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Report on Government Services 2017

Volume C, Chapter 7

Courts

The focus of the Courts chapter (chapter 7) 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 2015-16, in the criminal jurisdiction of the supreme, district/county, magistrates’ and children’s courts, approximately 843 800 cases were lodged, and 873 900 cases were finalised.

In the civil jurisdiction of these same courts approximately 429 100 cases were lodged and 444 200 cases finalised.

In the Australian courts, approximately 120 400 cases were lodged, and approximately 116 800 cases finalised.

Total court administration recurrent expenditure less income (excluding fines) by the court authorities covered in this chapter was almost $1.38 billion in 2015-16, comprising $1.16 billion for the State and Territory courts and $216.4 million for the Australian courts.

Courts aim to safeguard and maintain the rule of law and ensure equal justice to all. Court services aim to support the courts by enabling them to:

  • be open, accessible and affordable
  • process matters in an expeditious and timely manner
  • encourage public confidence and trust in the courts.

Governments aim for court services to meet these objectives in an equitable and efficient manner.

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 2017 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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Effectiveness — Access — Timeliness indicators

Judicial officers

Number of FTE judicial officers, per 100 000 people, 2015-16

Most recent data for this measure are comparable and complete, subject to caveats
 NSWVicQldWASATasACTNT Aus Gov Aust
No. 3.4 4.2 3.2 4.6 4.3 4.2 3.7 10.5 0.6 4.5

Source: Attachment table 7A.27

Backlog

Percentage of criminal lodgments pending completion at 30 June 2016 (%)

Most recent data for this measure are comparable and complete, subject to caveats
 NSWVicQldWASATasACTNT Aus Gov Aust
Higher (appeal) >12 months 1.6 4.0 16.5 18.7 7.8 8.0 25.0 30.8 .. ..
Higher (appeal) >24 months 0.1 0.5 4.6 5.9 0.9 4.0 4.8 .. ..
Higher (non-appeal) >12 months 24.3 17.5 13.3 6.8 25.5 28.9 23.1 6.4 .. ..
Higher (non-appeal) >24 months 4.8 4.4 4.2 0.7 6.9 7.3 3.2 1.4 .. ..
Magistrates >6 months 12.6 27.0 33.0 31.5 25.3 30.4 27.4 28.5 .. ..
Magistrates >12 months 2.0 8.7 14.1 10.6 7.7 13.0 10.2 15.5 .. ..
Children's >6 months 17.0 12.1 22.0 13.7 18.2 24.3 23.4 28.3 .. ..
Children's >12 months 2.2 4.0 11.0 2.5 4.1 13.3 13.0 12.7 .. ..

Source: Attachment table 7A.19

Percentage of civil lodgments pending completion at 30 June 2016 (%)

Most recent data for this measure are comparable and complete, subject to caveats
 NSWVicQldWASATasACTNT Aus Gov Aust
Higher (appeal) >12 months 11.7 10.8 17.7 18.4 17.8 19.7 47.0 1.9 5.0 ..
Higher (appeal) >24 months 2.5 1.0 5.7 5.0 2.6 1.6 31.3 0.4 ..
Higher (non-appeal) >12 months 25.8 36.2 21.5 33.8 41.6 34.0 29.9 27.7 29.9 ..
Higher (non-appeal) >24 months 8.5 11.9 5.2 13.2 19.8 9.2 13.1 8.9 18.5 ..
Magistrates >6 months 25.0 31.1 40.3 39.3 43.9 40.0 45.1 32.5 .. ..
Magistrates >12 months 1.0 21.1 9.4 7.5 12.2 11.5 14.8 7.5 .. ..
Family (appeal) >12 months .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 30.4 ..
Family (appeal) >24 months .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 9.6 ..
Family (non-appeal) >12 months .. .. .. 29.7 .. .. .. .. 28.0 ..
Family (non-appeal) >24 months .. .. .. 8.5 .. .. .. .. 12.1 ..
Federal Circuit >6 months .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 37.8 ..
Federal Circuit >12 months .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 17.7 ..
Coroners >12 months 21.7 26.5 33.2 21.3 35.1 31.9 31.4 43.4 .. ..
Coroners >24 months 8.6 10.1 13.6 6.7 11.2 8.1 17.8 31.3 .. ..

