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Report on Government Services 2016

Chapter 7, Volume C

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

The focus of this chapter 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.

  • In 2014-15, in the criminal jurisdiction of the supreme, district/county, magistrates' and children's courts, approximately 890 300 cases were lodged, and 918 900 cases were finalised.
  • In the civil jurisdiction of these same courts approximately 442 300 cases were lodged and 457 400 cases finalised.
  • In the Australian courts, approximately 120 600 cases were lodged, and approximately 114 000 cases finalised.

Total court administration recurrent expenditure less income (excluding fines) by the court authorities covered in this chapter was approximately $1.37 billion in 2014-15, comprising $1.14 billion for the State and Territory courts and $228.2 million for the Australian courts.

Courts aim to:

  • be open and accessible
  • process matters in an expeditious and timely manner
  • provide due process and equal protection before the law
  • be independent yet publicly accountable for performance.

In addition, all governments aim to provide court services in an 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 2016 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

Average civil court fees collected per lodgment ($), 2014-15

Most recent data for this measure are comparable and complete, subject to caveats (chapter 7)
  NSW Vic Qld WA SA Tas ACT NT Aus Gov Aust
Supreme / Federal (excl. probate) 2930 1702 1936 2181 2961 629 2403 1552 3747 2455
District / County 1649 1592 976 989 976 .. .. .. .. 1324
Magistrates 163 219 119 130 115 85 217 57 .. 160
Family .. .. .. 405 .. .. .. .. 218 298
Federal Circuit .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 558 558
Source: Attachment table 7A.18

Judicial officers

Total number of full time equivalent (FTE) judicial officers, 2014-15

Most recent data for this measure are comparable and complete, subject to caveats (chapter 7)
  NSW Vic Qld WA SA Tas ACT NT Aus Gov Aust
No. 261.3 248.0 156.3 125.5 69.9 21.4 13.6 25.8 150.1 1071.8
Source: Attachment table 7A.27

Number of FTE judicial officers per 100 000 population, 2014-15

Most recent data for this measure are comparable and complete, subject to caveats (chapter 7)
  NSW Vic Qld WA SA Tas ACT NT Aus Gov Aust
No. 3.5 4.2 3.3 4.9 4.1 4.2 3.5 10.5 0.6 4.5
Source: Attachment table 7A.27

Effectiveness - Access indicators

Backlog

Percentage of criminal lodgments pending completion at 30 June, 2015 (%)

Most recent data for this measure are comparable and complete, subject to caveats (chapter 7)
  NSW Vic Qld WA SA Tas ACT NT Aus Gov Aust
Higher (appeal) >12 months 2.6 4.9 10.3 15.9 11.2 7.7 30.6 11.1 .. ..
Higher (appeal) >24 months 0.5 0.6 2.7 0.0 1.5 3.8 0.0 0.0 .. ..
Higher (non-appeal) >12 months 18.1 22.0 14.3 6.8 21.8 27.6 15.3 4.5 .. ..
Higher (non-appeal) >24 months 3.7 2.3 4.5 0.6 5.1 8.8 3.8 .. ..
Magistrates >6 months 12.6 23.2 31.3 28.3 23.6 32.3 27.1 31.2 .. ..
Magistrates >12 months 2.0 7.0 13.3 8.9 7.8 13.8 8.6 15.6 .. ..
Children's >6 months 13.4 10.3 27.4 13.2 20.3 27.9 36.5 32.3 .. ..
Children's >12 months 1.6 2.9 14.1 3.1 6.8 12.1 17.4 16.8 .. ..
Source: Attachment table 7A.19

Percentage of civil lodgments pending completion at 30 June, 2015 (%)

