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Innovation in Litigation symposium

24 March 2016

On 13 April the Supreme Court, in conjunction with Melbourne Law School will host a symposium on the theme of ‘Innovation in Litigation: Lessons from the Kilmore East-Kinglake Litigation’.

The Kilmore East-Kinglake bushfire was the most destructive of the “Black Saturday” fires of February 2009. The scale of the disaster was reflected in the size of the legal proceedings that followed. More than 5,800 individuals were included in the claimant group. Over 22,000 documents were loaded into the electronic court book for the trial and some 10,300 were eventually tendered in evidence. In addition to 60 lay witnesses, 40 experts in mechanical engineering and other fields were called to give evidence in relation to the cause of the fire.

Managing the volume and complexity of the expert evidence was a key challenge for the Court and participants in the trial. The Supreme Court played an active role, with judicial involvement in the pre-trial management of expert witnesses and supervision of 11 expert conclaves. During the trial, expert evidence was given concurrently, and Justice J Forrest appointed expert assessors to assist in evaluating the technical evidence.

Following settlement of the proceeding, the Court commissioned independent research into the way these issues were addressed in the Kilmore East-Kinglake trial. The half-day symposium on 13 April will highlight the results of this research and provide a forum for judicial officers, lawyers, experts and academics to explore ways in which the lessons learnt can be applied to other litigation.

Registrations (External link) close 7 April 2016.

Read more in the symposium overview.

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