Source: Attachment table 7A.21

Attendance

Average number of attendances per finalisation, criminal courts, 2015‑16

Most recent data for this measure are neither comparable or complete
 NSWVicQldWASATasACTNT Aus Gov Aust
Supreme na na 3.9 3.2 3.7 5.4 7.9 6.9 .. ..
District/County 3.1 4.8 4.8 3.8 6.1 .. .. .. .. ..
Magistrates 2.7 2.5 2.5 2.7 4.0 4.3 4.0 3.2 .. ..
Children's 3.6 2.1 2.7 3.8 4.3 5.2 5.4 4.8 .. ..
Source: Attachment table 7A.22

Average number of attendances per finalisation, civil courts, 2015‑16

Most recent data for this measure are neither comparable or complete
 NSWVicQldWASATasACTNT Aus Gov Aust
Supreme/Federal na na 1.3 2.1 3.9 1.9 5.0 5.2 2.9 ..
District/County 3.4 0.7 0.4 1.1 3.9 .. .. .. .. ..
Magistrates 1.0 1.2 1.0 0.8 1.3 1.2 1.8 1.1 .. ..
Children's na 1.7 3.6 4.4 2.6 5.0 7.3 4.2 .. ..
Family .. .. .. 1.8 .. .. .. .. 2.1 ..
Federal Circuit .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 1.9 ..
Coroners 5.0 1.1 6.7 2.1 2.7 1.4 4.5 1.0 .. ..
Source: Attachment table 7A.22

Clearance

Finalisations divided by lodgments (multiplied by 100 to provide percentage), criminal, 2015‑16

Most recent data for this measure are comparable and complete, subject to caveats
 NSWVicQldWASATasACTNT Aus Gov Aust
Supreme (appeal) 94.2 108.7 106.6 93.9 106.5 106.3 93.9 68.8 .. 101.1
Supreme (non-appeal) 81.7 129.6 86.7 93.3 126.7 97.1 93.9 83.7 .. 89.8
District/County (appeal) 99.3 100.2 103.5 .. .. .. .. .. .. 99.7
District/County (non-appeal) 91.8 97.4 94.2 84.6 100.6 .. .. .. .. 93.4
Magistrates 97.4 124.2 98.4 101.9 94.1 95.7 97.3 103.3 .. 103.9
Children's 98.1 108.6 110.5 96.8 98.2 103.7 108.8 95.6 .. 104.6

Source: Attachment table 7A.24

Finalisations divided by lodgments (multiplied by 100 to provide percentage), civil, 2015‑16

Most recent data for this measure are comparable and complete, subject to caveats
 NSWVicQldWASATasACTNT Aus Gov Aust
Supreme/Federal (appeal) 105.8 91.6 127.0 112.7 87.3 90.2 88.7 106.5 96.4 101.3
Supreme/Federal (non-appeal) 104.8 116.7 103.5 94.0 102.4 103.6 102.2 78.8 98.3 104.7
District/County (appeal) 152.6 67.2 97.5 95.5 90.3 .. .. .. .. 100.7
District/County (non-appeal) 108.9 113.0 103.2 101.7 108.9 .. .. .. .. 107.3
Magistrates 106.7 104.5 102.9 97.1 102.9 104.0 103.7 101.6 .. 103.7
Children's 92.9 94.7 98.3 97.6 98.8 100.9 111.7 98.5 .. 95.4
Family (appeal) .. .. .. 100.0 .. .. .. .. 95.4 95.5
Family (non-appeal) .. .. .. 97.1 .. .. .. .. 98.9 98.1
Federal Circuit .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 96.5 96.5
Coroners 100.2 104.6 100.5 92.5 89.8 87.0 85.6 115.1 .. 99.3

Source: Attachment table 7A.26

Effectiveness — Access — Affordability indicators

Fees paid by applicants

Average civil court fees collected per lodgment, 2015-16 (dollars)

