgments pending completion as at 30 June — 2013-14.
  NSW Vic Qld WA SA Tas ACT NT Aus Gov Aust
>6 months 11.7 25.4 29.8 26.9 25.0 26.9 24.5 29.1 .. ..
>12 months 1.7 7.8 12.2 8.3 9.0 11.8 6.7 11.0 .. ..

Legend: .. Not applicable
Source: Attachment tables 7A.19 and 7A.21.

Children's — Percentage of lodgments pending completion as at 30 June — 2013-14.
  NSW Vic Qld WA SA Tas ACT NT Aus Gov Aust
>6 months 14.5 13.0 25.5 19.1 16.9 22.1 25.8 25.9 .. ..
>12 months 1.6 4.5 9.4 6.9 4.9 10.4 12.1 10.5 .. ..

Legend: .. Not applicable
Source: Attachment tables 7A.19 and 7A.21.

Civil matters
Higher (appeal) — Percentage of lodgments pending completion as at 30 June — 2013-14.
  NSW Vic Qld WA SA Tas ACT NT Aus Gov Aust
>12 months 16.5 12.4 4.6 14.8 9.5 18.0 43.0 5.4 0.6 ..
>24 months 3.8 2.7 2.0 1.6 6.0 15.1 0.6 ..

Legend: .. Not applicable; – Nil or rounded to zero
Source: Attachment tables 7A.19 and 7A.21.

Higher (non-appeal) — Percentage of lodgments pending completion as at 30 June — 2013-14.
  NSW Vic Qld WA SA Tas ACT NT Aus Gov Aust
>12 months 25.6 29.6 22.8 38.2 48.9 31.6 34.0 29.9 28.8 ..
>24 months 8.4 13.9 5.4 14.3 21.2 9.0 11.1 13.8 19.0 ..

Legend: .. Not applicable
Source: Attachment tables 7A.19 and 7A.21.

Magistrates — Percentage of lodgments pending completion as at 30 June — 2013-14.
  NSW Vic Qld WA SA Tas ACT NT Aus Gov Aust
>6 months 24.5 35.6 42.1 41.9 45.3 42.7 40.7 35.6 .. ..
>12 months 0.5 20.6 7.3 8.0 15.7 11.1 14.5 5.8 .. ..

Legend: .. Not applicable
Source: Attachment tables 7A.19 and 7A.21..

Family (appeal) — Percentage of lodgments pending completion as at 30 June — 2013-14.
  NSW Vic Qld WA SA Tas ACT NT Aus Gov Aust
>12 months .. .. .. 29.2 .. .. .. .. 38.4 ..
>24 months .. .. .. 8.3 .. .. .. .. 13.1 ..

Legend: .. Not applicable
Source: Attachment tables 7A.19 and 7A.21.

Family (non-appeal) — Percentage of lodgments pending completion as at 30 June — 2013-14.
  NSW Vic Qld WA SA Tas ACT NT Aus Gov Aust
>12 months .. .. .. 31.9 .. .. .. .. 25.5 ..
>24 months .. .. .. 14.1 .. .. .. .. 10.7 ..

Legend: .. Not applicable
Source: Attachment tables 7A.19 and 7A.21.

Federal Circuit — Percentage of lodgments pending completion as at 30 June — 2013-14.
  NSW Vic Qld WA SA Tas ACT NT Aus Gov Aust
>6 months .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 34.1 ..
>12 months .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 14.0 ..

Legend: .. Not applicable
Source: Attachment tables 7A.19 and 7A.21.

Coroners' — Percentage of lodgments pending completion as at 30 June — 2013-14.
  NSW Vic Qld WA SA Tas ACT NT Aus Gov Aust
>12 months 35.5 32.5 27.9 22.0 25.3 36.4 35.3 29.2 .. ..
>24 months 24.6 15.3 11.9 10.0 11.1 13.1 18.0 19.7 .. ..

Legend: .. Not applicable
Source: Attachment tables 7A.19 and 7A.21.

Attendance

Data for this indicator not complete or not directly comparable (chapter 7).

Criminal
Average number of attendances per finalisation, 2013-14.
  NSW Vic Qld WA SA Tas ACT NT Aus Gov Aust
Supreme na 3.7 3.5 2.5 3.7 6.0 8.6 6.1 .. ..
District / County 3.1 4.7 4.3 3.6 6.0 .. .. .. .. ..
Magistrates 2.6 2.0 2.4 2.4 3.7 4.0 3.3 3.1 .. ..
Children's 3.9 2.1 2.8 3.8 4.2 5.8 6.8 4.3 .. ..

Legend: na Not available; .. Not applicable
Source: Attachment table 7A.22.

Civil
Average number of attendances per finalisation, 2013-14.
  NSW Vic Qld WA SA Tas ACT NT Aus Gov Aust
Supreme (excl. probate) / Federal na 1.7 1.5 2.4 3.9 1.9 7.2 4.4 3.0 ..
District / Country 3.4 0.9 0.6 1.3 3.5 .. .. .. .. ..
Magistrates 0.8 0.9 0.9 0.8 0.9 1.0 1.6 1.1 .. ..
Children's

na

1.7 3.7 3.6 2.5 5.9 7.3 3.1 .. ..
Family .. .. .. 2.4 .. .. .. .. 2.2 ..
Federal Circuit .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 2.0 ..
Coroners' 3.8 1.0 3.3 1.4 1.5 1.0 8.5 1.0 .. ..

Legend: na Not available; .. Not applicable
Source: Attachment table 7A.22.

Efficiency indicators

Clearance

Data for this indicator comparable, subject to caveats (chapter 7).

