Overall satisfaction with the court experience
Court user satisfaction survey 2015 results
Overall – http://www.familycourt.gov.au/wps/wcm/connect/fcoaweb/reports-and-publications/reports/2015/report-fluss-2015#_TOC_5
This section covers users’ satisfaction with their overall experience (disregarding the outcome of their case).
Overall, general satisfaction with users’ visit to court rated highly, which indicates that the courts satisfactorily meet user’s needs and expectations. Seventy seven per cent of interviewees for which the overall satisfaction question was applicable (957 out of 1244) were satisfied with their visit to court. Of these, 23 per cent (285 out of 1244) strongly agreed that they were satisfied overall with their visit.
However, the results were not as good as the 2011 results when 86 per cent of clients (996 out of 1152) were satisfied and 35 per cent (400 out of 1152) strongly agreed they were satisfied overall.
This result excludes any consideration of satisfaction with judicial officer decisions, which was not evaluated as part of the user surveys in 2011 nor 2014.
Paralegals/filing clerks had the highest satisfaction rates (88%) followed by lawyers (84%) and respondents represented by a duty lawyer (80%). The first time visitor was more satisfied than the user who had attended court before. First time visitor’s satisfaction rates are 83 per cent compared to 75 per cent for those who have attended more than once.
The qualitative and quantitative results were considered from the following perspectives in order to obtain further insights:
- role such as lawyer, applicant or respondent
- matter heard e.g. divorce proceedings, final/interim orders or other matter, and
- how long ago the proceedings had been initiated.
Those who were most likely to be familiar with the courts and their procedures, that is, those for whom being at court was a part of their day-to-day role, were more likely to be satisfied with the experience. Lawyers and paralegals/filing clerks had the highest satisfaction rates (84% and 88% respectively) whereas applicants were slightly less satisfied overall (average of 76%) and respondents were least satisfied (average of 64%).
The fact that the respondent is not the initiating party is likely to be a major reason for the lower satisfaction levels and this lower satisfaction level for respondents is consistent with the 2011 results.
Interestingly, the lowest overall satisfaction rate was registered equally by the respondent without a lawyer and the respondent with a lawyer (both 64%). While applicants, regardless of legal representation, were generally more satisfied than respondents, an applicant with legal representation was marginally more satisfied than the applicant without a lawyer. See Figures 6 and 7 which compare the 2014 results with those of the survey in 2011.
(Note: More roles were introduced in 2014 to differentiate the legal representation of users.)
In 2011, the results showed that the type of matter heard impacted the client’s overall satisfaction with their visit to the courts. Divorce proceedings were more likely to result in higher satisfaction levels (92%). Orders and ‘other’ matters that are less predictable in time and outcome had relatively lower satisfaction levels (85% and 84% respectively). This result was not replicated in the 2014 survey results. Users who were attending court regarding a divorce were only marginally more satisfied overall (79%) than users who were attending for more complex applications and who were seeking orders (75%). However, regardless of the type of proceedings, the satisfaction level was at or above 75 per cent.
According to the survey, the longer the matter had been going, the less the user was satisfied overall with their experience. This is demonstrated in the following table.
|How long has the proceeding been on foot
|Overall satisfaction with their visit to the court
(Question 35: % of applicable responses with agree or
|Over 2 years||66%|
The range in overall satisfaction levels for individual registries varied from 65 per cent in Brisbane to 88 per cent in Cairns. Six of the 13 registries were below 75 per cent, but of those, two were only marginally below at 74 per cent. Differences between registries in terms of specific aspects of the court experience are discussed in more detail in the next section.
Qualitative data was sought about what impressed the interviewee about their experience on the day. The results were highly complementary of staff. Users were also impressed by the building and how safe they felt.
Some specific comments from applicants were:
“Court orders violated, services around the courtroom are excellent though.”
“Ease of parking – The best 3 hour carpark.”
“Just feel very happy that finally my hard work paid off. I’ve been acknowledged by the judge.”
“I get to see my children the process is appreciated.”
“Feel safe here. Not stressed. Happy with staff.”
“This particular registry is good. Great layout. Well designed. Allows for privacy. Like the chickens.”
Some specific comments from respondents were:
“Staff were punctual, polite, and knew how to answer my inquiry very quickly.”
“the professionalism of all the staff from admin, right up to the judge.”
“Judge was very fair. English is not very good but judge respected that. Judge’s associate & other staff helped to correct any errors in the paperwork. Procedural advice from staff was very good.”
“The facilities and the building – it was very comfortable”
“Security is awesome and judicial staff are fair and approachable. matters are heard quickly”.