Family Court of Australia - Goals, Performance Measures, Strategies & Priorities

Corporate Plan 2016 - 2020

Family Court of Australia Goals

The purpose of the Court is to deliver best practice in providing services for children, families and litigants. The Court achieves this through the provision of effective judicial and non-judicial processes and high-quality and timely judgments, while respecting the needs and sensitivities of separating families.

The overall goal of strategy over the next four years is to enable the Court to focus its resources on the cohort of first instance cases and appeals. The Court intends to reinvigorate its case management and particularly its use of registrars.

Key strategic priorities for the Court will include enhancing judicial guidelines in relation to family violence and working with Corporate Services to leverage technology to improve the experience of court users.

Our strategies over the next four years are to:

    1. Ensure best practices in judicial and non-judicial processes, and
    2. Ensure efficient and just dispute resolution.


Performance Measures

The key outcome measure for the Court is contained in Outcome Two of the Portfolio Budget Statements. That is, to apply and uphold the rule of law for litigants in the Family Court of Australia through the resolution of family law matters according to law, particularly more complex family law matters and through the effective management of the administrative affairs of the Court.

The Court maintains three goals related to timely completion of cases. Strategies and priorities are designed to support the achievement of these performance goals. Our Annual Performance Statement will report on the success of the plan to achieve timely completion of cases.

This will be measured by the following:

      1. Clearance rate of 100 per cent
      2. Seventy-five per cent of judgments to be delivered within three months, and
      3. Seventy-five per cent of cases pending conclusion to be less than 12 months old.


1.  Strategic Objective - Ensure best practices in judicial and non-judicial processes

Strategies to address family violence issues are a priority for the Court. Family violence features in a significant proportion of matters filed. It is a complex issue which is further complicated by a range of scenarios including:

    1. The intersection of family violence orders including apprehended violence orders or intervention orders, criminal sanctions and parenting orders made by family law courts.
    2. The consequence of a victim of family violence having to be involved in private litigation with their former partner following an acrimonious separation, particularly if there has been a history of violence.
    3. The need to make interim parenting orders which may have to last 12 months before a final hearing can be provided and where there are contentious issues about safety which cannot always be readily determined at an interim hearing.
    4. The crucial need for adequate risk assessment at the earliest opportunity when an application has been filed.
    5. Where the alleged perpetrator cannot afford a lawyer and is ineligible for legal aid, the need to manage cross-examination of the alleged victim sensitively whilst according procedural fairness to both parties.

The Court is under considerable pressure when parenting matters involve allegations of family violence and other associated issues. Whilst the Government has been proactive in amending the Act to provide better protection and broaden the definition of family violence, the Court’s ability to manage workloads in order to provide timely hearings and well informed outcomes requires considerable management attention. Identification and allocation of resources to address these issues are a priority.

Our strategies over the next four years are to:

    1. Enhance judicial guidelines for family violence, and
    2. Maximise the use of registrars.

Priorities for the 2016–17 plan year

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

Objective or Project



Enhance judicial guidelines for family violence
  • Develop guidelines for judges dealing with cases involving cross-examination of vulnerable witnesses by an alleged perpetrator.
July 2017
Family violence risk screening for interim s11F assessment interviews
  • Review the family violence risk screening process.
June 2017
  • Roll out the revised tool nationally.
June 2017
Evaluate guidelines and processes that will maximise the use of registrars in matters
  • Continual enhancement to the role of registrars to ensure maximum judicial support.
June 2017


2.  Strategic Objective - Efficient and just dispute resolution

The Court will continue to focus on client-oriented initiatives to provide a just, efficient and effective dispute mechanism.

Our strategy recognises that services need to be accessible and tailored to the needs of a diverse range of users. These include unrepresented litigants, those from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, and Indigenous clients. To this end, the Court will focus on continuing to identify the needs of court users and develop resource materials and information to address them.

Our strategies over the next four years are to:

    1. Continuously look for efficiencies and business improvements in processes and operations
    2. Improve processes in dealing with family law matters, with a particular focus on child safety, and
    3. Develop resources and self-help materials to meet the needs of 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



Enhance the quality of family violence information available to clients

  • Review family violence information in forms, publications and on the website.
June 2017
  • Maximise the use of social media as another channel to inform stakeholders about improvements.
June 2017

Improve processes and practices within the Court

  • Review Royal Commission and other reports that assist in process improvements.
June 2017
  • Review Family Violence Best Practice Principles and the Family Violence Plan.
June 2017

Improve access to justice

  • Review the use of interpreters in court.
June 2017
  • Review available information for culturally diverse clients.
June 2017
  • Review information for people with disabilities.
June 2017

Collaborate with other agencies to improve and enhance service delivery

  • Review and enhance the relationship between other jurisdictions and the FCoA.
June 2017


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