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BB124

Author Paul Nelson, Winifred Agnew-Pauley and Lily Wozniak
Published March 2017
Report Type Bureau Brief No. 124
Subject Court processes and delay
Keywords Court users; court support; satisfaction survey

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Summary

Aim

To examine the experience of court users of two metropolitan courthouses in New South Wales.

Method

311 court users were surveyed regarding their awareness, understanding, contacts, and satisfaction with services at court. The sample included defendants (33.1%), victims (10.6%), witnesses (8.0%) and supporters (48.2%). Court professionals were not sampled.

Results

Nearly all (90.6%) court users had previously attended court. Court users who reported contacts with court staff (64.1%) typically found these contacts very helpful. Court users who were well informed about support options at court (31.9%) were much more likely to rate other measures of court experience positively. Court experiences varied somewhat with user role; notably, victims, witnesses and their supporters were much more likely to receive proactive assistance than defendants and their supporters (37.0% vs. 20.7%, p<.01). Court users’ suggestions for improving their experience included clearer and more prominent signage and more frequent information about the timing of hearings.

Conclusion

In line with previous research, this sample of court users primarily reported positive experiences. Opportunities for increased awareness about support were apparent across court user roles. A number of court users’ concerns were practical and thus might be resolved through increased communication before and at court.

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