How to file documents with the Court

Documents for cases in the trial division of the Supreme Court of Victoria can be filed in the following ways:

  • in person - visit the Supreme Court Registry at level 2, 436 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne

  • by mail - postal and Ausdoc details.

  • eFiling - legal practitioners can eFile all Court documents for civil cases using the online facility used by the Supreme Court, CITEC Confirm (External link).

How to handle certain documents

 

Civil Procedure Act certifications

Certificates are filed at the start of civil proceedings and when defending a claim. You will need to file certifications using:

Certifications with original signatures are required. Copies will not be accepted.

 

Affidavits

An affidavit is a written statement describing the facts of a matter to be used as evidence. An affidavit  must be sworn or affirmed as the truth before a person (a witness) who is authorised to administer the oath. Affidavits are often required to support an application made to the Court.

Statutory declarations are not accepted as a substitute for affidavits in Supreme Court proceedings.

Having your affidavit sworn or affirmed

To find out who can witness an affidavit refer to section 123C of the Evidence Act 1958 (External link).

If an affidavit is sworn outside of Victoria, for use in a Victorian court, refer to section 124 of the Evidence Act 1958.

Some officers in the Supreme Court Registry and Justices of the Peace are authorised to witness affidavits. Justices of the Peace are volunteers. Please call the Registry to check if a Justice of the Peace will be in the Registry when you intend to visit.

For more information please refer to order 43, chapter I, of the Supreme Court Rules 2015.

 

Exhibits

Exhibits are physical or documentary evidence that are brought before a jury.

All exhibits will be accepted with affidavits for Supreme Court proceedings. Copies of documents are preferred. The registry securely disposes of exhibits at the end of the proceeding, unless you advise otherwise.

Where exhibits are large, please contact the Registry or the judge's associate before filing to arrange for storage.

Where an exhibit is filed with an affidavit of service of a writ, the production of the exhibit will be noted on the back of the affidavit and the exhibit will be returned to you at the time of filing.

 

Pleadings

Pleadings are a series of written statements exchanged between the parties in a proceeding. Pleadings help to define the issues that must be determined by setting out and clarifying the claims and defences of the parties.

Pleadings include the statement of claim, defence and reply. They must be divided into numbered paragraphs with one allegation included in each paragraph.

Permission must be obtained from the Court to serve pleadings after the reply. In general, parties cannot make new claims and assertions that were not included in their pleadings, without the permission of the Court.

For more information about pleadings, refer to order 13, chapter I, of the Supreme Court Rules 2015; order 14, chapter I, of the Supreme Court Rules 2015 sets out requirements for the service of pleadings.

 

Default judgments

A default judgment is entered in favour of a party to a matter when the opposing party defaults or fails to fulfil their legal requirements.  

Who can obtain a default judgment?

For proceedings commenced by a writ, the plaintiff can obtain a default judgment where:

  • a writ has been served on a defendant, and the defendant fails to file and serve a notice of appearance within the prescribed time
  • the defendant has filed and served a notice of appearance but has not subsequently served a defence within the prescribed time.

The defendant can obtain a default judgment where:

  • the defendant has counter claimed against a plaintiff to obtain a default judgment, and the plaintiff has not responded within the prescribed time.

There are some restrictions on obtaining default judgment in specialist lists, such as within the Commercial Court. Please contact the Registry before filing a default judgment in these cases.

What documents need to be filed?

To obtain a default judgment you will need to file certain documents with the Registry, including copies of the default judgment:

  • In default of a notice of appearance, the plaintiff must file a request to search for an appearance and an affidavit proving service. The affidavit must display a copy of the sealed writ that was served on the defendant.
  • In default of defence, an affidavit that proves the defendant's failure to serve the defence within the required time must be filed.
  • In a claim for a sum of money and an entitlement to interest, an affidavit that sets out the interest calculations (in a format similar to that under rule 68.04, chapter I, of the Supreme Court Rules 2015 must be filed.

Do I need to appear in Court?

You can obtain a default judgment in the Registry and not have to appear in Court. However, in some circumstances (including claims for damages, or detention of goods) interlocutory judgment is entered by default and you will need to make an application without notice to the associate judge to quantify the damages.

