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Recordkeeping and information management

Corporate coverage

Information management is a corporate service function supporting the Federal Court, Family Court, Federal Circuit Court, National Native Title Tribunal, Australian Competition Tribunal, Copyright Tribunal of Australia and Defence Force Discipline Appeal Tribunal. The Information Management team consists of four staff, one in Sydney, two in Perth and the Assistant Director in Canberra.

Information governance

Information framework

The information governance framework has been significantly revised. The new information framework incorporates information governance and sets out the principles, requirements and components for best practice information management. The framework provides a robust approach to information management across the entity, recognising that the individual sections of the Court have different information needs.

The information framework is supported by policies and standards that ensure the information that is collected, stored and made accessible is tailored to those differing needs, and meets the entity’s regulatory, legal, risk and operational requirements. Short training modules scripted to support the information framework are also being developed.

Records authorities

The new combined Tribunals Records Authority was officially issued by the National Archives in June 2020. The records authority covers the National Native Title Tribunal, the Copyright Tribunal of Australia, the Australian Competition Tribunal and the Defence Force Discipline Appeal Tribunal. The combined draft Courts Records Authority will be reviewed by the National Archives of Australia in 2020–21.


The Information Governance Committee met quarterly during the reporting year to monitor information governance obligations that effect the entity. The committee endorsed the Deputy Principal Registrar as the Chief Information Governance Officer. The committee focused on the development of the information framework and related policies and standards; information management training to support the framework; access provisions for Court and Tribunal case records that are required to be transferred to the National Archives of Australia; and meeting the ongoing government targets for working digitally. The committee also commenced a review of its terms of reference to ensure that it is representative of the sections of the Court and Tribunal, and that the responsibilities of the committee are appropriate.

The Records Policy Committee met bi-monthly and recommended key policy changes, including the secure disposal of storage media, the Court’s digitisation standard for physical records, access provisions for native title records required to be transferred to the National Archives, and information management induction training. The committee was dissolved in February 2020, as its work has been replaced by the Information Governance Committee.

Information management projects

Information management system

The project to design and implement a new information management system using the Court’s ‘Content Server’ platform commenced in May 2020. The project will consolidate the Court’s three electronic document and records management systems (RecFind, eDOCS and Objective) and implement one, centralised information management system within the Court.

Audio-visual and digital resources

A dedicated national drive has been established to store all native title audio visual and digital resources for the entity. Resources are transferred to other digital formats as required. A preservation assessment of these resources is planned for 2020–21.

Archives and image gallery

The archives and image gallery continues to be a valuable source of information on the Court’s history, including information on judges’ ceremonies, transcripts, speeches, articles and portraits, photos of court buildings, court artworks, newsletters and significant other resources. The image gallery is accessible via the Federal Court intranet.

Artworks audit

The artworks audit was completed and an asset register covering all artworks in the entity was produced. The listed artworks are available from the Court’s Image Gallery.

Information management communication

Information Management revised its intranet presence, creating a single point of access to information management policies, standards and guidelines, records authorities, and providing access to the Court’s current records and information systems.

Contract management

  • The national storage and records management services contracts were extended for a further 12 months. The current contracts expire in March 2021. A new national contract will be negotiated to commence in March 2021.
  • The Court is negotiating a new copyright agreement to cover the entity with the Copyright Agency Pty Ltd. The Court is a partner on the Department of Communication and the Arts’ Agreement with the Copyright Agency. The responsibility for Copyright has moved to Library and Information Services.

Working digitally

The Court continues to work towards the whole-of-government 2020 target to work digitally by default. This is a reportable target set by the National Archives of Australia. Progress towards this target was demonstrated by:

  • increased digitisation of physical files across the Courts
  • deployment of the digital court file in family law
  • completing the digitisation of Family Court file lists, and
  • developing a digitisation standard to enable consistent digitisation of physical items and a digital preservation standard for the preservation of born digital records and the conversion of obsolete media and formats.

National Archives reporting

The National Archives annual check-up, reporting on digital benchmark targets, saw an improvement of 0.29 per cent on the entity’s 2019 results. Improvements were made in the areas of creating, interoperability, storing, disposing and digital operations. This continued steady progress will enable the entity to achieve the whole-of-government targets.

Transfers to National Archives

The first documents to undergo digital transfer for the Court were the minutes and background papers of the Federal Court judges’ biannual meetings. The information was transferred to the National Archives in January 2020. The transfer covered the minutes from the very first meeting on 7 February 1977 to 2007, spanning 30 years. The papers will be released for public access 30 years from the date of publication. Access will be available from the National Archives.

In May 2019, the National Archives approved the transfer of two significant Federal Court physical case matters held in the ACT registry. These matters are the first significant files to be approved for transfer under the Federal Court’s Records Authority:

  • (ACD) AG86/1995: Hughes Aircraft Systems International v Airservices Australia
  • (NSD) NG733/1997: GEC Marconi Systems Pty Ltd T/AS EASAMS Australia v BHP Information Technology Pty Ltd

The first matter is now ready for transfer and a transfer date is being coordinated with the National Archives.