This page outlines changes to the Common Law Division's case management processes and procedures introduced in response to coronavirus (COVID-19).

The Court encourages users to review this page regularly as the information may change.
Last updated 19 May.

The Supreme Court of Victoria is changing the way it operates in response to the coronavirus (COVID 19) pandemic.

To ensure the Court can continue to deliver core and vital services during the pandemic, the Common Law Division has introduced changes to its case management processes and procedures.  These changes include:

  • Trials that would have been heard before a jury will now proceed before a judge sitting alone, unless a judge adjourns the proceeding.
  • Trials will be heard using remote telephone or videoconferencing facilities for parties, counsel and witnesses unless a judge directs otherwise. Regional circuit trials will follow the same approach.
  • Parties will be asked to lodge electronic court books.
  • Judges may direct in-person hearings for essential matters with strict time limits and other directions. Social distancing rules will apply. Where in-person appearances are necessary, listing times may be staggered to allow for social distancing.
  • Practice Court applications and interlocutory and case management hearings will either be conducted via remote telephone or videoconferencing facilities or determined ‘on the papers’, unless a judge orders otherwise.
  • Judgments will be delivered without parties’ attendance.

Changes in relation to specific specialist lists and the Practice Court are set out below.

Practice Court

All Practice Court matters will default to being dealt with on the papers and, in addition to the usual initiating documents being filed, all parties will be required to file short written submissions in support of their relative positions, incorporating references to principal authorities relied upon.

If either party considers that the application is not suitable for determination on the papers and that an oral hearing is necessary, their submissions must explain the requirement for an appearance and the urgency of the oral hearing.  The Court will then determine whether the hearing will proceed and in what manner.

For further information concerning Practice Court procedures please consult the SCV Notice to the Profession - Practice Court.

Civil Circuit, Institutional Liability and Personal Injuries Lists

First and ad hoc directions

First and ad hoc directions hearings will be conducted on the papers unless a judicial officer determines otherwise.

Parties are expected to confer for the purpose of negotiating the relevant orders and to provide minutes of proposed consent orders.  If parties cannot agree on the substance of the orders, they are to provide the Court with details of the scope of the dispute and brief reasons for their respective positions. It is anticipated that orders will then be made on the papers but in the event a hearing is required, it will be conducted as a virtual hearing.

The Court has published a number of guides and information sheets concerning virtual hearings which can be accessed via the Virtual Hearings page. Parties are encouraged to read this information prior to the hearing. 

Post mediation directions hearings

Post mediation directions will be conducted as a virtual hearing unless otherwise advised. If parties have mediated and the proceeding has not resolved, they will be required to attend a virtual hearing and the Court will be in contact prior to the hearing with details of how to participate.

The Court has published a number of guides and information sheets concerning virtual hearings which can be accessed via the Virtual Hearings page. Parties are encouraged to read this information prior to the hearing. 

Interlocutory Applications

In the event parties are unable to reach a consent position and provide minutes of proposed consent orders in respect of an interlocutory application, the matter will be conducted as a virtual hearing and the Court will be in contact prior to the hearing with details of how to participate.  Alternatively, parties may request that the matter be dealt with on the papers on the basis of submissions and affidavit material. 

The Court has published a number of guides and information sheets concerning virtual hearings which can be accessed via the Virtual Hearings page. Parties are encouraged to read this information prior to the hearing. 

Final directions

Final directions hearings and call-overs will be conducted as a virtual hearing unless otherwise advised. The Court will contact the parties prior to the hearing with details of how to participate. 

The Court has published a number of guides and information sheets concerning virtual hearings which can be accessed via the Virtual Hearings page. Parties are encouraged to read this information prior to the hearing. 

Dust Diseases List

As per Civil Circuit, Institutional Liability and Personal Injuries Lists above with the following additions.

Pre-Trial Conferences

Pre-Trial Conferences will be conducted by videoconferencing software and the Court will be in touch with parties prior to the conference with details of how to participate.

Order 41 Examinations

Practitioners should continue to contact the Judicial Services Manager ( nyrggr.eraavr@fhcpbheg.ivp.tbi.nhua.vog.civ.truocpus@einner.ettela )  to arrange an Order 41 examination which will most likely be conducted using remote phone or videoconferencing for all participants.

Major Torts and Professional Liability Lists

First directions, ad hoc directions, post mediation directions and final directions hearings will continue to be conducted on the papers unless a judicial officer determines otherwise. 

First directions, post mediation directions ad hoc directions and applications

Parties are expected to confer for the purpose of negotiating the relevant orders and to provide minutes of proposed consent orders. If parties cannot agree on the substance of the orders, they are to provide the Court with details of the scope of the dispute and brief reasons for their respective positions. It is anticipated that orders will then be made on the papers but in the event a hearing is required, it will be conducted as a virtual hearing.

Parties are referred to the standard orders available on the Major Torts and Professional Liability Lists’ webpages. 

The Court has published a number of guides and information sheets concerning virtual hearings which can be accessed via the Virtual Hearings page. Parties are encouraged to read this information prior to the hearing. 

Final directions

Parties will be contacted by the case management team ahead of the hearing and will be asked to provide information relevant to the conduct of the trial e.g. details of outstanding interlocutory issues and witnesses they intend to call.  Should a party who has requested a jury oppose the trial proceeding before a judge alone, or proceeding remotely, they will be required to submit an Interlocutory Application Information Form and the Court will advise whether a formal application will be necessary.

Parties are expected to confer for the purpose of negotiating the relevant orders and to provide minutes of proposed consent orders.  If parties cannot agree on the substance of the orders, they are to provide the Court with details of the scope of the dispute and brief reasons for their respective positions. It is anticipated that orders will then be made on the papers but in the event a hearing is required, it will be conducted as a virtual hearing.

The Court has published a number of guides and information sheets concerning virtual hearings which can be accessed via the Virtual Hearings page. Parties are encouraged to read this information prior to the hearing. 

Interlocutory Applications

In the event parties are unable to reach a consent position and provide minutes of proposed consent orders in respect of an interlocutory application, the matter will be conducted as a virtual hearing and the Court will be in contact prior to the hearing with details of how to participate.  Alternatively, parties may request that the matter be dealt with on the papers on the basis of submissions and affidavit material. 

The Court has published a number of guides and information sheets concerning virtual hearings which can be accessed via the Virtual Hearings page. Parties are encouraged to read this information prior to the hearing. 

Confiscation and Proceeds of Crime, Judicial Review and Appeals, Testators Family Maintenance, Trusts, Equity and Probate and Valuation Compensation and Planning Lists

Parties are expected to confer for the purpose of reaching agreement about proposed orders and provide minutes of proposed consent orders to the relevant list email address.  

In the event parties are unable to reach a consent position in respect of directions or an interlocutory application, the matter will be conducted as a virtual hearing and the Court will be in contact prior to the hearing with details of how to participate.  

Alternatively, parties may request that case management disputes or interlocutory applications be dealt with on the papers on the basis of submissions and affidavit material.  

The Court has published a number of guides and information sheets concerning virtual hearings which can be accessed via the Virtual Hearings page. Parties are encouraged to read this information prior to the hearing.

If any party to the proceeding is a prisoner and a videolink is required, please advise the Court promptly.
 

Author
Supreme Court of Victoria
Publisher
Supreme Court of Victoria
Date of publication