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Performance measure 2.1: International crime cooperation, federal offender, international family law, private international law and United Nations human rights committee communications casework

International cooperation in relation to extradition, mutual assistance, international transfer of prisoners, family law, private international law matters and individual complaints to UN human rights committees is managed effectively to strengthen the rule of law and the safety of the Australian community and give effect to Australia’s international obligations.

This performance measure was achieved.

Performance targets

Result

2.1.1 At least 900 extradition, mutual assistance, international transfer of prisoners, federal offender and international family law casework matters finalised

ACHIEVED

2.1.2 At least 80% of extradition legal proceedings heard and determined are resolved in favour of the Commonwealth

ACHIEVED

2.1.3 Stakeholder satisfaction greater than 80% in relation to:

  • effectiveness (expertise and quality of relationship)
  • efficiency (timeliness and responsiveness)

ACHIEVED

2.1.4 Qualitative analysis shows that advice to decision-makers on extradition, mutual assistance, international transfer of prisoners, federal offender and international family law casework is timely and legally robust

PARTLY ACHIEVED

2.1.5 80% of submissions to United Nations human rights committees with respect to individual complaints completed within the timeframes set by the relevant committees

ACHIEVED

2.1.6 At least 125 private international law casework matters finalised

ACHIEVED

Source

  • Portfolio Budget Statements 2020–21, Outcome 1, Program 1.1, page 30 and Program 1.2, page 33
  • Corporate Plan 2020–24, page 27

2.1.1 During 2020–21, we finalised 1,396 casework matters (compared to 1,391 in 2019–20), exceeding our target of 900. The casework consisted of:

  • 103 extradition requests (compared to 33 in 2019–20)
  • 720 mutual assistance requests (compared to 817 in 2019–20)
  • 33 international transfer of prisoner applications (compared to 26 in 2019–20)
  • 351 decisions about federal offenders, being:
    • 319 parole decisions (compared to 300 in 2019–20)
    • 11 decisions about early release on licence (compared to 14 in 2019–20)
    • 17 decisions about breaches of parole (compared to 16 in 2019–20)
    • 4 decisions about travel (compared to 14 in 2019–20)
  • 177 international family law matters, being:
    • 108 applications under the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (the Convention) seeking the return of children who have been abducted to or from Australia (compared to 116 in 2019–20)
    • 25 applications under the Convention seeking access to children overseas (compared to 17 in 2019–20)
    • 17 requests for cooperation under the Hague Convention on Jurisdiction, Applicable Law, Recognition, Enforcement and Co-operation in Respect of Parental Responsibility (the Child Protection Convention) dealing with a range of issues including the transnational placement of children between Australia and other countries that are parties to the Child Protection Convention (compared to 19 in 2019–20)
    • 24 requests for registration of parenting orders (compared to 30 in 2019–20)
    • 3 maintenance and paternity matters (compared to 3 in 2019–20).

Further statistics on international crime cooperation cases (extradition, mutual assistance and international transfer of prisoners) are available in Appendix 5: Extradition and mutual assistance.

We use this target as a proxy measure for efficiency. We have improved casework efficiency including the implementation of a new database for extradition and mutual assistance matters. This allows us to better track individual case progress and manage the overall case cohort. We have also improved knowledge management materials and guidance for staff and we are reviewing and refreshing mutual assistance templates, policies and processes.

2.1.2 During 2020–21, of the 19 extradition legal proceedings heard and determined, 95% were resolved in favour of the Commonwealth, exceeding the target of 80%. These proceedings included bail applications made to a magistrate, extradition eligibility proceedings before a magistrate under section 19 of the Extradition Act 1988, Federal Court proceedings seeking the review of decisions of a magistrate or the Attorney-General or minister, appeals before the Full Court of the Federal Court and extradition related District and Supreme Court proceedings.

2.1.3 In response to questions related to this target in the department’s stakeholder survey, 100% of respondents rated our effectiveness positively and 91% rated our efficiency positively. A detailed explanation of the stakeholder survey methodology and results is at Appendix 2: Methodologies.

Respondent comments indicated that the department’s staff were viewed as conscientious, highly competent and helpful. Twelve per cent of respondents identified concerns about delays in receiving advice, information or responses to issues raised. Comments also related to concerns about staffing levels and turnover. These concerns may be linked to the lower positive rating for efficiency when compared to the positive rating for effectiveness.

2.1.4 The department conducted a qualitative assessment process in May 2021. A panel considered 4 pieces of advice across different casework types and applied qualitative assessment criteria. Advice was considered to be timely if the decision‑maker was given a reasonable period to make the decision (which varied across the different types of casework and decision-makers) and made the decision by the appointed date. Advice was considered to be legally robust if it described the applicable legislation and criteria and provided analysis for the decision‑maker about whether the legislated criteria were met.

The panel found that 2 of the casework matters were of excellent quality and met the assessment criteria. The panel determined that the advice was timely and legally robust. One piece of advice met the qualitative criteria as being timely and legally robust, but the advice could have more clearly conveyed how the facts of the matter applied to the legislative criteria.

The final piece of advice did not meet the assessment criteria as being timely and legally robust. The panel’s concerns related to the absence of clear, written advice about the legislative basis for the decision, including delegations and analysis of the legislative criteria. The panel found that the advice was not clearly written nor well-structured. The panel’s concerns related to the quality of the advice, not to the legal basis for the subsequent decision.

As 3 of the 4 casework matters considered by the panel met the qualitative assessment criteria, this performance measure was deemed to be partly achieved.

Further information on the assessment process is at Appendix 2: Methodologies.

2.1.5 During 2020–21, the department made 38 submissions to United Nations human rights committees. All submissions were completed within relevant timeframes (which includes where the United Nations human rights committees provides extensions) compared to 34 out of 35 submissions in 2019–20. The department increased the proportion of communications it responded to on time through effective prioritisation and caseload management. We use this target as a proxy measure for efficiency, as it measures whether we can respond to the total number of complaints received each year in a timely way using the resources we have available.

2.1.6 The department uses the Private International Law Casework Register to track and monitor the status of requests received under the Hague Convention of 15 November 1965 on the Service Abroad of Judicial and Extrajudicial Documents in Civil or Commercial Matters, the Convention of 18 March 1970 on the Taking of Evidence Abroad in Civil or Commercial Matters and relevant bilateral treaties. The department assesses requests and enters that information into the register to capture identification data and subsequent actions taken.

During 2020–21, the department received 555 service and evidence requests. Of these, 185 requests were finalised (exceeding the target of 125) and 117 were rejected for non-compliance with requirements under the relevant convention or treaty.

Every casework matter is different and the length of time required to process and finalise a case can be affected by a wide range of factors, many beyond our control. Given the varied and variable nature of casework, we use the number of cases finalised each year as a proxy for efficiency.