Our relationships are essential to help us achieve our purpose and deliver on key activities and performance measures. Successful engagement and collaboration helps to contribute to more effective connection of services, better cooperation and sharing of information and improved service delivery.
Each Court and the National Native Title Tribunal works with a broad range of stakeholders, including the legal profession, government agencies, other courts, non-Government organisations, research, academia and community groups, to build partnerships to promote access to justice, early engagement with products and services, and more effective information to assist Court and Tribunal users.
As independent courts and a tribunal, we each have different stakeholders and partnerships that underpin the broader Entity structure. For the Courts, relationships are managed either by the Chief Justice, Chief Judge, other judges or the respective CEO and Principal Registrar on behalf of the Chief Justice and Chief Judge. For the National Native Title Tribunal, relationships are managed by the President and Native Title Registrar.
Over the four years of this plan, the Courts and the National Native Title Tribunal will focus on sustaining engagement and cooperation by continuing to build on existing highly successful partnerships and working collaboratively to build new ones.
The Courts engage in a wide range of activities with the legal profession, including regular user group meetings. The aim of user groups is to provide a forum for court representatives and the legal profession to discuss existing and emerging issues, provide feedback to the Courts and act as a reference group. Seminars and workshops on issues of practice and procedure are also regularly held. Registries also host advocacy sessions, bar moot courts and moot competitions and assist with readers’ courses.
Court facilities are made available for many events for the legal community, including lectures, seminars and ceremonies. Registries also host visiting delegations from overseas courts who are interested in learning more about the Courts’ operations. The Courts are also active supporters of legal education programs, both in Australia and overseas. The Courts also regularly engage with the Law Council of Australia, the Australian Bar Association, and the various state and territory bar associations and law societies.
The Courts continue to coordinate a number of projects and activities to support governance, access to justice and the rule of law within neighbouring judiciaries. By collaborating with other courts, predominantly across the Australasian and Asia Pacific region, the Courts are able to contribute to a number of our partners’ important reform and development priorities. Detailed information on this is published in the Courts’ annual reports.
The Director Security as the Courts’ Sheriff and Marshal, works closely with the Australian Federal Police and state and territory police. This is particularly important in the execution of orders originating from family law matters such as the recovery of children, the arrest of persons and the prevention of persons, including children, leaving Australia. The Sheriff and Marshal also works closely with these services to ensure that information relevant to the safety and security of the Courts and Tribunal staff and the community, is available at the appropriate time. In addition, the Marshal and Sheriff works with the Commonwealth’s domestic security service on developing concerns regarding the Courts’ and Tribunal’s security. The Sheriff and Marshal also maintain close and cooperative relationships with the Sheriffs of the states and territories, in particular to facilitate service and execute civil property, search and seize orders.
The National Native Title Tribunal continues to work with stakeholders, particularly representative bodies, governments at all levels, peak bodies and Prescribed Bodies Corporate. The President, Members and Native Title Registrar have established a fresh engagement agenda to implement its new function (post-determination assistance), as well as continued targeted engagement to ensure the most effective use of resources. The National Native Title Tribunal conducts information sessions around the country to assist stakeholders in understanding their legal obligations and the need for compliance with the future act provisions of the Native Title Act. The National Native Title Tribunal also actively fosters its invigorated working relationship with the Federal Court. A protocol facilitates the performance of Court and Tribunal native title roles and builds upon this close existing relationship.
The Federal Court of Australia, the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (Division 1) and the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (Division 2) have numerous external stakeholders, including state and territory Bar Associations and Law Societies, the Australian Bar Association, the Law Council of Australia and the Family Law Section of the Law Council of Australia. Close engagement and ongoing collaboration also occurs with Legal Aid organisations, women’s legal groups, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services, migrant and refugee services, community legal services, child welfare agencies, the Australian Federal Police, state and territory police, overseas jurisdictions, Relationships Australia, Family Relationship Centres, alternative dispute resolution providers and judicial education and research organisations.
There are several established channels through which external stakeholders may inform the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (Division 1) and the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (Division 2) of issues and provide feedback, including the following:
- The Australian Institute of Family Studies was established under section 114B of the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) and is a forum for the exchange of information and research.
- The Chief Justice and Senior Officials meet regularly with key representatives of national and state bar associations and law societies and women’s legal groups. In addition, the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (Division 2) has established relationships with bar associations, law societies and key stakeholders in regards to migration and other general federal law matters.
The Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (Division 1) and the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (Division 2) have a number of strategies for strengthening partnerships with stakeholders, including legal practitioners, non-government organisations, and government agencies and departments.
Judges and Registrars regularly present to law societies and bar associations in their respective jurisdictions, as well as holding informal meetings with members of the legal profession and participating in stakeholder meetings.
Registrars, Court Child Experts and other staff continue to regularly engage with numerous external groups such as local family law pathways networks, legal aid, bar associations and law societies, local practitioners and practitioners’ associations, community legal centres, family relationship centres, community organisations and support groups, child protection agencies, family violence committees and organisations, state courts, universities and police services.
Subsequent to the Courts’ engagement of Indigenous Family Liaison Officers, the Courts have facilitated increased engagement with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, court users and stakeholders. This has enabled a dialogue in relation to access to justice initiatives which will allow the Courts to continue to improve the levels of engagement with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and ensure that initiatives are culturally responsive to the needs of these communities. The Courts will continue to focus on the development of tailored responses and initiatives for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families, as well as the expansion of the Indigenous Family Liaison Officer cohort to assist in achieving these important aims.
The following diagram is a high-level depiction of the interconnection of relationships and stakeholders of the Courts and National Native Title Tribunal across the Entity.