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Report on Government Services 2018

Part C, Chapter 7

Courts

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.

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  • Key Facts
  • Indicator Framework
  • Indicator Results

In 2016-17, in the criminal jurisdiction of the supreme, district/county, magistrates’ and children’s courts, approximately 825 202 cases were lodged, and 864 923 cases were finalised.

In the civil jurisdiction of these same courts approximately 436 333 cases were lodged and 440 523 cases finalised.

In the Australian courts, approximately 121 961 cases were lodged, and 117 027 cases finalised.

Total court administration recurrent expenditure less income (excluding fines) by the court authorities covered in this chapter was approximately $1.4 billion in 2016-17, comprising $1.2 billion for the State and Territory courts and $214.6 million for the Australian courts.

Courts aim to safeguard and maintain the rule of law and ensure equal justice for all. Court services support the courts and aim to encourage public confidence and trust in the courts by enabling them to:

  • be open and accessible
  • be affordable
  • process matters in a high quality, expeditious and timely manner.

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 2018 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 and delay indicators

Judicial officers

Number of FTE judicial officers, per 100 000 people, 2016-17

Most recent data for this measure are comparable and complete, subject to caveats
 NSWVicQldWASATasACTNT Aus Gov Aust
Supreme/Federal 0.7 0.9 0.5 0.9 0.8 1.4 1.6 3.4 0.2 1.0
District/County 0.9 1.0 0.7 1.1 1.1 .. .. .. .. 0.9
Magistrates’ 1.4 1.8 1.8 1.8 1.9 2.0 1.7 5.8 .. 1.7
Children’s 0.4 0.2 0.1 0.2 0.2 0.3 0.2 0.7 .. 0.2
Family .. .. .. 0.6 .. .. .. .. 0.1 0.2
Federal Circuit .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 0.3 0.3
Coroners’ 0.1 0.1 0.2 0.2 0.1 0.5 0.6 .. 0.1
Total3.54.13.34.74.24.23.610.60.64.4
Source: Attachment table 7A.24

Backlog

Percentage of criminal lodgments pending completion at 30 June 2017 (per cent)

Most recent data for this measure are comparable and complete, subject to caveats
 NSWVicQldWASATasACTNT Aus Gov Aust
Supreme (appeal) >12 months 0.7 2.4 12.2 10.4 10.7 17.6 24.7 25.0 .. ..
Supreme (appeal) >24 months 0.5 2.5 3.6 6.6 3.7 .. ..
Supreme (non-appeal) >12 months 31.9 25.6 10.7 10.0 12.8 29.0 14.7 10.5 .. ..
Supreme (non-appeal) >24 months 9.2 15.1 2.5 3.7 8.9 3.0 1.3 .. ..
District (appeal) >12 months 1.7 3.9 20.9 .. .. .. .. .. .. ..
District (appeal) >24 months 0.2 0.6 8.3 .. .. .. .. .. .. ..
District (non-appeal) >12 months 22.3 15.1 14.0 10.4 28.8 .. .. .. .. ..
District (non-appeal) >24 months 5.4 2.6 4.3 1.2 9.8 .. .. .. .. ..
Magistrates' >6 months 14.0 26.0 36.8 34.7 28.6 34.6 16.6 20.9 .. ..
Magistrates' >12 months 1.7 9.5 16.7 11.9 9.2 12.6 5.3 7.2 .. ..
Children's >6 months 16.7 14.3 24.1 16.7 11.8 16.3 22.6 20.1 .. ..
Children's >12 months 1.6 3.8 9.5 4.7 5.1 5.4 6.6 8.0 .. ..
Source: Attachment table 7A.17

Percentage of civil lodgments pending completion at 30 June 2017 (per cent)