Most recent data for this measure are comparable and complete, subject to caveats
 NSWVicQldWASATasACTNT Aus Gov Aust
Supreme/Federal 3 107 1 941 2 262 2 331 2 999 685 2 842 1 487 2 631 2 512
District/County 1 745 1 797 1 051 1 101 1 098 .. .. .. .. 1 445
Magistrates (only) 209 227 115 139 123 90 206 53 .. 177
Family .. .. .. 361 .. .. .. .. 305 329
Federal Circuit .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 721 721
Probate ‑ Supreme 1 393 374 637 313 1 251 605 1 331 1 350 .. 862

Source: Attachment table 7A.18

Efficiency indicators

Judicial officers per finalisation

Full time equivalent judicial officers divided by total finalisations (multiplied by 100), 2015-16

Most recent data for this measure are comparable and complete, subject to caveats
 NSWVicQldWASATasACTNT Aus Gov Aust
Supreme/Federal 0.60 0.77 0.42 0.69 0.90 0.53 0.66 0.98 0.95 0.70
District/County 0.34 0.53 0.31 0.40 0.46 .. .. .. .. 0.39
Magistrates 0.04 0.04 0.03 0.03 0.05 0.04 0.08 0.06 .. 0.04
Children's 0.14 0.04 0.03 0.06 0.07 0.09 0.20 0.06 .. 0.07
Family .. .. .. 0.10 .. .. .. .. 0.16 0.13
Federal Circuit .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 0.07 0.07
Coroners 0.08 0.14 0.15 0.19 0.09 0.57 0.07 0.51 .. 0.14
Total 0.07 0.07 0.05 0.07 0.08 0.08 0.14 0.10 0.13 0.07
Source: Attachment table 7A.28

Full time equivalent staff (FTE) per finalisation

Full time equivalent staff divided by total finalisations (multiplied by 100), 2015-16

Most recent data for this measure are comparable and complete, subject to caveats
 NSWVicQldWASATasACTNT Aus Gov Aust
Criminal courts 0.6 0.4 0.3 0.4 0.7 0.4 1.2 0.5 .. 0.4
Civil courts 0.6 0.6 0.4 0.5 0.6 0.5 1.2 0.7 5.1 0.6
Family courts .. .. .. 0.9 .. .. .. .. 1.2 1.1
Federal Circuit .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 0.6 0.6
Coroners 0.6 1.1 1.1 1.5 1.0 1.2 np 1.5 .. 1.0
Total 0.6 0.5 0.3 0.5 0.7 0.5 np 0.5 0.9 0.5
Source: Attachment table 7A.29

Cost per finalisation

Total recurrent expenditure (minus income) divided by total finalisations, criminal, 2015-16 (dollars)

Most recent data for this measure are not comparable but are complete, subject to caveats
 NSWVicQldWASATasACTNT Aus Gov Aust
Supreme 54 512 62 897 8 494 26 291 25 276 16 649 32 947 20 319 .. 23 494
District/County 5 960 15 388 7 581 18 253 8 697 .. .. .. .. 9 249
Magistrates 579 486 387 663 822 481 1 787 876 .. 539
Children's 797 174 568 700 899 635 2 256 948 502 797
Source: Attachment table 7A.31

Total recurrent expenditure (minus income) divided by total finalisations, civil, 2015-16 (dollars)

Most recent data for this measure are not comparable but are complete, subject to caveats
 NSWVicQldWASATasACTNT Aus Gov Aust
Supreme/Federal 3 961 5 959 3 589 6 791 5 397 4 616 6 174 17 451 14 644 6 865
District/County 2 817 3 555 1 114 2 296 3 208 .. .. .. .. 2 600
Magistrates 183 261 287 371 200 258 1 360 850 .. 271
Children's 844 2 279 1 200 1 337 552 608 5 543 926 .. 1 393
Family .. .. .. 1 452 .. .. .. .. 3 076 2371
Federal Circuit .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 744 744
Coroners 912 1 934 1 936 2 824 1 565 2 445 3 989 3 076 .. 1 756
Source: Attachment table 7A.32

Notes

These data and caveats for these data are available in Chapter 7 and Attachment 7A.

na Not available. .. Not applicable. Nil or rounded to zero. np Not published.