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 . Keywords: Court users; court support; satisfaction survey.