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The objective of the Commercial Court is to provide for the just and efficient determination of commercial disputes. Proceedings are managed by Judges and Associate Judges with extensive commercial expertise and experience. The Commercial Court conducts sittings Monday to Thursday reserving Fridays for directions hearings and applications.
With effect from 1 September 2014 the Trial Division of the Supreme Court was restructured and the Commercial and Equity Division became the Commercial Court of the Supreme Court.
The three (3) divisions of the Trial Division of the Supreme Court are now the:
1. Commercial Court
2. Common Law Division
3. Criminal Law Division
The underlying objectives of the new and invigorated Commercial Court are to enhance flexibility in the allocation of judicial resources and to meet the expectation of the legal profession for active case management and fixed trials.
For an overview of the Commercial Court, and the types of matters filed in it, please refer to Practice Note SC GEN 2 Structure of the Trial Division
The Commercial Court handles genuinely urgent applications in commercial matters using the procedure listed below.
During business hours
To fix an urgent hearing between the hours of 9.00am to 5.00pm Monday to Friday before the Commercial Court Duty Judge please:
- Contact the Commercial Court Registry on 9603 4105; then
- Email the Commercial Court Registry at: email@example.com with the following information.
For matters already under Judge-management refer to Practice Note SC CC 1 Commercial Court.
To fix an urgent hearing before the Commercial Court Duty Judge please:
- Contact the Duty Judge Associate on 0439 153 522; then
- Email the Duty Judge Associate at: firstname.lastname@example.org with the following information.
Only if the Duty Judge Associate is unavailable, then:
- Contact the Commercial Court on-call Assistant Registrar on 0447 054 310; then
- Email the Commercial Court on-call Assistant Registrar at: email@example.com with the following information.
Please refer to Practice Note SC CC 1 Commercial Court.
For any Common Law urgent applications, please refer to Practice Note SC CL 10 Practice Court (Common Law).
Judges of the Commercial Court
The Principal Judge of the Commercial Court is the Honourable Justice Hargrave assisted by the Deputy Principal Judge, the Honourable Justice Judd.
The Commercial Court judges, listed alphabetically below, are:
- Justice Almond
- Justice Croft
- Justice Digby
- Justice Dodds-Streeton (Reserve Judge)
- Justice Elliott
- Justice Hargrave
- Justice Judd
- Justice Kennedy
- Justice Robson (Reserve Judge)
- Justice Sifris
- Justice Sloss
- Justice Vickery
For a list of current judges of the Supreme Court see the judicial organisational chart.
To contact the chamber of a Commercial Court judge or associate judge, please click here.
Practitioners are referred to Practice Note SC GEN 4 Protocol and Practice Note SC CC 1 Commercial Court at paragraph 7. Any correspondence with associates must be sent simultaneously to all other parties and must be confined to uncontroversial matters.
Telephone communications must be confined to administrative and routine matters. Requests for legal or procedural advice will not be answered.
Lists in the Commercial Court
The Commercial Court allocates proceedings to commercial or specialist lists. Each list is managed by a judge. In certain circumstances interlocutory applications may be heard, and corporations proceedings may be managed, by an Associate Judge. The jurisdiction of Associate Judges is set out in rule 77.04-5 of the Supreme Court (General Civil Procedure) Rules 2015 (Chapter I Rules). The powers of Associate Judges and the Judicial Registrar in relation to corporations matters are listed in Schedules 2 and 2A of the Supreme Court (Corporations) Rules 2013 (Chapter V Rules).
General Commercial lists
The General Commercial Lists are each managed by a judge of the Commercial Court. The matters dealt with concern disputes arising from commercial dealings.
The General Commercial Lists A - E were retired on 1 July 2016. They have been replaced with Lists corresponding to the relevant managing judge, listed alphabetically below:
- Commercial List - Almond J
- Commercial List - Croft J
- Commercial List - Digby J
- Commercial List - Dodds-Streeton JA (Reserve Judge)
- Commercial List - Elliott J
- Commercial List - Hargrave J
- Commercial List - Judd J
- Commercial List - Kennedy J
- Commercial List - Robson J (Reserve Judge)
- Commercial List - Sifris J
- Commercial List - Sloss J
- Commercial List - Vickery J
For more information about the changes to the Commercial Court Lists with effect from 1 July 2016, please refer to Practice Note SC CC 1 Commercial Court and Practice Note SC GEN 2 Structure of the Trial Division.
