Guide to Commercial Court
This information represents the general practice of Commercial Court and is a guide for practitioners. It should be read in conjunction with the relevant Rules and the relevant Practice Notes. In each individual case the approach adopted will be that decided by the list Judge as the most practical and efficient in the circumstances. Practitioners are encouraged to contact the Associate to the list Judge to gain further guidance or to discuss an application.
- Making an Interlocutory Application
Applications should be made returnable before the list Judge managing the proceeding. Where no Judge has been appointed, applications should be made returnable before the list A Judge.
- Filing Deadlines
As a general rule practitioners should use common sense in considering when to file documents. Where an application relies on voluminous material, or involves complex issues, the applicant should file and serve its application and supporting material as early as possible to give the respondent sufficient time to prepare responsive material. This will also enable the list Judge to read all relevant material, avoiding unnecessary appearances and adjournments.
It is the practice of the Principal Registry to observe the following deadlines in relation to filing for Friday Directions Hearings.
- 4.00pm Tuesday for applications in a proceeding not already listed for the following Friday
- 4.00pm Wednesday for all other material, including applications in proceedings already listed for the following Friday.
- Where necessary, responsive material may be filed on Thursday. Practitioners should phone the Associate for instructions as to whether such material should be filed at the Registry or with the Associate.
In special circumstances leave may be given by the list Judge to file material in Court. Requests should be made by phone to the Associate before the directions hearing.
Practitioners should also note the notification requirements contained in 9.10.1 of the Green Book.
Practitioners are reminded that, contrary to the normal practice of the Principal Registry, in Commercial Court proceedings, original exhibits are to be filed together with affidavits. Where possible exhibits will be returned to practitioners in Court when they are no longer required.
- Draft Minutes of Orders
Practitioners are encouraged to prepare draft minutes of orders and should bring two copies of the orders to the Directions Hearing (one for the Judge and one for the Associate). A copy of the draft orders in Word format should also be e-mailed to the Associate prior to the directions hearing.
- Consent Orders
Other than at the first directions hearing and at the directions hearing at which it is expected that the proceeding will be fixed for trial, consent orders may be submitted to the Court and may be made on the papers without the necessity of an appearance.
Consent orders, signed by all parties, must be faxed or e-mailed (.pdf version) to the Associate by 12.00pm on the Thursday before the directions hearing. A copy of the orders in Word format should also be e-mailed to the Associate. Where consent orders are not received by 12.00pm Thursday, practitioners should assume that they will be required to appear unless notified otherwise by the Court.
- When must I file a summons to bring on an interlocutory application?
Routine applications may be made upon notice and need not be made by summons. As a guide, list Judges in the Commercial Court will consider routine applications to include:
- directions as to the timing of interlocutory steps
- applications and disputes concerning discovery
- applications and disputes concerning particulars
- applications for extension of time and
- applications for the minor amendment of pleadings or other documents.
- applications for security for costs
- strike out, summary stay or dismissal applications and similar applications
- applications to join a party
- applications for significant amendments to pleadings or other documents
- applications to vacate a trial date
- applications for injunctive relief and
- cross-vesting or forum related applications.
- Urgent applications
Subject to existing fixtures, Commercial Court Judges will be available to hear urgent applications, including applications for injunctive relief. Urgent applications may be heard on a Friday directions day or on a date other than a directions day.
- How long will it take to receive the authenticated orders from the Registry?
The Registry aims to send authenticated orders within five working days of their receipt from the Associate.
The plaintiff and defendant will automatically receive an authenticated copy of the orders.
- How long will I have to wait for a trial date?
The Court is to a significant extent dependent on how quickly the parties are ready for trial. It is the Court's aim that the trials in the Commercial Court will commence not later than nine months after the date of issue. The Court will facilitate early hearing dates by placing appropriate matters on "standby" for a particular date where it is anticipated that time might become available.
- Standard Orders
The following standard forms of order should be employed wherever appropriate:
- First Directions
- Setting Down for Trial
- Mediation Order
Marcus Finlay - Commercial Court Registrar
Tel: 03 9603 6059
Fax: 03 9603 9400
Office hours: 9.30am - 4.30pm