Most recent data for this measure are comparable and complete, subject to caveats
 NSWVicQldWASATasACTNT Aus Gov Aust
Supreme (appeal) >12 months 8.7 12.8 1.4 26.6 25.2 18.3 29.7 18.8 12.4 ..
Supreme (appeal) >24 months 1.6 3.0 0.7 6.4 3.9 5.6 16.2 1.4 2.1 ..
Supreme (non-appeal) >12 months 32.7 36.5 23.7 34.4 31.8 36.2 27.8 28.4 36.9 ..
Supreme (non-appeal) >24 months 13.2 19.1 7.0 12.0 13.2 9.8 8.9 7.8 20.9 ..
District (appeal) >12 months 8.3 20.0 27.0 15.6 36.1 .. .. .. .. ..
District (appeal) >24 months 17.5 1.3 2.8 .. .. .. .. ..
District (non-appeal) >12 months 17.5 37.9 21.5 37.9 42.8 .. .. .. .. ..
District (non-appeal) >24 months 3.7 18.6 4.1 13.6 21.2 .. .. .. .. ..
Magistrates' >6 months 20.6 34.2 38.2 37.3 43.2 41.0 34.1 45.6 .. ..
Magistrates' >12 months 1.0 24.8 8.2 8.3 11.5 12.4 9.4 18.1 .. ..
Children's >6 months 35.6 24.0 40.4 48.5 9.8 20.3 30.2 18.0 .. ..
Children's >12 months 14.6 10.5 14.8 16.6 0.5 10.2 11.3 3.1 .. ..
Family (appeal) >12 months .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 19.2 ..
Family (appeal) >24 months .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 2.9 ..
Family (non-appeal) >12 months .. .. .. 32.5 .. .. .. .. 32.3 ..
Family (non-appeal) >24 months .. .. .. 10.1 .. .. .. .. 14.4 ..
Federal Circuit >6 months .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 39.4 ..
Federal Circuit >12 months .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 18.2 ..
Coroners >12 months 23.5 28.2 36.9 16.6 37.0 38.9 42.1 31.6 .. ..
Coroners >24 months 9.9 10.5 16.6 6.4 13.1 15.5 20.7 23.3 .. ..

Source: Attachment table 7A.18

Disposals

Percentage of criminal cases finalised during the year which took longer than 6, 12 or 24 months to finalise, 2016-17

Most recent data for this measure are comparable and complete, subject to caveats
 NSWVicQldWASATasACTNT Aus Gov Aust
Supreme (appeal) >12 mths 3.4 12.4 11.7 24.3 6.9 37.8 22.3 50.0 .. ..
Supreme (appeal) >24 mths 1.1 1.0 2.4 10.8 2.1 .. ..
Supreme (non-appeal) >12 mths 51.5 30.0 8.0 7.3 32.6 37.5 29.6 9.1 .. ..
Supreme (non-appeal) >24 mths 9.9 0.8 1.2 1.7 2.3 11.7 4.2 2.7 .. ..
District (appeal) >12 mths 11.8 2.4 16.8 .. .. .. .. .. .. ..
District (appeal) >24 mths 2.0 0.1 6.7 .. .. .. .. .. .. ..
District (non-appeal) >12 mths 73.0 17.4 7.6 13.5 22.8 .. .. .. .. ..
District (non-appeal) >24 mths 40.2 3.3 2.0 1.1 7.4 .. .. .. .. ..
Magistrates' >6 mths 12.3 25.5 17.1 17.1 30.1 40.8 24.0 16.0 .. ..
Magistrates' >12 mths 1.7 9.3 6.7 7.2 12.6 15.2 7.8 5.9 .. ..
Children's >6 mths 19.5 7.8 14.0 27.4 19.1 26.7 14.7 25.5 .. ..
Children's >12 mths 2.9 2.2 4.7 7.4 6.6 8.5 4.6 6.7 .. ..
Source: Attachment table 7A.19

Percentage of civil cases finalised during the year which took longer than 6, 12 or 24 months to finalise, 2016-17