The specialist lists of the Commercial Court are:
- Intellectual Property
- Technology, Engineering and Construction (TEC)
Practitioners can choose to enter a general commercial or specialist list directly upon initiating a proceeding.
Alternatively, the Court can, under its own motion, choose to move a matter into a judge-managed list, if it appears that the matter would be more appropriately managed and determined there. Refer to Practice Note SC CC 1 Commercial Court.
The introduction of the Commercial Court's specialist and general lists enables targeted allocation of proceedings to lists managed by judges who have extensive specialist and commercial law experience.
The advantages to this approach are:
- Specialist case management may reduce the amount of pre-trial work and the cost involved for the parties. Similarly, it will potentially result in shortened timeframes to finalisation.
- In addition, the judge-managed lists are structured so as to allow greater flexibility to reallocate a matter before another judge in the event that the original judge is unable to hear the case, to minimise bottlenecks in litigation.
The following is a list of some of the factors that a legal practitioner should consider when deciding whether to initiate in a Commercial Court judge-managed list:
- What is the subject matter in dispute? Does it accord with one of the specialist lists?
- How complex are the issues in dispute? Many complex matters would ordinarily be heard by judges of the Commercial Court.
- Should the matter be issued before an Associate Judge?
- What is the quantum in dispute? Is it large? If not, would it be more suitable to issue in another jurisdiction such as the County Court?
- Is the matter of a truly commercial nature? Is it a matter that, at the heart of the dispute, would be more appropriately issued in the Commercial Court or the Common Law Division?
Associate Judges undertake a range of functions regarding commercial and Corporations matters. The jurisdiction of Associate Judges is set out in rule 77.04-5 of the Supreme Court (General Civil Procedure) Rules 2015 (Chapter I Rules). The powers of Associate Judges in relation to Corporations matters are listed in Schedules 2 and 2A of the Supreme Court (Corporations) Rules 2013 (Chapter V Rules).
Examples of the types of common Commercial Court matters that Associate Judges hear include:
- Applications to wind-up a company;
- Appointment of a liquidator, provisional liquidator or administrator;
- Applications for the public examinations including of directors and officers of a company;
- Applications to reinstate a company;
- Orders with respect to voidable transactions;
- Mortgage default; and
- Debt recovery and related enforcement proceedings.
Associate Judges also resolve a wide range of interlocutory civil disputes before and after trial and give directions, make orders and make determinations in an intermediate stage of a proceeding. Associate Judges are also responsible for some preparatory work that otherwise would be carried out by a Judge.
The applications and interlocutory disputes heard by Associate Judges include:
- applications for substituted service of court process;
- disputes concerning the discovery or disclosure of documents;
- summary judgment applications;
- pleadings disputes;
- applications for security for costs;
- assessments of damages;
- applications to extend the period of validity of Writs and warrants of execution;
- garnishee summonses;
- examinations of debtors;
- registration of foreign judgments; and
- a variety of other matters including those previously listed in the former Civil Management List.
Documents in proceedings which are within the power of an Associate Judge may be filed in the Principal Registry.
Interlocutory applications in the Commercial Court are handled differently, depending upon the circumstances of the case. Specifically,
- Where a new proceeding is entered into a Judge-managed List, but it is not yet managed, contact the Commercial Court Registry (CCR) in the first instance. The CCR will then either liaise with chambers to determine an appropriate date for the interlocutory application to be heard and notify the parties of the approved hearing date prior to filing. Alternatively, the CCR will list the application for a date to be fixed and provide the parties with written notification when a date is set.
- If the matter is an existing proceeding in a Judge-managed List which is being Judge-managed, please contact the chambers of that judge for a return date before filing any applications. E-mail confirmation of the return date should be provided to the CCR when filing the application.
- If the matter is a new proceeding which is suitable to be heard by an Associate Judge, please refer to either the Corporations page or the Associate Judges page for further details.
- If the matter is an existing proceeding which is already being managed by an Associate Judge, please contact the chambers of that Associate Judge for a return date, before filing any applications. E-mail confirmation of the return date should be provided when filing the application.
