Complaints and Feedback

Introduction

ACT Law Courts and ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal (ACAT) have a commitment to providing prompt, courteous and effective registry services to the ACT community. The courts and tribunal recognise that court and tribunal users and members of the ACT community can provide them with information to help them maintain high standards of service. The following information is to assist users and members of the community provide feedback or make a complaint about the courts’ and tribunal registries.

Courts and Tribunal covered by this webpage

This information sheet applies to the ACT Supreme Court, the ACT Magistrates Court, ACT Children's Court, ACT Coroner's Court, ACT Industrial Court and ACAT.

Complaints

A complaint may be made by any person, even if they are not a party to a case. Complaints will be dealt with in accordance with the Complaints and feedback policy for ACT Law Courts and Tribunal

The Registrar of the Supreme Court is responsible for overseeing the management of complaints concerning services and facilities in the Supreme Court. The Registrar of the Magistrates Court is responsible for complaints concerning services in the Magistrates Court. The Registrar of ACAT is responsible for complaints concerning services and facilities in ACAT.

Complaints against judicial officers and legal practitioners

Complaints against judicial officers, judicial decisions, legal practitioners and tribunal members cannot be made under the Complaints and feedback policy for ACT Law Courts and Tribunal

If you are dissatisfied with a decision of a judicial officer or tribunal member in a matter to which you were a party you may have a right to appeal the decision. In such cases you should seek legal advice.

On 1 February 2017 the Judicial Council was established to consider complaints about the conduct of judicial officers.  Further information is being developed on the Judicial Council and procedures for handling complaints.

In the meantime, if you wish to make a complaint in relation to:

If your complaint is about the Chief Justice, Chief Magistrate or the President of ACAT you should write to the  Attorney-General of the ACT.

If your complaint is about your barrister or solicitor you should consult the ACT Bar Association ((02) 6257 1437) or the Law Society of the ACT ((02) 6247 5700) about the matter.

How to make a complaint or provide feedback

Orally:

You may make complaint or provide feedback directly to a staff member at the Supreme Court Registry for matters concerning the Supreme Court, the Magistrates Court Registry for the remaining courts and the ACAT registry for ACAT. If that staff member is unable to deal with your complaint they will refer you to an appropriate staff member. If your complaint is complex you may be asked to put your complaint in writing.

You may also lodge you complaint by telephone by calling 1800 024 992.

Written:

Written complaints or feedback are to be delivered to:

The Courts Administrator
ACT Law Courts and Tribunal
GPO Box 370
Canberra ACT 2601

Email:

Email your complaints and feedback about the courts and ACAT to courts.feedback@act.gov.au

What you should include in your complaint

When writing or emailing the court please include the following information:

  • the date;
  • your full name and address;
  • if you are writing about a case you were a party to, the case number;
  • full details of the incident or incidents you are writing about, and
  • what you are seeking as an outcome.

If you have previously complained about the matter, please state when, where and how you made the complaint.

How your complaint will be handled

Written complaints will be acknowledged within 5 business days and details provided of a person to contact about the progress of your complaint. An appropriate member of the registry staff will be directed to investigate your complaint and provide you with a response within 21 days. If your complaint can not be finalised within 21 days you will be advised of the reason for the registry being unable to provide you with a response within that time and an indication when you will receive a response.

The formal response sent to you will set out the writer’s understanding of your complaint, the facts and issues relating to your complaint and any action taken by the court registry in response to your complaint. If the service you received did not meet the standard required of ACT courts and tribunal you will receive an apology. If no action is to be taken in relation to your complaint you will receive an explanation why no further action is to be taken.

Withdrawal of a complaint

You may withdraw your complaint at any time.

Interpreter assistance

A telephone interpreter service is available by telephoning 131 450. A fee may be charged for this service.

If you are not satisfied with the way your complaint was handled

If you are dissatisfied with the response to your complaint you may request that the matter be reviewed. Where your complaint was dealt with by somebody other than the Registrar you may request the Registrar of the Supreme Court to review the matter if your complaint relates to the Supreme Court and the Registrar of the Magistrates Court if your complaint relates to another court or a Registrar of ACAT if your complaint relates to the tribunal.

If the relevant Registrar dealt with your original complaint you may request the Courts Administrator to review your matter.

Confidentiality

Your complaint or feedback will be treated confidentially. However, your complaint and feedback will be subject to the Freedom of Information Act 1989, the Territory Records Act 2002 and the Commonwealth Privacy Act 1988. Those three Acts concern the disclosure of information contained in court and tribunal files and records.

Complaint handling outside the Courts and Tribunal

The courts and ACAT have a commitment to resolving complaints made to them fairly and sensitively. However, if you are not satisfied after we have responded to your complaint you may write to your local member of the Legislative Assembly or contact the Ombudsman’s Office on 1300 362 072.