Procedures for Complaints About Registry Services

The Federal Court of Australia has a commitment to providing a prompt, courteous and effective registry service to the Australian community. The Court recognises that court users and the community can provide it with valuable information and feedback to help it maintain its high standards. The following information is intended to assist those wishing to provide feedback on, or make a complaint about, the registries (including Principal Registry and Corporate Services) of the Federal Court of Australia.

Who can complain?

A complaint can be made by any person whether or not they are litigants in the Court.

When dealing with complaints the Court will, so far as possible, respect and take account of the needs of users, including people with language and cultural barriers and those with low literacy skills or disabilities. Complaints can be made on behalf of a person with a complaint (the complainant), if he or she would experience difficulties doing so.

What type of complaints can be made?

Anyone has the right to complain about any aspect of the Court’s registry services and all complaints will be taken seriously. You cannot, however, use these procedures if you want to complain because you think:

  • the decision in your case was incorrect or unfair; or
  • the judge or registrar did not handle your case properly.

If you do not agree with a decision made by the Court or a judge in your case, you may appeal against that decision to a higher court. In some cases however, an application for leave to appeal may need to be made. Court staff can give you more information about the procedure for lodging an appeal. However, they cannot advise you on whether you should appeal. You may need legal advice to make this decision.

You also cannot use this procedure if your complaint is about your barrister, solicitor or another organisation involved in your case. There are other avenues for making complaints about the legal profession which vary across States and Territories. In these instances Registry staff may be able to assist in directing you to the appropriate organisation with which to lodge your complaint.

How to make a complaint

The Court welcomes your feedback and is committed to continually improving the quality of its registry services. Our procedures for responding to complaints are set out here.

You can make a complaint:

  • in person or over the telephone;
  • in writing, and delivered by post or fax ;
  • by email.

Any member of staff at the Court may receive your complaint. If it is not appropriate for the officer you contacted to respond to your complaint, he or she will refer you to a more appropriate person. The Court may request additional information to assist in the resolution of your complaint.

Oral complaints

Users of the Court can make oral complaints. If the matter is complex, however, you may be asked to put the complaint in writing.

Written complaints

Complaints can be delivered by post or fax. You should send your complaint to the District Registrar in your State or Territory. If your complaint is made in writing, you will need to include:

  • your name, address and contact phone number;
  • details of the complaint, including the names (if known) of any individuals involved and dates on which the incident(s) occurred; and
  • the date of the complaint.

If your complaint is in relation to the registry services provided in a particular case, you should include the name of the case and the Court’s file number for the case.

Email complaints

Complaints may also be lodged by emailing query@fedcourt.gov.au or the District Registrar in your State or Territory.

Anonymous complaints

The Court does not accept anonymous complaints.

Responding to complaints

If your complaint is made in person or over the telephone, a member of staff will try to resolve the issue immediately. If your complaint is made in writing, you should receive a formal acknowledgement within seven days of receipt of complaint. The acknowledgment will indicate who is responsible for investigating the complaint and provide an indication of the time by which a formal response will be given. Generally we will respond within 20 working days to advise you of the outcome or the progress of your complaint.

If you are not satisfied with the response from the District Registrar, you may pursue your complaint with the Registrar of the Court.

Can a complaint be withdrawn?

A complaint can be withdrawn at any time. Notice to withdraw the complaint should be given to the District Registrar in writing.

If you need the assistance of an interpreter

If you have a hearing or speech impairment, contact the Court through the National Relay Service:

If you have a hearing disability

If you have a hearing or speech impairment, contact the Court through the National Relay Service:

  • TTY users phone 133 677 then ask for your local registry's phone number
  • Speak and Listen users phone 1300 555 727 then ask for your local registry's phone number
  • Internet relay users connect to the NRS (www.relayservice.gov.au) and then ask for your local registry's phone number as listed above.

Confidentiality

Information concerning complaints will be kept confidential subject to the need to disclose information in the proper investigation of a complaint. Files containing information regarding complaints are subject to the Freedom of information Act 1982 and the Privacy Act 1988. These Acts deal with the disclosure of information, including the circumstances in which personal information may be disclosed.

Complaint handling outside the court

We have a commitment to resolve complaints made to the Federal Court fairly and with sensitivity.

However, if you are not satisfied after we have responded to your complaint, you can write to your local Member of Parliament or to the Commonwealth Ombudsman.