Claiming costs and interest

Order 21, chapter I, of the Supreme Court Rules 2015 sets out the requirements of filing a default judgment.

 

Warrants of execution

A warrant of execution is used to enforce a judgment or order of the Court. There are three types of warrants:

  1. A Warrant of Seizure and Sale (order 69) enforces a judgment for the payment of money other than into Court, and directs the Sheriff to take and sell the property of the person bound by the warrant.
  2. A Warrant of Possession (order 70) enforces a judgment for possession, and directs the Sheriff to cause the plaintiff to have possession of the subject land.
  3. A Warrant of Delivery (order 66) enforces a judgment for the delivery of goods and a judgment for the delivery of goods or the payment of their assessed value. It directs the Sheriff to cause the subject goods to be delivered to the plaintiff or, if the Sheriff cannot do this, to levy the property of the person bound for the assessed value of the goods.

Order 68, chapter I, of the Supreme Court Rules provides directions on filing a warrant.

What documents need to be filed?

For a warrant to be issued, the following documents must be filed:

  • the appropriate warrant form:
    a. '68A Supreme Court Judgment for Debt' form
    b. '68B Supreme Court Judgment for Possession of Land' form
    c. '68C Supreme Court Judgment for Delivery of Goods' form
    d. A Magistrates' Court order ' a modified version of form 68A is available from the Registry.
  • a copy of the warrant for the Sheriff
  • where the warrant is to enforce the payment of money, an affidavit in support that has been sworn within 14 days of the request, stating:
    a. the date of the judgment
    b. the amount for which the judgment was given
    c. the amount payable (including any interest accrued and any costs) in respect of the judgment as of the date that the affidavit was sworn. It must show how the amount is calculated (each calculation should identify the debt, the interest rate and the number of days)
    d. the daily amount of interest, if any, which, subject to any future payment under the judgment, will accrue after the date of swearing the affidavit in respect of the judgment amount and costs (this is calculated on the balance of the judgment)
  • where the warrant is to enforce a Magistrates' Court order, a sealed certificate for the Supreme Court (issued by the Magistrates' Court).

See Penalty Interest Rates for the current rate.

 

Amending a writ

If the writ has not been served on any party the Prothonotary may amend the writ without an application being made. This rule is most often used to alter the names of parties. The statement of claim cannot be amended.

You will need to file with the Registry:

  • all copies of the original sealed writ
  • an affidavit stating that the writ has not been served
  • copies of your new writ to be sealed.

Each amendment must be clearly distinguished from the original document filed. You will need to add the endorsement: 'Amended Pursuant to Order 36.03', at the top of the amended document to show how the change was made.

Read about amending a pleading and refer to rule 36.03 of the Supreme Court Rules.

 

Amending a pleading

 

A pleading, such as a statement of claim, can be amended only once with the consent of all parties. Party names cannot be amended on a pleading document.

Each amendment must be clearly distinguished from the original document filed. You will need to add the endorsement: 'Amended Pursuant to Order 36.04', at the top of the amended document to show how the change was made.

For more information refer to rule 36.04 of the Supreme Court Rules 2015.

 

Amending a party name

  1. If the originating process has not been served, party names can be amended. See order 36.03 of the Supreme Court Rules 2015 and read amending a writ.
  2. If the originating process has been served on the parties, the party names can only be amended via application to the Court by summons or notice to produce.
  3. If an order giving leave to amend a party name is obtained, the amended originating process must be filed within 21 days (or within the time limit set in the order). You will need to add an endorsement at the top of the amended document to show how the amendment has been made. For example:
    'Amended pursuant to the Order of Associate Justice''' made on dd/mm/yyyy'. See order 36.02 of the Supreme Court Rules 2015.

Sealing documents

The Registry will only seal documents where there is a requirement to do so in the Supreme Court Rules, or at the direction of the Prothonotary.

Documents that must be sealed include:

  • all originating processes (except an affidavit commencing an appeal)
  • notices of appearance
  • summonses
  • default judgments
  • warrants
  • orders and judgments
  • subpoenas
  • third party notices
  • notices by one tortfeasor claiming contribution against another
  • heading and notice on counterclaims where defendant new party
  • certificates under the Service and Execution of Process Act Year
  • affidavits and notice (charging).