Disagreements of one kind or another are a part of commercial
life. When efforts to resolve those disagreements are not
successful, the matter will often end up in court.
While litigation can be a slow and expensive way of resolving
disputes, sometimes it can not be avoided. Unfortunately, the court
system can be vulnerable to the tactics of one or both parties
seeking to delay proceedings, effectively creating a war of
attrition in the courtroom. The result forces both parties to
devote precious resources to armies of lawyers wielding swathes of
To overcome these problems and reduce the costs to litigants,
the Federal Court is implementing new "fast track" rules
to break the burden.
The Rules in a nutshell...
The Rules push for the resolution of disputes within a 4 to 8
month timeframe. Provided that both parties consent, the Rules will
apply to disputes in relation to:
an issue that has importance in trade or commerce
the construction of commercial documents
an issue that has importance in personal insolvency
Essentially, the Rules impose a strict timetable on proceedings
and a limitation on the volume of documentation provided by the
Importantly, the Rules:
will apply to cases that are expected to run for less than 5
require court documents to be informal
anticipate the implementation of a strict timetable for all
expect the parties to attempt resolution of any procedural
disputes outside of court
limit the production of documents for the purposes of discovery
to those upon which a party intends to rely and have significant
stipulate the strict allocation of time for each party to
present its case
limit written closing submissions to 15 pages.
Help or hindrance?
The Rules reflect the fact the most disputes can be resolved
quickly once the key issues and relevant documents have been
Parties that want a speedy resolution to their dispute will
benefit by agreeing to the implementation of the Rules. However, it
is important to note that the Rules may be ill-suited for the
resolution of disputes that are complex and involve large amounts
Chris Kintis t (02) 9931 4896 e firstname.lastname@example.org
Megan Valsinger-Clark t +61 2 9931 4955 e
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This was an interlocutory decision about the appointment of a tutor for the child appellant, to carry on his proceedings.
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