Most recent data for this measure are comparable and complete, subject to caveats
 NSWVicQldWASATasACTNT Aus Gov Aust
Supreme (appeal) >12 mths 15.5 21.8 12.2 28.0 37.0 29.6 50.0 8.3 12.7 ..
Supreme (appeal) >24 mths 2.5 1.1 2.4 4.2 3.7 18.3 26.0 2.8 1.0 ..
Supreme (non-appeal) >12 mths 20.2 25.9 49.6 36.8 22.6 62.9 44.6 29.5 12.5 ..
Supreme (non-appeal) >24 mths 7.8 10.1 7.4 10.6 7.4 15.0 14.0 10.1 6.2 ..
District (appeal) >12 mths 9.4 3.1 12.2 16.5 16.7 .. .. .. .. ..
District (appeal) >24 mths 1.5 4.1 4.6 1.9 .. .. .. .. ..
District (non-appeal) >12 mths 37.8 48.0 58.0 30.7 52.0 .. .. .. .. ..
District (non-appeal) >24 mths 8.7 10.3 5.5 10.5 28.1 .. .. .. .. ..
Magistrates' >6 mths 38.7 4.6 31.5 24.0 46.3 46.7 15.8 17.5 .. ..
Magistrates' >12 mths 2.7 1.6 25.3 19.6 33.3 13.0 6.6 1.8 .. ..
Children's >6 mths 39.2 19.1 21.2 35.1 2.3 15.3 30.3 16.7 .. ..
Children's >12 mths 8.8 5.7 7.3 20.2 0.2 3.4 11.1 0.4 .. ..
Family (appeal) >12 months .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 24.7 ..
Family (appeal) >24 months .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 5.6 ..
Family (non-appeal) >12 months .. .. .. 21.8 .. .. .. .. 6.5 ..
Family (non-appeal) >24 months .. .. .. 6.0 .. .. .. .. 2.7 ..
Federal Circuit >6 months .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 23.5 ..
Federal Circuit >12 months .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 10.0 ..
Coroners >12 months 10.1 19.7 9.0 39.5 31.7 59.6 7.9 27.3 10.1 ..
Coroners >24 months 2.0 6.1 2.7 4.7 4.5 17.5 4.3 6.9 2.0 ..
Source: Attachment table 7A.20

Attendance

Average number of attendances per finalisation, criminal courts, 2016‑17

Most recent data for this measure are not comparable or complete
 NSWVicQldWASATasACTNT Aus Gov Aust
Supreme na na 2.9 3.2 4.2 5.4 5.9 6.7 .. ..
District/County 3.1 4.4 4.0 4.0 6.1 .. .. .. .. ..
Magistrates' 2.7 2.6 3.5 2.7 4.2 4.2 4.1 3.3 .. ..
Children's 3.9 2.0 4.0 4.1 4.3 4.9 4.7 5.3 .. ..

Average number of attendances per finalisation, civil courts, 2016‑17

Most recent data for this measure are not comparable or complete
 NSWVicQldWASATasACTNT Aus Gov Aust
Supreme/Federal na na 1.2 1.9 3.1 1.6 5.4 6.0 3.0 ..
District/County 3.3 0.6 0.3 1.1 2.8 .. .. .. .. ..
Magistrates' 0.9 1.2 1.2 0.8 1.1 1.2 2.1 1.3 .. ..
Children's 4.8 1.8 3.6 5.0 2.8 4.8 8.7 4.3 .. ..
Family .. .. .. 2.2 .. .. .. .. 2.0 ..
Federal Circuit .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 2.0 ..
Coroners 6.8 1.5 4.8 2.7 1.3 3.1 7.1 1.0 .. ..
Source: Attachment table 7A.21

Clearance

Finalisations divided by lodgments (multiplied by 100 to provide percentage), all matters, 2016‑17

Most recent data for this measure are comparable and complete, subject to caveats
 NSWVicQldWASATasACTNT Aus Gov Aust
Supreme/Federal 102.4 105.3 91.4 90.9 94.8 95.7 107.4 99.0 98.9 ..
District/County 100.6 98.5 98.1 94.2 101.6 .. .. .. .. ..
Magistrates' 102.5 111.1 100.1 103.5 103.1 95.3 79.9 109.4 .. ..
Children’s 102.0 107.2 96.4 109.2 108.3 90.5 99.1 98.0 .. ..
Family .. .. .. 92.3 .. .. .. .. 97.8 ..
Federal Circuit .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 95.4 ..
Coroners 94.5 100.6 89.7 99.9 72.9 100.5 102.0 118.5 ..  
Source: Attachment tables 7A.22-23