Practitioners should note that fees are payable for interlocutory applications.
Judicial Registrar and Commercial Court Registry
Judicial Registrar Hetyey is responsible for the management and oversight of the dedicated Commercial Court Registry. In addition to providing operational support to the Commercial Court Judges, the Judicial Registrar also conducts mediations and performs other judicial functions. The Senior Associate to Hetyey JR can be contacted on (03) 9603 4210.
The Commercial Court Judges have developed a pro-active, targeted and collaborative procedure for referring matters to judicial led and other mediations. Judicial Registrar Hetyey has conducted judicial mediations and initial conferences (in accordance with the oppression pilot).
Associate Judges were previously solely responsible for conducting public examinations under the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth). However, these matters may now also be dealt with by a Judicial Registrar.
In addition to the above, Judicial Registrar Hetyey determines a number of ex parte applications each week which would otherwise be heard by Associate Judges eg: substituted services, extension of the time for services of a writ etc.
The Commercial Court has its own specialist registry assisting the Commercial Court judges in managing the general Commercial lists and the Specialist lists. The registry currently accepts documents to be filed in all judge-managed, Commercial Court, matters.
Contact details for the Commercial Court Registry are:
Phone: 03 9603 4105
Opening hours: 9.30am to 4.00pm, Monday to Friday excluding public holidays
Ground Floor, 450 Little Bourke Street
Melbourne Victoria 3000
Commercial Court Registry
Supreme Court of Victoria
210 William Street
Melbourne Victoria 3000
DX 210608 Melbourne
RedCrest(External link) is the 24/7 e-lodgment and electronic court file system for all judge-managed matters filed in the Commercial Court. Only legal practitioners are eligible to register for access to RedCrest. If you are a self represented litigant, please contact the Court's Self Represented Litigants Coordinator for assistance.
Order 28A of the Supreme Court (General Civil Procedure) Rules 2015 (Chapter I Rules) sets out which matters are required to be filed on RedCrest. These include proceedings initiated in the:
- Commercial Lists;
- Corporations List;
- Technology, Engineering and Construction (TEC) List;
- Intellectual Property (IP) List and;
- Insurance List (Note: matters are to be filed on RedCrest by following the 'Guidelines' on the Insurance List page).
Admiralty, Arbitration and Taxation matters are not currently listed under Order 28A. In addition, matters which fall within the jurisdiction of Associate Judges are not presently intended to be filed on RedCrest.
Pursuant to Rule 28A.04(3) of the Supreme Court (RedCrest Electronic Case Management System Amendment) Rules 2014, the RedCrest electronic court file is the Court's official record for that proceeding.
Group proceedings and high volume debt recovery proceedings (for example, those following a managed investment scheme settlement) should not be initiated on RedCrest without prior consultation with the Commercial Court Registry.
If you require assistance with filing on RedCrest, or have any queries generally about RedCrest, please contact the RedCrest Service Desk:
Phone: (03) 9603 6042
The RedCrest Service Desk provides support to the legal profession in relation to RedCrest proceedings between 8.30am and 4.30pm Monday to Friday. However, between Christmas and New Year (except for weekends and public holidays), the RedCrest Service Desk will be working standard Court hours from 9.30 am - 4.00 pm.
The Service Desk has also produced a practical, easy to follow, guide to using the system titled RedCrest - A 'How To' Guide for Practitioners.
Please also refer to Practice Note SC CC 5 RedCrest.
Practitioners are also invited to attend the Commercial Court Registry in person for RedCrest assistance if required.
Please note that RedCrest generates automatic first return dates between 5 and 6 weeks after filing. If for some reason you need to change that date (e.g. to extend time due to service requirements or to bring the matter on urgently) please contact the Commercial Court Registry on 03 9603 4105 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Matters to go before an Associate Judge are not filed on RedCrest with the exception of oppression proceedings referred under the pilot program.
Similarly, any matters in the following lists are not currently filed on RedCrest, but must be filed in hardcopy in the Commercial Court Registry:
These matters are to be filed in hardcopy at the Commercial Court Registry (for Admiralty, Arbitration and Taxation matters), or the Principal Registry (for Associate Judge matters).
