Table of Contents

Our Vision for Reconciliation
Committed to providing access to justice for all Australians
Background
The judiciary
Facts and figures
Family law
General federal law
The Federal Circuit Court of Australia’s RAP journey
Who is Reconciliation Australia and what is reconciliation?
How the Federal Circuit Court can improve access to justice for Indigenous litigants
Relationships
Respect
Opportunities
Tracking progress and reporting

 

Contact information

Judge Matthew Myers AM, Federal Circuit Court of Australia, Newcastle Registry
PO Box 9991
NEWCASTLE NSW 2300
E:  associate.judgemyers@federalcircuitcourt.gov.au

Judge Josephine Willis, Federal Circuit Court of Australia, Cairns Registry
PO Box 9991
CAIRNS QLD 4870
E: associate.judgewillis@federalcircuitcourt.gov.au

Artwork by

Anthony Langitjgun Walker 
Language group : Yiman / Gurreng Gurreng

Copyright

© Commonwealth of Australia
The Federal Circuit Court of Australia provides all material (unless otherwise noted and with the exception of the Coat of Arms) with Creative Commons (CC) Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported licensing. Material may be distributed, as long as it remains unchangedand the Federal Circuit Court of Australia is credited as the creator. More information can be found at: 
http//creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/3.0/
If you have any questions about Creative Commons or licensing generally, please email
communication@familylawcourts.gov.au


 

Our vision for reconciliation

“Reconciliation means that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples can approach the Court with confidence that it is attuned to their needs and will deal with every step of the family law process in a manner which allows them to feel comfortable with the processes of the Court, to feel supported throughout proceedings and able to feel ownership of the outcome of proceedings.

The Court sees the process of reconciliation as an ongoing one where its procedures are continually improved, the views of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are respected and taken into account as part of an ongoing dialogue and the Court is a place where the First peoples of Australia feel a sense of inclusiveness and belonging.”

Chief Judge John Pascoe AO CVO

Federal Circuit Court of Australia

Committed to providing access to justice for all Australians

The Federal Circuit Court of Australia (the Federal Circuit Court) is an independent Federal court established under Chapter III of the Australian Constitution in 2000.

The Federal Circuit Court has jurisdiction across a broad range of federal law, including family law.  The Court’s jurisdiction and workload has grown significantly over the last 14 years and it is now the largest court in the Federal judicial system, responsible for over 87 per cent of all family law matters with a higher percentage in some regions. The Court has 15 registries in all, including registries in each of the State capitals, the ACT and the Northern Territory, along with registries in Parramatta, Townsville, Dandenong, Cairns, Launceston and Newcastle. The Court also conducts Circuits in numerous regions throughout the country. Further work is conducted via Circuits in a further 20 regions throughout the country including Lismore, Rockhampton, Mackay, Burnie, Orange, Wagga Wagga, Albury, Armidale, Broken Hill, Coffs Harbour, Dubbo, Port Macquarie, Wauchope, Mt Gambier, Toowoomba, Ipswich, Hervey Bay, Southport, Maroochydore, Alice Springs, Geelong, Mildura, Morwell, Shepparton/Cobram, Warrnambool, Ballarat, Bendigo and Tamworth.

Background

The Court was established by the Federal Magistrates Act 1999 and jurisdiction was conferred by the Federal Magistrates (Consequential Amendments) Act 1999. The Court was originally named the Federal Magistrates Service before being more properly entitled the Federal Magistrates Court.  In 2013 the Federal Government renamed the Court the Federal Circuit Court of Australia, to more accurately acknowledge the role of the Court, the complexity of the work it now performs and its accessibility for litigants across Australia. The term ‘Federal’ reflects the broad jurisdiction of the Court and the term ‘Circuit’ highlights the importance of the Court’s circuit work in regional areas.  The Federal Circuit Court of Australia (Consequential Amendments) Bill 2012 made consequential amendments to Commonwealth legislation to reflect the name change of the Court and the title of the judicial officers.  The name change also acknowledges that the Court’s present jurisdiction is similar to jurisdiction exercised by the State District Courts, rather than at Magistrate level.

