Australia: It's a new era for litigation in Victorian County Courts

Last Updated: 9 March 2016
Article by Kerri Thomas and Jehan Mata

A new Practice Note (PNCL-2016) "Operation and Management of the Lists within the Common Law Division", which was authorised by Judge O'Neill, Head of the Common Law Division, came into effect on 3 December 2015.

The purpose of the changes is to create an efficient, effective and streamlined Common Law Court process that will involve fewer documents, and will reduce the "life expectancy" of litigated matters and legal costs.

Serious injury claims will be significantly affected by the changes, with a further list established within the Common Law Division to expedite particular serious injury claims.

Below is a summary of the key changes set out in the Practice Note.

Issue of proceedings

All practitioners are now encouraged to file documents with the County Court's eFiling system. It is expected that all documents filed with the Court will be electronically filed by August 2016. Self-represented litigants will be excused from this requirement.

Discovery and interrogatories

In the Common Law Division, the number of interrogatories served in a proceeding is now limited to 30, including sub-parts. The limitation is new to Victoria and brings the State into line with most other states.

In motor vehicle and industrial accident cases, interrogatories are to be confined to questions of liability only.

Serious injury applications

Changes have been made to the requirements for filing and serving affidavits. The number of medical and expert reports that are annexed to affidavits has also been addressed.

In summary, these changes are:

  • Parties will no longer be required to file an affidavit in support of, or in opposition to, any serious injury application, instead they are to be included in the Court Book.
  • Parties are no longer required to produce a Statement of Calculation of Economic Loss or a Statement of Issues document at hearings. If a party considers the application is particularly complex, has a long history and/or that a Chronology would assist the matter, a Chronology may be provided to the Trial Judge.
  • During Counsels' opening and/or final submissions, they must outline the facts and issues relevant to the application in line with the Facts and Issues Document (FID). If submissions will align with the FID, they are not required to be in writing unless ordered by the Trial Judge.
  • If a party wishes to add another report, leave can be sought from the Court.
  • For medical and other expert reports, the only reports that will be allowed in the Court Book, and can be admitted into evidence, are:
    • reports of the Plaintiff's treating practitioners
    • reports of practitioners who have treated the Plaintiff for relevant past injuries or conditions
    • reports from two consultant practitioners in each of the specialties that relate to the claimed injury or condition, and
    • the reports of two psychiatrists or a psychiatrist and a psychologist in mental or behavioural disturbance or disorder applications.
  • Counsels' opening submission are limited to 20 minutes and closing is limited to 30 minutes.
  • Only the Plaintiff is permitted to be cross-examined. If parties wish to cross-examine any other witness, they are required to seek leave of the Court, however, a more compelling reason is required than "to challenge an opinion" or "to explore matters".
  • Cross-examination shall be restricted to two hours per witness, save with the leave of the Trial Judge.

The Serious Injury Expedited List

The Serious Injury Expedited List is a new list that came into operation on 18 January 2016.

This allows serious injury applications that have been through the preliminary application process with another Authority (such as the Transport Accident Commission or Workcover/Worksafe) to be fast tracked and resolved as quickly as possible to reduce costs.

Applications will enter this List once the Originating Motion has been filed, along with a request to enter the List. A hearing date will be listed between 21 days and 49 days from the date of filing the Notice of Appearance and Certificate of Readiness by the Defendant. Other serious injury applications may request to enter this List, where both parties have certified to the Court that all disclosure obligations have been met and the proceeding is ready to go to trial.

Entry to the List is conditional upon the Plaintiff being the only witness to be cross-examined. Leave to cross-examine other witnesses will only be granted in exceptional circumstances.

What do these changes mean for litigation?

The new streamlined process for serious injury applications is aimed at making the litigation process in Victoria more cost and time effective.

The changes to the process of issuing interrogatories in common law damages claims clearly reflects the Courts' concerns about unnecessary costs and delays that lengthy interrogatories can cause.

In the short term, we anticipate far more active case-management by judges to ensure more rigid compliance with the Court orders and timetables. It remains to be seen whether the changes to the serious injury application process is a precursor to changes to common law damages cases. It is likely that Victoria will follow the NSW example of very active case management.

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.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Kerri Thomas
Jehan Mata
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”

Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
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).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.


Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.


Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.


A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.


If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.


This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.