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Workload of the Court in its original jurisdiction

Incoming work

In the reporting year, 2,412 cases were commenced in, or transferred to, the Court’s original jurisdiction. See Table A 5.1.

Matters transferred to and from the court

Matters may be remitted or transferred to the Court under:

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

During the reporting year, 163 matters were remitted or transferred to the Court:

  • 16 from the High Court
  • 33 from the Federal Circuit Court
  • 46 from the Supreme Courts, and
  • 68 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 2020–21, 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 2,916.

Current matters

The total number of current matters in the Court’s original jurisdiction at the end of the reporting year was 3,736 (see Table A5.1).

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 2021 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

31

4

6

10

88

Admiralty

9

8

5

1

8

31

Bankruptcy

100

17

20

15

18

170

Competition law

5

6

0

3

7

21

Trade practices

45

55

33

33

64

230

Corporations

234

138

69

75

92

608

Human rights

37

17

7

8

18

87

Workplace relations

0

2

0

0

0

2

Intellectual property

53

34

10

19

59

175

Migration

122

59

18

5

51

255

Miscellaneous

141

72

42

41

74

370

Taxation

42

25

36

4

46

153

Fair work

76

69

31

21

54

251

Criminal

2

0

0

3

6

11

Total

903

533

275

234

507

2,452

Percentage of total

36.8%

21.7%

11.2%

9.5%

20.7%

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

17

25

9

16

196

263

Percentage of total

6.5%

9.5%

3.4%

6.1%

74.5%

100.0%

Running total

17

42

51

67

263

The number of native title matters over 18 months old decreased slightly compared with figures recorded in the 2019–20 annual report. The number of native title matters between 12–18 months decreased significantly and between 18–24 months old also increased. Further information about the Court’s native title workload can be found later in this part.

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.