Criminal
Number of finalisations in reporting period divided by number of lodgments, 2013-14 (%).
  NSW Vic Qld WA SA Tas ACT NT Aus Gov Aust
Supreme (appeal) 86.5 100.6 101.4 108.0 87.5 81.8 79.0 147.4 .. ..
Supreme (non-appeal) 103.4 104.4 89.8 81.2 104.6 88.8 106.6 79.7 .. ..
District / County (appeal) 99.8 103.4 87.4 .. .. .. .. .. .. ..
District / County (non-appeal) 94.9 99.5 96.8 87.8 101.3 .. .. .. .. ..
Magistrates 100.4 108.7 95.4 98.4 105.8 94.3 97.5 95.1 .. ..
Children's 101.9 106.7 101.3 100.0 105.2 97.6 105.0 90.9 .. ..

Legend: .. Not applicable
Source: Attachment tables 7A.24 and 7A.26.

Civil
Number of finalisations in reporting period divided by number of lodgments, 2013-14 (%).
  NSW Vic Qld WA SA Tas ACT NT Aus Gov Aust
Supreme / Federal (appeal) 112.9 104.7 104.2 107.5 110.3 101.1 59.7 83.2 96.0 ..
Supreme (excl probate) / Federal (non-appeal) 115.6 101.9 111.9 96.3 107.1 116.5 111.4 106.5 114.7 ..
District / County (appeal) 99.5 79.4 83.8 84.7 113.2 .. .. .. .. ..
District / County (non-appeal) 103.9 101.3 95.7 98.1 152.1 .. .. .. .. ..
Magistrates 103.3 111.3 97.9 101.1 101.4 108.9 99.7 124.0 .. ..
Children's 99.0 87.0 103.1 100.7 102.5 97.5 97.5 106.1 .. ..
Family (appeal) .. .. .. 114.3 .. .. .. .. 105.8 ..
Family (non-appeal) .. .. .. 103.9 .. .. .. .. 98.4 ..
Federal Circuit .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 96.7 ..
Coroners' 108.8 116.0 104.8 101.3 90.9 92.3 105.0 116.8 .. ..

Legend: .. Not applicable
Source: Attachment tables 7A.24 and 7A.26.

Judicial officers per finalisation

Data for this indicator comparable, subject to caveats (chapter 7).

Judicial officers per 100 finalisations, 2013-14.
  NSW Vic Qld WA SA Tas ACT NT Aus Gov Aust
Supreme (excl. probate) / Federal 0.57 0.74 0.48 0.98 0.85 0.46 0.53 1.28 1.09 0.72
District / County 0.35 0.52 0.32 0.41 0.36 .. .. .. .. 0.39
Magistrates 0.04 0.03 0.03 0.03 0.04 0.05 0.06 0.06 .. 0.04
Children's 0.12 0.05 0.04 0.05 0.07 0.11 0.10 0.06 .. 0.07
Family .. .. .. 0.09 .. .. .. .. 0.17 0.13
Federal Circuit .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 0.07 0.07
Coroners' 0.08 0.13 0.14 0.16 0.10 0.07 0.07 0.44 .. 0.12
Total 0.07 0.06 0.05 0.08 0.07 0.08 0.10 0.09 0.14 0.08

Legend: .. Not applicable
Source: Attachment table 7A.28.

Full time equivalent (FTE) staff per finalisation

Data for this indicator comparable, subject to caveats (chapter 7).

FTE staff per 100 finalisations, 2013-14.
  NSW Vic Qld WA SA Tas ACT NT Aus Gov Aust
Criminal courts 0.6 0.3 0.3 0.6 0.6 0.5 0.8 0.4 .. 0.4
Civil courts 0.6 0.5 0.4 0.4 0.5 0.4 1.1 0.7 5.6 0.6
Family courts .. .. .. 0.9 .. .. .. .. 1.3 1.1
Federal Circuit .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 0.6 0.6
Coroners courts 0.7 1.1 1.1 1.4 1.0 0.4 0.6 1.1 .. 1.0
Total 0.6 0.4 0.4 0.5 0.6 0.5 0.9 0.5 1.0 0.5

Legend: .. Not applicable
Source: Attachment table 7A.29.

Cost per finalisation

Data for this indicator not complete or not directly comparable (chapter 7).

Criminal
Total net recurrent expenditure divided by number of finalisations, 2013-14.
  NSW Vic Qld WA SA Tas ACT NT Aus Gov Aust
Supreme 41 866 48 870 12 398 21 172 26 757 18 499 19 719 24 299 .. 23 896
District / County 6247 13 171 7747 19 905 8835 .. .. .. .. 9195
Magistrates 648 356 408 892 544 631 997 798 .. 520
Children's 687 166 612 942 722 856 2949 838 .. 536

Legend: .. Not applicable
Source: Attachment tables 7A.31 and 7A.32.

Civil
Total net recurrent expenditure divided by number of finalisations, 2013-14.
  NSW Vic Qld WA SA Tas ACT NT Aus Gov Aust
Supreme (excl. probate) / Federal 4492 5179 3710 8867 4446 3227 4948 21 421 14 174 6643
District / County 2867 2892 900 2362 1531 .. .. .. .. 2252
Magistrates 269 156 241 203 255 141 1258 686 .. 241
Children's 720 2320 1248 595 703 1989 3331 875 .. 1241
Family courts .. .. .. 1395 .. .. .. .. 3188 ..
Federal Circuit .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 966 966
Coroners 869 1746 1812 2614 1564 763 1332 2915 .. 1569

Legend: .. Not applicable
Source: Attachment tables 7A.31 and 7A.32.

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