Effectiveness — Access — Affordability indicators

Fees paid by applicants

Average civil court fees collected per lodgment, 2016-17 (dollars)

Most recent data for this measure are comparable and complete, subject to caveats
 NSWVicQldWASATasACTNT Aus Gov Aust
Supreme/Federal 3 818 2 110 2 282 2 646 2 941 710 3 092 2 525 2 661 2 780
District/County 1 899 1 889 1 059 1 213 1 055 .. .. .. .. 1 535
Magistrates'
(only)
217 227 122 155 134 86 271 18 .. 185
Family .. .. .. 384 .. .. .. .. 260 314
Federal Circuit .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 611 611
Probate ‑
Supreme
1 450 383 660 347 1 611 687 1 322 1 215 .. 922
Source: Attachment table 7A.15

Efficiency indicators

Judicial officers per finalisation

Full time equivalent judicial officers divided by total finalisations (multiplied by 100), 2016-17

Most recent data for this measure are comparable and complete, subject to caveats
 NSWVicQldWASATasACTNT Aus Gov Aust
Supreme/Federal 0.70 0.89 0.44 0.70 0.95 0.55 0.64 1.06 0.79 0.72
District/County 0.36 0.55 0.29 0.37 0.48 .. .. .. .. 0.40
Magistrates' 0.03 0.04 0.03 0.03 0.05 0.05 0.08 0.07 .. 0.04
Children's 0.14 0.05 0.04 0.05 0.07 0.10 0.20 0.07 .. 0.07
Family .. .. .. 0.10 .. .. .. .. 0.16 0.13
Federal Circuit .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 0.07 0.07
Coroners 0.09 0.14 0.16 0.16 0.11 0.48 0.05 0.45 .. 0.14
Total0.070.070.050.060.080.080.130.110.120.07
Source: Attachment table 7A.25

Full time equivalent staff (FTE) per finalisation

Full time equivalent staff divided by total finalisations (multiplied by 100), 2016-17

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 0.5 1.1 0.5 .. 0.5
Civil courts 0.6 0.6 0.4 0.6 0.6 0.5 1.3 0.6 5.4 0.6
Family courts .. .. .. 0.9 .. .. .. .. 1.0 1.0
Federal Circuit .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 0.6 0.6
Coroners 0.7 1.3 1.2 1.3 1.2 1.0 1.5 1.5 .. 1.1
Total0.60.50.30.50.70.51.20.60.90.5
Source: Attachment table 7A.26

Cost per finalisation

Total recurrent expenditure (minus income) divided by total finalisations, criminal, 2016-17 (dollars)

Most recent data for this measure are not comparable but are complete, subject to caveats
 NSWVicQldWASATasACTNT Aus Gov Aust
Supreme 40 666 61 600 7 152 25 348 32 294 16 601 29 261 23 980 .. 21 058
District/County 6 846 16 496 7 160 16 885 9 657 .. .. .. .. 9 703
Magistrates' 562 547 438 639 828 494 1 348 994 .. 563
Children's 881 230 810 553 546 682 2 473 863 .. 574
Source: Attachment table 7A.27

Total recurrent expenditure (minus income) divided by total finalisations, civil, 2016-17 (dollars)

Most recent data for this measure are not comparable but are complete, subject to caveats
 NSWVicQldWASATasACTNT Aus Gov Aust
Supreme/Federal 4 264 7 681 5 223 12 085 4 790 4 567 5 550 17 164 14 125 7 978
District/County 2 602 3 721 1 629 2 256 3 009 .. .. .. .. 2 661
Magistrates' 228 319 304 453 202 261 1 289 903 .. 314
Children's 868 2 455 793 1 699 1 354 639 4 598 1 188 .. 1 460
Family .. .. .. 1 649 .. .. .. .. 2 273 2 011
Federal Circuit .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 971 971
Coroners 1 123 2 105 2 052 2 774 1 781 2 156 2 985 2 873 .. 1 904
Source: Attachment table 7A.28

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.