THE cost of running the federal court system will increase by 22 per cent this year.
A new report that looks at the cost of delivering justice in Australia has revealed that the cost of the system would increase to $355.828 million in the current financial year, up 22 per cent from the year before.
In its report released yesterday, the Senate Legal and Constitutional References Committee showed that the Attorney General's Department estimated that the total cost of the federal court system would be $314,047,542.86 for the financial year ending 30 June this year.
This included the cost of court appropriations, which reached more than $291 million, the cost of pensions, reaching more than $19 million, the appropriation of High Court remuneration and allowances, at more than $3 million, as well as additional funding to the Family Court of Western Australia, at $556,000.
The Committee said that some federal courts have recently considered cost saving measures. For example, the Federal Court of Australia investigated a new model for the provision of Federal Court services, whereby all small registries would report to the Deputy Registry of a larger, parent registry.
The Law Society of Tasmania, however, opposed such a move on principle, and due to the potential reduction in court users' ability to access the judicial system.
The Committee said it recommended that each state and territory should be permanently staffed by a locally-based and legally trained registrar.
It noted, however, that the cost of delivering justice is not limited to the costs of the federal court system.
It said there are the annual costs of the state and territory court sytems, as well as financial and non-financial costs to court users.
The full report and its recommendations can be found here. http://www.aph.gov.au/Senate/committee/legcon_ctte/access_to_justice/report/report.pdf