The judiciary

The Court is currently headed by Chief Judge John Pascoe AO CVO. There are now more than 60 judges who make up the Federal Circuit Court, including the first Aboriginal man to become a Federal judicial officer in Australia, Judge Matthew Myers AM, appointed in 2011. Working with the Court is also an Indigenous Liaison Officer Ms Josephine Akee AO, who is based in Far North Queensland. Ms Akee is a proud Torres Strait Islander woman.

Facts and figures

  • In the Court’s first full year of operation (2000–01) 36,435 applications were filed. Twelve years later that figure has grown significantly with 89,599 applications filed in the Court in 2012–13.
  • Of the total applications filed, 82,618 consisted of family law work and 6,981 consisted of general federal law. On a percentage basis, the division is 93 per cent family law and seven per cent general federal law. 
  • Of the total family law work undertaken, the Federal Circuit Court completed 83 per cent and the Family Court of Australia completed 17 per cent. Anecdotally, whilst there are Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander filings all around Australia, some registries such as Cairns and Parramatta report filings from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander litigants of around 50 applications each year.
  • In family law and general federal law, 83 per cent of matters were completed within six months of filing and in family law, 94 per cent were completed within 12 months. In general federal law, 99 per cent were completed within 12 months.

Family Law

The Federal Circuit Court’s family law jurisdiction covers:

  • Parenting – an order regarding parenting and care arrangements for child/ren when their parents or caregivers can not reach agreement.
  • Financial – an order relating to the division of property or payment of maintenance following the breakdown of a marriage or eligible de facto relationship.
  • Divorce – all applications for divorce, except orders relating to nullity and validity of marriage and divorce.
  • Child support – certain applications and appeals.
  • Child maintenance – an order for child maintenance in special circumstances.
  • Parentage declarations and testing – an order declaring that a person is a parent of a child/ren or to assist in determining the parentage of a child/ren.
  • Contraventions – an application alleging a breach of a court order.
  • Injunctions – an application for an injunction in relation to property or children including orders that assist with the personal protection of a party or a child or children. 
  • Location and recovery – application to obtain information, or publish information about the whereabouts of a child or to assist with the return of a child to a parent or party.

General Federal Law

The Federal Circuit Court shares jurisdiction with the Federal Court of Australia. The largest volume of the Court’s general federal law work is in bankruptcy and migration. The Court hears approximately 95 per cent of all migration applications filed in the federal courts. In addition, the Court hears a significant number of industrial law and human rights matters.

The Federal Circuit Court’s general federal law jurisdiction covers:

  • Administrative law
    • Matters under the Administrative Decisions (Judicial Review) Act 1997.
    • Appeals from the Administrative Appeals Tribunal remitted from the Federal Court of Australia.
  • Admiralty
    • In personam actions (claims against a specific person or company) such as freight claims, damage claims and seafarers’ wages.
    • In rem actions remitted by the Federal Court of Australia and state Supreme Courts.
  • Consumer law

    The Court has civil jurisdiction with respect to claims under the following provisions of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (formerly the Trade Practices Act 1974):

    • Section 46 (Misuse of Market Power)
    • Section IVB (Industry Codes)
    • Part XI (Application of the Australian Consumer Law as a law of the Commonwealth), and
    • Schedule 2 (Australian Consumer Law).

    The Court can provide injunctive relief and award damages up to $750,000.

    The Court also has civil jurisdiction with respect to claims under the National Consumer Credit Protection Act 2009. There is provision in certain proceedings for a litigant to elect that an application for compensation be dealt with as a small claims proceeding.

  • Human Rights

    Federal unlawful discrimination matters under the Australian Human Rights Commissions Act 1986 relating to complaints under the:

    • Age Discrimination Act 2004
    • Disability Discrimination Act 1992 
    • Racial Discrimination Act 1975, and
    • Sex Discrimination Act 1984.
  • Industrial law

    The Court has concurrent jurisdiction with the Federal Court for matters under the:

    • Fair Work Act 2009
    • Fair Work (Transitional Provisions and Consequential Amendments) Act 2009
    • Workplace Relations Act 1996 (in so far as it continues to apply), and
    • The Fair Work Act 2009 confers small claims jurisdiction on the Court for various matters if the compensation is not more than $20,000.
    • The Court also has jurisdiction in relation to certain matters under the Independent Contractors Act 2006.

    This jurisdiction is exercised by the Court’s Fair Work Division.

