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Court File Searches And Affidavits Are Changing

Please note

This news article has been superseded by a newer version published on 1 October 2021. Read the latest article

The Supreme Court of Victoria has new rules relating to court file searches and affidavits that come into effect soon.

These changes are brought about by the Supreme Court (Chapter I (Inspection and Affidavits) Amendment) Rules 2021, which operate to amend Orders 28 (file inspection) and 43 (affidavits) of the Supreme Court (General Civil Procedure) Rules 2015.

File inspections – What is changing?

Evidentiary documents, including affidavits, exhibits to affidavits, witness statements, expert reports, written submissions, outlines of argument and chronologies, will not be available for inspection until they have been read or relied on in open court, or for an application determined without a hearing.

Prior to a hearing or determination, parties to proceedings will be required to provide details to the Court of any evidentiary documents they intend to rely on.

There is no change to the process for submitting a file search request. However, there will be some changes to how documents will be made available upon a search. Further information on these changes will be published shortly.

Affidavits – What is changing?

Affidavits and exhibits will be required to be filed as a single paginated document with a maximum one exhibit, or bundle exhibit if more than one document is referred to in the affidavit. These requirements do not extend to affidavits filed with the Registrar of Probates, which remain unchanged.

New Practice Note and Notice to Profession

Practice Note SC Gen 20 Inspection of Civil Court Files by Non-Parties and Notice to Profession (Changes to File Inspections and Affidavits) have been published on the Court’s website, providing further details of the changes and how they apply in the Common Law Division and Commercial Court.

More information coming soon

Further information and resources will be made available ahead of the changes coming into effect on 1 October 2021 to allow Court users to become familiar with the new processes.

Published on 15 September 2021