The District Court Rules 2005 (WA) have been amended
with effect from 19 August 2013. There are three main amendments,
the two most important relating to:
The Inactive Cases List:
There is a new obligation in Rule 37 that, unless otherwise
ordered, a plaintiff has to enter an action for trial within 120
days of the filing of the first defence.
This is to address the issue raised in Ruby v Doric
Constructions (Australia) Pty Ltd  WASCA 94 (a case we
reported on in our April update) in which the District Court
dismissed Ruby's claim for damages after it had been placed on
the Inactive Cases List.
Ruby appealed, arguing that no entry for trial date had ever
been established in any timetable relating to the action. The basis
upon which the District Court had placed the action in the Inactive
Cases List (and upon which it had been subsequently dismissed) was
the date for entry for trial in the "standard timetable".
This is a timetable circulated by the Court after the filing of a
defence. It does not amount to an order specifying the dates by
which certain actions are to be taken but amounts to a timetable
that should be followed, being itself subject to specific
orders that a Case Management Registrar may make.
The simple argument was that as no order relating to Ruby's
obligation to enter the case for trial had ever been made, there
was in fact no timetable applicable to the action and hence the
case could not have become inactive. As the administrative
determination that Ruby's had become inactive was in error, the
dismissal was invalid and the appeal was allowed.
Under the amendment, a date for entering the matter for
trial is now fixed by Rule 37.
Rule 38 has been amended to allow any party to enter a case for
trial, even after it has been placed on the Inactive Cases
Rule 44E has been amended to allow a defendant to file an
appearance in a case on the Inactive Cases List.
The second relates to early return subpoenas (i.e. returnable
before trial), a useful tool in any party's litigation
tool-box. The main changes more closely align the District Court
and Supreme Court practice:
The District Court no longer requires the issuing party to file
a chamber summons and will no longer make orders in relation to
each early return subpoena.
All the issuing party needs to do is to file 3 copies of the
Registry staff will now deal with these matters within
parameters to be set out in a new Circular to Practitioners to be
issued prior to commencement. Applications outside the parameters
will be referred to a Registrar.
Documents may now be produced in PDF format on a DVD in
addition to a CD ROM.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
Kott Gunning is a proud member of
To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.
Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.
Peter Sise explores how your contractual clause for recovery of legal costs might not do what you think it does.
Some comments from our readers… “The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable” “I often find critical information not available elsewhere” “As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).