  • Intellectual property

    Copyright

    • Civil claims and matters under Parts V, VAA, IX and
    • Section 248J of the Copyright Act 1968, such as claims for injunctions and damages for breach of copyright.
  • Trade Mark/ Design

    Since 15 April 2013, the Court has certain jurisdiction under the Trade Marks Act 1995 and the Designs Act 2003. The jurisdiction is comparable to that exercised by the Federal Court except it cannot hear an appeal from another court.

  • Migration

    Most first instance judicial reviews of visa-related decisions of the Migration Review Tribunal, Refugee Review Tribunal and the Administrative Appeals Tribunal. The Court does not have jurisdiction to undertake a merits review of these types of decisions.

  • Privacy

    Enforcing determinations of the Privacy Commissioner and private sector adjudicators under the Privacy Act 1988.

The Federal Circuit Court of Australia’s RAP Journey

The journey towards reconciliation has been and will continue to be a work in progress for the Federal Circuit Court. Historically the Federal Circuit Court is the first, and the only federal court to see the appointment of an Aboriginal person to its judiciary. 

The issues of reconciliation and access to justice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have been in the forefront of Chief Judge John Pascoe’s mind since his meeting with Aboriginal Elders at Dubbo in 2011.  Chief Judge Pascoe was deeply affected when speaking with a local Wiradjuri woman about her plight and the story she related about her inability to access justice.  As he talked with the Wiradjuri woman, Chief Judge Pascoe gave his promise and his commitment that, as Chief Judge of the Federal Circuit Court, he would do everything in his power to promote the capacity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to more easily access the federal justice system through this court. 

Following that meeting and in furtherance of his promise and commitment, Chief Judge Pascoe commissioned an Indigenous Access to Justice Committee within the Court. As members of the Committee engaged with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people it became apparent that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community hold a significant level of hurt and mistrust surrounding courts, legal processes and the justice system. Despite these deep levels of hurt and mistrust, Committee members were invariably greeted warmly and invited to engage with Elders and other community members. The willingness of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community to engage with Committee members greatly assisted the Committee in formulating a set of recommendations that ultimately formed the basis for this RAP.

Rather than seeing the recommendations of the Committee adopted and then perhaps eroded or forgotten with the passage of time, Chief Judge Pascoe and Judge Myers held discussions with Reconciliation Australia about the possibility of the Federal Circuit Court developing a Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) – thereby becoming the first Australian court, State or Federal, to do so.

After further discussion, a sub-committee of the Indigenous Access to Justice Committee was formed to bring about the implementation of a RAP by the Federal Circuit Court. The members of the Federal Circuit Court RAP Sub-Committee are:

  • Chief Judge John Pascoe AO CVO
  • Judge Michael Baumann AM
  • Judge Matthew Myers AM
  • Judge Josephine Willis
  • Stewart Fenwick – Director of Administration

The reconciliation journey by the Federal Circuit Court has now become an action plan. It is hoped that the plan will not only allow Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people improved access to justice through the Federal Circuit Court but will encourage other Australian courts to consider embarking upon a similar reconciliation journey.

Who is Reconciliation Australia and what is reconciliation?

Reconciliation Australia is the national organisation promoting reconciliation between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and the broader Australian community. Reconciliation Australia’s vision is one of an Australia that recognises and respects the special place, cultures, rights and contribution of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, and where good relationships between First Australians and other Australians become the foundation for local strength and success, and the enhancement of our national wellbeing.

There is no single strand to reconciliation. Reconciliation is not an easy or straightforward process. What is clear however is that reconciliation is every Australian’s business.

Reconciliation is about building better relationships between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and the wider Australian community for the benefit of all Australians.

If relationships between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and other Australians are to improve people must start to talk about the issue of reconciliation and devise innovative ways to create positive lasting change.

Reconciliation Australia cannot promote reconciliation alone and challenges all Australians to join them on a reconciliation journey.

How the Federal Circuit Court can improve access to justice for Indigenous litigants

The Indigenous Access to Justice Committee was established in May 2012 and is chaired by Judge Josephine Willis, who is based in Cairns. Given the widespread geographical reach of the Federal Circuit Court, Chief Judge Pascoe ensured that judges from both city and regional registries were appointed to the Committee. 

