Research Requests

Policy on requests for access to court data or information for the purposes of research

Purpose

This policy sets out how the Federal Court ordinarily deals with requests for access to court data or information for the purposes of research.

Requests can be divided into two broad categories:

1.  Statistical information readily generated by the Court’s case management system.

2.  More detailed research requiring access to Court data, files or other records either within a single registry or, across multiple registries. These research projects might also include requests to interview Judges, parties or lawyers.

Application

This policy applies primarily to requests that fall into category 2 above. Routine requests for readily available statistical information should be emailed to your local registry (for State/Territory specific data) or the Principal Registry (for national data) or, in the case of media enquiries, the Court’s Director of Public Information.

Assistance provided

Where it has the resources to do so, the Court will ordinarily assist with the following types of research requests:

  • Requests from government agencies associated with legal services and policy development.
  • Academic research projects that are sponsored and supervised by recognised tertiary institutions.

Depending on the nature of the research request and the extent of any costs to the Court it may, in appropriate circumstances, be necessary for the Court to recoup its costs.

The Court would not, ordinarily, provide assistance with research requests from private individuals or organisations unless it can be demonstrated that the research is of benefit to the Court or its users and is not of a commercial nature.

As a general principle, while a matter is pending before a judge, only that judge can approve access to the Court file or relevant records. Access to closed files can be granted by the Chief Justice or any other judge or registrar nominated by the Chief Justice. For information on how to access Court files refer to the Access to Documents and Transcript Practice Note (GPN-ACCS).

Privacy

The Court respects the privacy of people connected to court proceedings. It will generally not release personal information unless that information is given in evidence in court proceedings.

Permission for publication or further release of data:

If the Court provides statistical data, other documents or information it must not be published or released without the prior and express permission from the Court.

How to make a request

All research requests, other than media requests, should be emailed to query@fedcourt.gov.au

Media requests should be made directly to the Court’s Director of Public Information by email.

Date policy issued: October 2016