Federal Circuit Court - Goals, Performance Measures, Strategies & Priorities

Corporate Plan 2016 - 2020

Federal Circuit Court Goals

The FCC's corporate plan is based on three strategies. These are reviewed each year by management and the judiciary to ensure that they remain relevant to our operating environment.

This information will also be reflected in the Annual Report and Annual Performance Statement for the FCA. Performance measures include those which are submitted in the Portfolio Budget Statements for the FCA.

The FCC has grown to become Australia’s principal federal trial court. The Court aims to be an innovative, agile organisation which is responsive to the needs of all litigants including those in rural and regional communities.

The foundation for this strategy is our charter to provide simpler and more accessible alternatives to litigation, with a particular focus on increasing accessibility in regional and rural areas.

In addition, our strategy needs to address the Court’s challenge in meeting the demands of a large and diverse caseload. Significant thought has gone into improving court user accessibility and simplifying processes and procedures. This has included the development of a Registry Services Delivery Strategy, an extensive IT requirements review and an education program for the judiciary and their direct support staff.

This plan consolidates our current strategies and builds on our commitment to innovation to ensure that the Court is equipped to respond to the challenges ahead.

Over the next four years we will focus on three main strategic goals:

    1. Efficient access to justice
    2. Improved business systems, and
    3. Flexible and responsive registry services.


Performance Measures

The key outcome measure for the Court is contained in Outcome Three of the Portfolio Budget Statement. That is, to apply and uphold the rule of law for litigants in the FCC through more informal and streamlined resolution of family law and general federal law matters according to law, through the encouragement of appropriate dispute resolution processes and through the effective management of the administrative affairs of the Court.

The Court maintains two goals related to timely completion of cases and the timely delivery of registry services to measure the performance of its work. All strategies and tactical plans are designed to support the achievement of these performance goals.

Our Annual Performance Statement will report on the success of the plan to achieve the following targets:

Timely completion of cases will be measured by the following:

    1. Ninety per cent of final order applications disposed of within 12 months
    2. Ninety per cent of all other applications disposed of within six months, and
    3. Seventy per cent of matters resolved prior to trial.

Timely provision of registry services will be measured by:

    1. Seventy-five per cent of counter enquiries served within 20 minutes
    2. Eighty per cent of National Enquiry Centre telephone enquiries answered within 90 seconds
    3. Eighty per cent of email enquiries responded to within two working days, and
    4. Seventy-five per cent of applications lodged processed within two working days.


1.  Strategic Objective - Efficient access to justice

The Court’s broad jurisdiction and less formal legislative mandate creates significant challenges in streamlining and simplifying access for court users.

Current judicial resourcing and an increase in certain aspects of workload for the Court, particularly in migration matters, provide the impetus to improve productivity through the development of streamlined processes and resources to support court users.

In 2015, family law matters constituted 91 per cent of all applications filed. As such, family law is a particular focus area for strategy.

The Court has a track record of innovation in the area of family law and collaborates with other agencies to improve processes and improve access. Since the introduction of the Notice of Risk, the Court has driven efforts to improve the interface between the child welfare and family law systems through developing partnerships and information exchange mechanisms with local and state providers.

The Court pays particular attention to ensuring court users in rural and regional areas have access to justice. This strategy seeks to maximise the scheduling of judicial resources and effectively manage property and other resources to reduce cost and improve efficiency to ensure that rural and regional Australians have access to justice.

Circuits comprise about 20 per cent of the Court’s family law workload. Strategies to improve the efficiency and value of circuits, as well as better analyse workloads are priorities. These strategies seek to provide convenient, localised service whereby matters can be dealt with in the one location. eFiling enables court users to file documents electronically, reducing the need to attend a registry location.

Our strategies over the next four years are to:

    1. Improve the scope for information sharing and collaboration with other agencies to improve access and service delivery to court users
    2. Improve the cost effectiveness and efficient management of circuits, and
    3. Identify opportunities to provide self-service options for court users.