Early on the Committee decided that, in order to properly fulfil the terms of reference, Committee members needed to consult with those legal services working directly with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community. In addition, Committee members consulted with other agencies working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families such as Health Services, family violence prevention units and community welfare services.

The Committee focused on formulating ways that would assist Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander litigants to better understand the nature of the Federal Circuit Court’s role, how the Court decides parenting arrangements for children in separating families and how the Court processes work.

The Committee was painfully aware of the endemic nature of family violence within sectors of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community and emphasised that the Family Law Act 1975 specifically requires the Court to consider family violence issues when making decisions about children and to protect children and parents who are victims of domestic violence. 

The Committee’s consultations served three important purposes. First, Committee members became more aware of the relevant issues and difficulties encountered by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander litigants when accessing and using the Court and were able to share this knowledge with the rest of the judiciary. 

Second, Committee members informed the community about services the Court can provide when making parenting orders and specifically, when making orders affecting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander litigants and children. Committee members explained that the Family Law Act 1975 requires the Court to consider a child’s Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander heritage and that their children have a right to know and enjoy their Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander heritage. 

Importantly, Committee members also sought direction and guidance from the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community as to what practical measures could be implemented to improve their access to the Court, both in terms of facilitating their capacity to apply for court orders and improving their actual experiences within the Court system.

The Committee therefore approached its task in a three step process:

  1. to gather information by going out into the community and contacting the relevant Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander legal services, community services and groups and institutions representing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander litigants and others who assist potential Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander litigants.
  2. to meet regularly and collate the committee member’s information and recommendations, both interim and final, drawn from committee member’s dialogue with these groups and information becoming available. The Committee formulated and devised practical measures to make the pathway to the Court for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander litigants no more difficult than it needed to be.
  3. to formulate a range of recommendations about improving access to the Court which included both the pathway into court and the Court procedures and practices within the courtroom. The Committee focused on and reviewed the current listing and case management processes of the Court in order to ascertain if any of those processes need to be modified so as to ensure they are responsive to and relevant for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander litigants. Where appropriate, pilot programs were recommended for introduction to a specific registry. These recommendations were presented to Chief Judge Pascoe for his consideration.

As part of the first stage, members of the Committee approached and consulted with a wide range of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander legal services and other potential users of our Court all around Australia. It is the view of the Committee that this form of engagement is essential to the success of any recommendations. The Federal Circuit Court’s Committee will in future be referred to as the Indigenous Access to Justice RAP Working Group. Subject to discussions with the Chief Judge, the Committee will develop a short form title for this working group. The Committee is made up of the following judges:

  • Judge Josephine Willis (Chair)
  • Judge Matthew Myers AM
  • Judge Robyn Sexton
  • Judge Dale Kemp
  • Judge Charlotte Kelly
  • Judge Janet Terry
  • Judge Stephen Coates
  • Judge Terry McGuire
  • Judge Joseph Harman
  • Judge Alexandra Harland

Over the next two years the Court’s RAP will be championed by Judge Myers AM, Judge Willis and Judge Harman together with the Indigenous Access to Justice RAP Working Group and the strong and active support of Chief Judge Pascoe.

Relationships

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are overrepresented in the criminal justice systems of the States and Territories of Australia. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders make up a disproportionate number of those people held in correctional facilities and have the highest rate of child removal by child protection agencies compared to any other group within Australia. The Federal Circuit Court acknowledges the damage perpetrated by policies resulting in the forced removal of children from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Families. It is important that Aboriginal and Torres Strait peoples have proper access to justice and the justice system, particularly where that justice impacts on the ability of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to care for their children. 

The Federal Circuit Court is committed to ensuring access to justice for the First Peoples of Australia.  To enhance the Court’s ability to achieve this, the Court wishes to adopt real and practical measures to achieve the principles espoused by Reconciliation Australia. It is vital that the Federal Circuit Court builds strong, enduring relationships with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community in order to achieve this outcome.

Focus area: 
Providing access to justice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the Federal Circuit Court

Action

Responsibility

Timeline

Deliverable

1.1 Indigenous Access to Justice RAP Working Group of the Federal Circuit Court will actively monitor the RAP development and its implementation.

Judge chairing the Indigenous Access to Justice RAP Working Group in consultation with the Chief Judge.