Most recent data for this measure are comparable and complete, subject to caveats (chapter 7)
  NSW Vic Qld WA SA Tas ACT NT Aus Gov Aust
Higher (appeal) >12 months 15.4 16.3 19.5 14.2 8.3 11.3 47.4 6.5 6.5 ..
Higher (appeal) >24 months 2.5 4.2 4.7 1.8 1.0 1.6 26.3 0.6 ..
Higher (non-appeal) >12 months 25.3 29.0 21.7 37.7 44.6 34.9 36.7 33.7 39.9 ..
Higher (non-appeal) >24 months 8.1 11.6 5.2 13.2 22.4 11.0 11.5 11.6 24.6 ..
Magistrates >6 months 25.1 25.7 47.9 46.2 41.4 43.9 41.5 46.7 .. ..
Magistrates >12 months 0.8 15.6 10.6 10.1 11.1 12.3 17.1 7.2 .. ..
Family (appeal) >12 months .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 30.8 ..
Family (appeal) >24 months .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 13.8 ..
Family (non-appeal) >12 months .. .. .. 25.0 .. .. .. .. 26.3 ..
Family (non-appeal) >24 months .. .. .. 6.0 .. .. .. .. 10.5 ..
Federal Circuit >6 months .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 33.6 ..
Federal Circuit >12 months .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 13.9 ..
Coroners' >12 months 27.9 31.9 25.9 19.6 35.4 33.2 38.7 37.2 .. ..
Coroners' >24 months 18.6 15.4 12.0 8.4 12.9 12.5 24.1 22.2 .. ..
Source: Attachment table 7A.21

Attendance

Average number of attendances per finalisation, criminal courts 2014-15

Most recent data for this measure are neither comparable nor complete (chapter 7)
  NSW Vic Qld WA SA Tas ACT NT Aus Gov Aust
Supreme na na 4.0 2.9 3.5 7.0 6.6 6.8 .. ..
District / County 3.2 4.7 4.3 3.7 6.1 .. .. .. .. ..
Magistrates 2.6 2.0 2.5 2.5 3.9 4.0 3.7 3.3 .. ..
Children's 3.6 2.2 2.7 3.8 3.9 5.1 3.9 4.8 .. ..
Source: Attachment table 7A.22

Average number of attendances per finalisation, civil courts 2014-15

Most recent data for this measure are neither comparable nor complete (chapter 7)
  NSW Vic Qld WA SA Tas ACT NT Aus Gov Aust
Supreme/Federal na na 1.2 2.2 4.0 1.8 5.9 4.2 3.2 ..
District / County 3.7 0.8 0.4 1.2 4.0 .. .. .. .. ..
Magistrates 0.8 1.1 0.9 0.8 1.1 1.1 1.6 1.1 .. ..
Children's na 1.8 3.5 4.0 2.5 5.4 5.7 3.7 .. ..
Family .. .. .. 1.8 .. .. .. .. 2.2 ..
Federal Circuit .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 1.9 ..
Coroners' 4.0 1.0 3.8 2.7 1.9 1.0 3.4 1.0 .. ..
Source: Attachment table 7A.22

Efficiency indicators

Clearance

Finalisations divided by lodgments (multiplied by 100 to provide percentage), criminal, 2014-2015

Most recent data for this measure are comparable and complete, subject to caveats (chapter 7)
  NSW Vic Qld WA SA Tas ACT NT Aus Gov Aust
Supreme (appeal) 127.2 107.0 94.4 104.9 89.4 74.3 95.7 111.8 .. ..
Supreme (non-appeal) 105.8 83.5 89.6 88.9 92.0 90.0 90.5 85.0 .. ..
District/County (appeal) 98.3 108.4 91.1 .. .. .. .. .. .. ..
District/County (non-appeal) 85.9 105.3 96.5 76.0 92.5 .. .. .. .. ..
Magistrates 101.1 111.5 97.4 103.4 102.7 91.9 95.7 103.9 .. ..
Children's 100.0 103.3 102.4 104.6 110.0 98.9 102.6 103.2 .. ..
Source: Attachment tables 7A.24-26

Finalisations divided by lodgments (multiplied by 100 to provide percentage), civil, 2014-2015

Most recent data for this measure are comparable and complete, subject to caveats (chapter 7)
  NSW Vic Qld WA SA Tas ACT NT Aus Gov Aust
Supreme (appeal) 111.9 111.0 75.5 81.6 91.0 85.1 116.1 95.5 84.2 ..
Supreme (non-appeal) 110.9 92.1 101.7 98.0 97.9 103.7 106.4 99.3 91.4 ..
District/County (appeal) 118.7 181.6 91.8 99.2 102.7 .. .. .. .. ..
District/County (non-appeal) 94.9 99.9 100.7 96.1 142.4 .. .. .. .. ..
Magistrates 105.1 108.2 104.8 96.9 102.7 106.8 104.2 98.6 .. ..
Children's 95.1 86.5 98.4 105.1 88.1 121.2 72.3 102.5 .. ..
Family (appeal) .. .. .. 133.3 .. .. .. .. 91.5 ..
Family (non-appeal) .. .. .. 93.5 .. .. .. .. 98.6 ..
Federal Circuit .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 93.9 ..
Coroners' 106.1 108.5 93.1 92.2 106.6 90.2 104.4 91.1 .. ..
Source: Attachment tables 7A.24-26