RedCrest is the e-lodgment and electronic court file system for judge managed matters of the Commercial Court only. CITEC Confirm can be used by legal practitioners to electronically file documents for civil cases that would otherwise be filed in hard copy at the Principal Registry. However, fees apply for this service, in addition to the standard Court fees payable.
Documents for RedCrest proceedings (S ECI as opposed to S CI) should not be lodged via CITEC Confirm.
For more information about CITEC Confirm click here.
Case Numbering in the Supreme Court
An S CI prefix to a case number denotes that the matter is a hard copy file in the Trial Division. This could be for a Commercial Court matter, or a Common Law Division matter. Filing on these matters are to be in hard copy at the Commercial Court Registry or Principal Registry, or via CITEC Confirm.
An S ECI prefix to a case number denotes that the matter is a RedCrest matter initiated in the Commercial Court. Filing of documents on these proceedings are to be via RedCrest only (not CITEC Confirm). No additional fees are payable to use RedCrest.
An S APCI prefix to a case number denotes that the matter is in the Civil Division of the Court of Appeal. Any enquiries in relation to these matters should be referred to the Court of Appeal Registry.
In rare cases, where a matter has been initiated on RedCrest in the Commercial Court (giving it an S ECI prefix), but transferred to the Common Law Division, the Common Law Judge hearing the matter may elect to have the matter still managed on RedCrest.
The prescribed fees applicable to Commercial Court proceedings are set out in Part 1A of the Supreme Court (Fees) Regulations 2012(External link). Please also see: Practice Note SC CC 7 Imposition of Fees.
As part of the RedCrest filing process, you will be prompted to pay fees to commence a proceeding or to file documents such as a counterclaim, summons or subpoena.When requested please enter your credit card details and click the Submit button. RedCrest will process your payment and generate a receipt for your records.
Other payments, such as Hearing fees, can be processed via Pay My Account (External link) on the RedCrest Homepage.
RedCrest only accepts Mastercard, Visa and American Express credit cards and Mastercard and Visa Debit cards. There is currently no ability to pay your bill using EFTPOS.
All requests for refunds relating to RedCrest proceedings must be emailed to email@example.com in the first instance. Please include the case number, the payment amount, the date of payment and reasons for the refund request. Upon receipt of written approval from the Court, the RedCrest Service Desk will process the refund directly to the credit card used to make the original purchase. It is not possible for us to refund to a different credit card or to a nominated bank account.
The Commercial Court accepts payment of fees in a variety of ways. A copy of any notification sent to you by the Court should accompany any payment made in person or by post.
Payment in Person
Payment may be made in person, by cash, cheque or credit card, between 9.30am and 4.00pm, Monday to Friday at the:
Commercial Court Registry
450 Little Bourke Street,
MELBOURNE VIC 3000
Payment by Cheque
Cheques should be made payable to “Supreme Court of Victoria” and sent via post to:
Commercial Court Registry
c/- 210 William Street
MELBOURNE VIC 3000
Or DX 210608 Commercial Court Registry.
Payment by Credit Card
Parties can contact the Commercial Court Registry directly to pay over the phone using credit card facilities (excluding Diners card and American Express).
Requests for refunds (non RedCrest proceedings) are to be made in writing to the Commercial Court Registry. Your correspondence should include a reason for requesting a refund and, if possible, a copy of the relevant receipt. If you don't have a copy of the receipt, then you should reference the;
- Date of payment;
- Payment amount; and
- Proceeding number.
Your request will be considered and, if approved, your paperwork will be forwarded to the Court's finance team for processing. It may take 7 - 10 days for the refund to be processed. You can nominate for the refund to be processed as either a cheque or as an Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT).
Group and Voluminous Debt Recovery Proceedings
Group Proceedings (also referred to as Class Actions) involve claims brought on behalf of seven or more people arising out of the same, similar or related circumstances. Where the claims raise substantial common factual and legal questions of a commercial nature, these proceedings should be initiated in the Commercial Court, and will be managed and determined by a Commercial Court judge.
Some examples of group proceedings which are appropriately initiated and dealt with in the Commercial Court include: shareholder actions (securities class actions), managed investment scheme proceedings, commercial contracts, and those involving banking or financial institutions.