Commencing February 2014

By February 2016

  • Indigenous Access to Justice RAP Working Group oversees the development, endorsement and launch of the RAP.
  • Meet at least four times per year to monitor and report on RAP implementation.
  • To review and refresh the ongoing membership of the Indigenous Access to Justice RAP Working Group.

1.2 The Federal Circuit Court will celebrate National Reconciliation Week and provide opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to build relationships with judges, court and registry staff.

Judge chairing the Indigenous Access to Justice RAP Working Group in liaison with Chief Judge.

27 May - 3 June, 2014 & 2015

  • Organise at least one internal event in each registry each year.
  • Working Group members in each registry to coordinate NRW activities and/or events such as a morning tea.
  • Working Group members to consider options for registry to engage in creative activities during NRW with the local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community.
  • Federal Circuit Court to invite local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elders/community members and staff from organisations such as local Aboriginal Medical Services and Local Aboriginal Land Councils.

1.3 Federal Circuit Court to engage and build stronger relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander legal services and other community agencies servicing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and peoples.

Indigenous Access to Justice RAP Working Group members liaising with Chief Judge Pascoe.

 

By February 2015

By February 2016

By February 2016

By February 2016

  • Elevating the profile of Federal Circuit Court through:
    • Producing a brochure promoting the services of the Court specifically for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
    • Attending, supporting and/or assisting with the establishment of Aboriginal Family Law Pathways Networks.
    • Attending and/or speaking at events and/or conferences that focus on issues that affect Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples such as the National Indigenous Law Conference.
    • Engaging with services such as Aboriginal Medical Services, Local Aboriginal Land Councils, Aboriginal Legal Services.

Respect

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures are complex and diverse. They are the oldest living cultural history in the world going back at least 50,000 years. The Federal Circuit Court acknowledges that fundamental to the issue of reconciliation is the change towards a nationwide respect for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and their culture. 

Respect for Aboriginal and Torres Strait peoples is a ‘keystone’ in ensuring the Federal Circuit Court provides access to justice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families and litigants.

Focus area:
The Federal Circuit Court will focus on improving awareness within the Court by developing appropriate cultural competency training – for staff and the judiciary – to better enhance our delivery of judicial services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clients. We will endeavour to establish productive partnerships with appropriate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander agencies and Elders in this regard. We will also work towards enhancing our appreciation of, and engagement with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ cultural events and activities, as a further public display of the Court’s respect for the First Peoples of Australia and our commitment to Reconciliation. 

Action

Responsibility

Timeline

Deliverables

2.1 Federal Circuit Court to provide ongoing opportunities to judges of the Court to enhance cultural awareness training at a local level or otherwise available  to increase understanding and appreciation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures.

Chief Judge Pascoe in liaison with the Indigenous Access to Justice RAP Working Group members and individual judges.

By December 2014

By February 2016

  • Engage with and develop a list of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples working as consultants who are able to provide cultural competence training: 
    Continue to enhance and encourage judicial cultural training through coursework, formal education and/or firsthand experiences such as meeting with Elders within their community.

2.2 Federal Circuit Court to engage judges of the Court, court and registry staff in understanding the protocols around Acknowledgement of Country and Welcome to Country ceremonies to ensure there is shared meaning behind the ceremonies.

Indigenous Access to Justice RAP Working Group members in consultation with Chief Judge Pascoe.

By July 2014

By May 2014

By July 2014

By February 2015

By February 2016

By February 2016

By February 2016

  • Develop, implement and communicate a protocol document for the Federal Circuit Court.
  • Develop a list of appropriate persons/Land Councils to provide a Welcome to Country.
  • Ensure Acknowledgment of Country statement is set out on the home page of the Federal Circuit Court’s website.
  • Investigate the acquisition and display of signage Acknowledging the Traditional Owners for each registry.
  • Encourage judges of the Court to deliver an Acknowledgement of Country when publically speaking at external events and encourage judges and chambers staff to consider placing on email signatures.
  • An Acknowledgement of Country be given at the commencement of an Indigenous List or an Indigenous Circuit.
  • Identify at least two significant events for which a Welcome to Country from a Traditional Owner will be included such as the yearly plenary.

