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Workload of the Court in its original jurisdiction

Incoming work

In the reporting year, 4,469 cases were commenced in, or transferred to, the Court’s original jurisdiction. See Table A5.1 on page 130.

Matters transferred to and from the court

Matters may be remitted or transferred to the Court under:

  • Judiciary Act 1903, s 44
  • Cross-vesting Scheme Acts
  • Corporations Act 2001, and
  • Federal Circuit Court of Australia Act 1999.

During the reporting year, 171 matters were remitted or transferred to the Court:

  • 15 from the High Court
  • 31 from the Federal Circuit Court
  • 40 from the Supreme Courts, and
  • 85 from other courts.

Matters may be transferred from the Court under:

  • Federal Court of Australia Act 1976
  • Jurisdiction of Courts (Cross-vesting) Act 1987
  • Administrative Decisions (Judicial Review) Act 1977
  • Bankruptcy Act 1966
  • Corporations Act 2001, and
  • Administrative Appeals Tribunal Act 1975.

During 2019–20, no matters were transferred from the Court.

Matters completed

Figure A5.2 in Appendix 5: Workload statistics shows a comparison of the number of matters commenced in the Court’s original jurisdiction and the number completed. The number of matters completed during the reporting year was 4,871.

Current matters

The total number of current matters in the Court’s original jurisdiction at the end of the reporting year was 3,425 (see Table A5.1 in Appendix 5: Workload statistics).

Age of pending workload

The comparative age of matters pending in the Court’s original jurisdiction (against all major causes of action, other than native title matters) at 30 June 2020 is set out in Table 3.1.

Native title matters are not included in Table 3.1 because of their complexity, the role of the National Native Title Tribunal and the need to acknowledge regional priorities.

Table 3.1: Age of current matters (excluding appeals and related actions and native title matters)

Cause of action

Under 6 months

6–12 months

12–18 months

18–24 months

Over 24 months

Sub-total

Administrative law

37

20

10

8

6

81

Admiralty

9

4

5

5

8

31

Bankruptcy

113

42

21

8

14

198

Competition law

2

7

3

1

4

17

Trade practices

64

60

34

18

48

224

Corporations

272

125

47

40

89

573

Human rights

16

14

10

13

13

66

Workplace relations

2

0

1

0

1

4

Intellectual property

38

34

31

21

47

171

Migration

98

24

17

35

9

183

Miscellaneous

138

83

33

27

46

327

Taxation

53

21

13

31

41

159

Fair work

94

41

40

25

38

238

Total

936

475

265

232

364

2,272

Percentage of total

41.2%

20.9%

11.7%

10.2%

16.0%

100.0%

Table 3.2: Age of current native title matters (excluding appeals)

Cause of action

Under 6 months

6–12 months

12–18 months

18–24 months

Over 24 months

Sub-total

Native title action

24

26

51

32

173

306

Percentage of total

7.8%

8.5%

16.7%

10.5%

56.5%

100.0%

Running total

24

50

101

133

306

The number of native title matters over 18 months old increased slightly compared with figures recorded in the 2018–19 annual report. The number of native title matters between 12–18 months and 18–24 months old also increased. Further information about the Court’s native title workload can be found in The Court's native title jurisdiction.

The Court will continue to focus on reducing its pending caseload and the number of matters over 18 months old. A collection of graphs and statistics concerning the workload of the Court is contained in Appendix 5: Workload statistics.