Voluminous Debt Recovery Proceedings often arise from failed managed investments schemes or follow the conclusion of associated group proceedings. A large number of these proceedings will require active judge-management.
Practitioners seeking to commence group proceedings should contact the Commercial Court Registry (CCR) for advice from the Commercial Court’s Group Proceeding’s Coordinator prior to initiation. The CCR can be contacted on (03) 9603 4105 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Please also refer to Practice Note SC GEN 10 Conduct of Group Proceedings (Class Actions).
Schemes of Arrangement
The Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) (the Act) stipulates the relevant steps and notice periods in seeking approval of a scheme of arrangement by the Court. Three listings before the Court, which need to align with the notice provisions, are contemplated:
- 1st Judicial hearing – being the application to convene a scheme meeting pursuant to s 411 of the Act;
- Associate Judge hearing pursuant to rule 16.6 of the Chapter V Rules; and
- 2nd Judicial hearing – being the application to approve the scheme pursuant to s 411 of the Act.
The applications above are initiated by way of Originating Process on RedCrest(external link). However, due to the fact that three listings are required which are time sensitive, practitioners are asked to contact an Assistant Registrar in the Commercial Court Registry in advance to arrange the first and second Judicial hearings (by telephone (03) 9603 4105) and to contact the AsJ Corporations’ Associates to arrange the rule 16.6 Associate Judge inquiry hearing.
Once all hearings have been arranged, the Commercial Court Registry will email you to confirm the listings and you may proceed to file the Originating Process. The Commercial Court Registry’s email will ask you to serve a copy of the email with the Originating Process and to ignore the automatic return date generated by RedCrest.
An operation or project name may be used in communications with the Court up until the point of filing when the Applicant corporation will necessarily be identified.
Please also refer to Practice Note SC CC 5 RedCrest regarding the filing of confidential and/or commercially sensitive documents.
Self Represented Litigants
The Court provides support and information to people who are considering representing themselves in a proceeding before the Supreme Court.
Please note that, pursuant to Rule 1.17 of the Supreme Court (General Civil Procedure) Rules 2005, it is a requirement for a company that is the subject of a Supreme Court proceeding to act through lawyers.
For more information about representing yourself in the Supreme Court, and to contact the Supreme Court’s Self-Represented Litigants Coordinator, click here.
- Practice Note SC CC 1 Commercial Court
- Practice Note SC CC 2 TEC List Security for Payments
- Practice Note SC CC 3 Commercial Arbitration Business
- Practice Note SC CC 4 Admiralty List
- Practice Note SC CC 5 RedCrest
- Practice Note SC CC 6 Cross-border Insolvency
- Practice Note SC CC 7 Imposition of Fees
- Practice Note SC CC 8 Oppressive Conduct in the Affairs of a Company
- Practice Note SC GEN 2 Structure of the Trial Division
- Practice Note SC GEN 5 Guidelines for the Use of Technology
- Practice Note SC GEN 8 Appeals from Associate Judges
- Practice Note SC GEN 10 Conduct of a Group Proceeding (Class Actions)
- Practice Note SC GEN 17 Freezing Orders
- Practice Note SC CL 5 Professional Liability
Supreme Court Rules
- Supreme Court (General Civil Procedure) Rules 2015 (Chapter I Rules)
- Supreme Court (Miscellaneous Civil Proceedings) Rules 2008 (Chapter II Rules)
- Supreme Court (Corporations) Rules 2013 (Chapter V Rules)
- Supreme Court (Fees) Regulations 2012
- Supreme Court (Chapter 1 Judicial Review Amendment) Rules 2016
General resources for RedCrest include:
- Practice Note SC CC 5 RedCrest; and
- Supreme Court (General Civil Procedure) Rules 2005 (especially Rule 28A).
Notices to the Profession
- Notice to the Profession - Professional Liability Claims against Taxation Professionals
- Notice to the Profession - Changes to the Commercial Court Lists and Establishment of Insurance List
- Notice to the Profession - Updated Practice Court procedures (Commercial Court)
Practitioners should note that Acts, Rules and Practice Notes may change from time-to-time. Practitioners and other curt users are further to review the Court’s website more comprehensively, in conducting litigation in the Commercial Court.
Commercial Court news
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