Priorities for the 2016–17 plan year

In the 2016–17 plan year, we will undertake the following projects and deliverables:

Objective or Project



Collaborate with other agencies to improve access and service delivery
  • Evaluate and explore the future potential of the Personal Histories pilot.
Reduction in subpoenas
Improve processes in dealing with family law matters with particular focus on child safety
  • Work with NSW Department of Families and Community Services to identify further opportunities for information exchange.
  • Work with state welfare agencies to enhance the opportunity to share information.
July 2017
Enhance rural and regional mediation services
  • Develop a plan to increase the number of referrals to mediation provided via the Administered Appropriation to the Court.
Timely service Reduction in waiting times in regional and rural locations.
Analyse circuit workloads
  • Scope data requirements and develop reports for circuits.
June 2017
  • Review workloads.
June 2017
Identify opportunities to expand eFiling
  • Promote the benefits of eFiling via meetings with the legal profession.
  • Provide education in respect to the use of electronic access to the Court.


2.  Strategic Objective - Improved business systems

The work of the Court is characterised by the high volume of trial work across a diverse range of jurisdictions in family and general federal law. In pursuit of the objectives spelt out in the Court’s mission, which relate to efficient and effective case management, the Court maintains a policy of judicial-led case management. Therefore it is critical that judges and their direct support staff, in particular, are assisted by systems and tools that contribute to this policy.

With the move to a shared corporate services environment, it is important to develop a common understanding of the Court’s practices and the key supporting systems and business processes. This includes work done in judicial chambers, including interaction with parties during litigation, and the support provided by the registries in both family and general federal law. Preliminary analysis has already identified that automation of the production of court orders would provide significant benefits in terms of efficiency, accuracy and time.

It is equally important that the judges of the Court and case management judges have access to relevant and timely information about their workload. The management of judicial time in a high volume trial court requires accurate information on key parameters to assist the Court in meeting its key performance indicators.

Our strategies over the next four years are to:

    1. Review business processes critical to judicial functions
    2. Implement automation of order production and processing, and
    3. Implement real time business intelligence reporting to monitor and manage workloads for the judiciary.

Priorities for the 2016–17 plan year

In the 2016–17 plan year, we will undertake the following projects and deliverables:

Objective or Project



Evaluate critical business system improvements
  • Develop a roadmap for review.

July 2017

Implement order production and processing automation project
  • Develop and implement a project plan.

July 2017

Scope reporting requirements for business intelligence tools
  • Define reporting requirements.
  • Negotiate resourcing with Corporate Services.

June 2017


3.  Strategic Objective - Flexible and responsive registry services

Registry services provide support to court users and the judiciary of the FCoA and FCC in family law matters. They ensure that all litigants, lawyers and the judiciary have access to skilled staff, timely information and courtrooms that function effectively. The Court’s charter to provide access in a broad geographic area across a diverse caseload creates significant challenges to balance resources and services with cost.

The demands of supporting self-represented litigants has required the Court to introduce self-help processes through intuitive technologies to reduce loads on registry staff and the National Enquiry Centre (NEC).

A strategy was developed in 2015 to identify strategies and priorities to improve service delivery. This reinforces the Court’s commitment to identify technologies and processes to improve communication channels and streamline case management for court users, and provide support to the judiciary.

Our strategies over the next four years are to:

    1. Leverage technology to improve service delivery to court users and the judiciary
    2. Standardise and simplify processes to improve our efficiency and responsiveness to court user’s needs
    3. Partner with State and Commonwealth agencies to enhance service delivery in regional and rural areas, and
    4. Expand capability in the NEC.

Priorities for the 2016–17 plan year

In the 2016–17 plan year, we will undertake the following projects and deliverables:

Objective or Project



Identify opportunities to expand the use of electronic court files to integrate court user needs, improve access and reduce cost
  • Scope the requirements with users.
June 2017
  • Develop a project plan.
June 2017
Reduce demands on NEC and registry staff by better understanding court user needs
  • Interrogate NEC data to identify needs.
June 2017
  • Provide recommendations for services.
June 2017
  • Simplify and improve access to information for litigants and legal practitioners.
June 2017
Create a virtual registry to improve access and reach
  • Improve access for lawyers to court-related information.
  • Introduce systems to initiate applications and make payments.
  • Identify other transactions that can be web enabled.
Scope the potential for using social networking technologies
  • Identify opportunities to use social media to provide users with updated court information.
Identify potential partnerships with government agencies to improve access for court users in rural and regional areas
  • Partnership plan developed.
July 2017


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