Judicial officers per 100 finalisations

Full time equivalent judicial officers divided by total finalisations (multiplied by 100), 2014-15

Most recent data for this measure are comparable and complete, subject to caveats (chapter 7)
  NSW Vic Qld WA SA Tas ACT NT Aus Gov Aust
Supreme/Federal 0.57 0.75 0.50 0.98 0.88 0.50 0.60 0.96 1.41 0.75
District/County 0.37 0.51 0.33 0.41 0.40 .. .. .. .. 0.40
Magistrates 0.04 0.03 0.03 0.03 0.04 0.05 0.07 0.06 .. 0.03
Children's 0.12 0.04 0.04 0.05 0.06 0.09 0.13 0.06 .. 0.06
Family .. .. .. 0.10 .. .. .. .. 0.16 ..
Federal Circuit .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 0.07 0.07
Coroners' 0.08 0.13 0.17 0.20 0.08 0.51 0.09 0.57 .. 0.14
Total 0.07 0.06 0.05 0.07 0.08 0.08 0.11 0.10 0.13 0.07
Source: Attachment table 7A.28

Full time equivalent staff per 100 finalisations

Number of full time equivalent staff divided by total finalisations (multiplied by 100), 2014-15

Most recent data for this measure are comparable and complete, subject to caveats (chapter 7)
  NSW Vic Qld WA SA Tas ACT NT Aus Gov Aust
Criminal courts 0.7 0.3 0.3 0.5 0.7 0.5 1.0 0.4 .. 0.4
Civil courts 0.7 0.6 0.4 0.5 0.5 0.5 1.1 0.7 7.8 0.6
Family courts .. .. .. 1.0 .. .. .. .. 1.2 1.1
Federal Circuit .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 0.6 0.6
Coroners' 0.7 1.1 1.3 1.5 0.9 1.1 0.8 1.7 .. 1.0
Total 0.7 0.4 0.3 0.5 0.6 0.5 1.0 0.5 0.9 0.5
Source: Attachment table 7A.29

Cost per finalisation

Total recurrent expenditure (minus income) divided by total finalisations, criminal, 2014-15 ($)

Most recent data for this measure not comparable but are complete, subject to caveats (chapter 7)
  NSW Vic Qld WA SA Tas ACT NT Aus Gov Aust
Supreme 37 073 50 404 10 015 26 013 31 173 17 078 24 275 19 194 .. 23 202
District/County 6158 14 757 7557 20 535 9494 .. .. .. .. 9596
Magistrates 619 327 403 768 764 530 1212 798 .. 502
Children's 700 177 637 985 740 577 3781 806 .. 546
Source: Attachment table 7A.31-32

Total recurrent expenditure (minus income) divided by total finalisations, civil, 2014-15 ($)

Most recent data for this measure not comparable but are complete, subject to caveats (chapter 7)
  NSW Vic Qld WA SA Tas ACT NT Aus Gov Aust
Supreme (excluding probate)/Federal 4546 5648 4373 7933 5027 3456 6276 17 088 21 000 7387
District/County 3389 3128 1030 2345 2436 .. .. .. .. 2558
Magistrates 254 193 261 252 178 220 1293 789 .. 254
Children's 776 2297 1302 642 498 696 3624 816 .. 1276
Family .. .. .. 1553 .. .. .. .. 3123 ..
Federal Circuit .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 916 916
Coroners' 874 1776 2096 2807 1360 1962 1925 3838 .. 1685
Source: Attachment table 7A.31-32

Legend

a Caveats for these data are available in Chapter 7 and Attachment 7A. Refer to the indicator interpretation boxes in chapter 7 for information to assist with interpreting data presented in this table.

b These data are derived from detailed data in Chapter 7 and Attachment 7A. na Not available.

.. Not applicable.

Nil or rounded to zero.

Source: Chapter 7 and Attachment 7A.