2.4 Federal Circuit Court to embrace, acknowledge and respect Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures.

Indigenous Access to Justice RAP Working Group members in consultation with Chief Judge Pascoe and registry managers.

By December 2014

 

By February 2016

 

 

 

By February 2016

  • All registries to subscribe to Koori Mail, National Indigenous Times and Torres News and put for subsequent display in the registry.
  • Encourage judges of the Court to consider placing appropriate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artworks, cultural items and flags within courtrooms, foyers and registries.
  • Ensure that the existing and new Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artwork within chambers and registries are accompanied by a plaque acknowledging the artist and story.

Opportunities

Reconciliation between the Federal Circuit Court and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples presents opportunities including the opportunity to utilise the assistance of Indigenous Liaison Officers within the Court. It is the view of the committee that such officers will provide invaluable assistance to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander litigants throughout Australia and to practically improve access to justice. The Federal Circuit Court is well placed to assist Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to undertake work experience. Judges of the Court have the experience necessary to mentor law students.  Mentoring is a tangible way to assist future generations of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples undertaking Law studies to become involved in the legal system and those students in a position of bringing about change within their communities and wider Australian society.

Focus area:
The Federal Circuit Court will focus on developing opportunities for members of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community to enhance their educational and career prospects, through offering placements and work experience opportunities for law students/graduates and through establishing traineeships and work experience for other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples wishing to work within the courts system – or within the Australian Public Service more broadly.

Action

Responsibility

Timeline

Deliverables

3.1 Federal Circuit Court to encourage each registry to investigate opportunities to increase Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employment.

Chief Judge Pascoe, CEO, Indigenous Access to Justice RAP Working Group members and Stewart Fenwick Director of Administration.

By December 2015
By June 2015

  • Explore funding opportunities to enable Indigenous Liaison Officers to be engaged in all registries across Australia.
  • Explore funding opportunities to enable the Court to offer traineeships dedicated to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. 
  • Explore the opportunity to allow Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander law students to do work experience in the courtroom and/or chambers.

3.2 Federal Circuit Court to encourage each registry to investigate opportunities to mentor and support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander law students.

Indigenous Access to Justice RAP Working Group in consultation with Chief Judge.

By June 2015

  • Explore the opportunity for judges of the Court to mentor Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander law students through existing university mentoring programs.

3.3 Deliver better access for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to justice by delivery of court services to targeted Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

Indigenous Access to Justice RAP Working Group members in consultation with Chief Judge Pascoe.

By June 2015

  • Explore holding Circuits in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and in the absence of a court building, for these hearings to be held in informal settings.
  • Consider assigning duty days and/or creating a list within individual Judicial Officer’s docket of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander matters.

3.4 The Federal Circuit Court will encourage this Court’s Administration to explore further opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employment and opportunities within our court.

Judge Myers and Judge Willis as Chair of the Indigenous Access to Justice RAP Workings Group liaising with Stewart Fenwick Director of Administration and the Chief Judge.

By February 2015

  • Hold various meetings with the Court Administration to understand process of developing and implementing a RAP.

3.5 The Federal Circuit Court of Australia will use its sphere of influence in reconciliation to create opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander legal services and other recognised entities to work together in partnership to increase access to justice for Indigenous litigants.

Indigenous Access to Justice RAP Working Group members, Chief Judge Pascoe, Chief Executive Officer.

By February 2016

  • Build a business case to investigate options of funding and support for a National Indigenous Family Law Conference for the Federal Circuit Court.

Tracking progress and reporting

Action

Responsibility

Timeline

Deliverables

1. The Federal Circuit Court will report achievements, challenges and learnings to Reconciliation Australia for inclusion in the RAP Impact Measurement Report.

Chair of the Indigenous Access to Justice RAP Working Group members liaising with other judges and the Chief Judge.

By February 2015 & 2016

  • Complete and submit the RAP Impact Measurement Questionnaire to Reconciliation Australia annually.

2. The Federal Circuit Court will investigate and research various ways and means to track our RAP progress and report on what has been achieved.

Chair of the Indigenous Access to Justice RAP Working Group members liaising with other judges and the Chief Judge.

By February 2016

  • Produce an annual report which measures our progress and impact of our RAP actions and targets, which can feature case studies of how the Federal Circuit Court has increased access to justice for Indigenous Litigants through our RAP.