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Book Review: Annotated Federal Court Legislation and Rules Print E-mail

annotated-federal-court-legislation-and-rules-intro.jpgPublisher: LexisNexis Butterworths

Soft Cover version (1,834 pages)

Reviewer: Brian Morgan

For many years, I have been a subscriber to the LexisNexis: four loose leaf volumes of Practice and Procedure, which includes the High Court, Federal Court, Bankruptcy, Administrative Appeals Tribunal , Trade Practices and Bankruptcy.

There has recently been debate in our Chambers over the value of loose leaf subscriptions, given the annual cost. But, if you want to be completely up to date, there is no substitute.

One of my colleagues though, keeps relatively up to date by purchasing the bound volumes of books, such as ‘Annotated Federal Court Legislation and Rules’, and feels that it works for him.

I have reviewed many of the LexisNexis Annotated publications in the past but this one has to be the daddy of them all, extending to 1834 pages.

It is up to date as of September 2012 which is remarkable, given the amount of information contained in it.

If you have a practice which includes the Federal Court, I don’t know how you could conduct it, efficiently, without having access to a book such as this. Not only does it give you the Federal Court Act, but it also gives you, complete with very extensive annotations, the new Federal Court Rules and Practice Directions in a form which I think works very well for a busy practitioner.

I know that we can, now, readily ensure that our Act and Rules are up to date but these publications are worth the purchase price because of the quality and quantity of the annotations. In the case of the new Rules, given that they have only been with us for a short time, there has not, as yet, been the opportunity for the same judicial scrutiny as was the case with the old rules. However, the editors have industriously referred to the old rules and to the many judicial comments on similar rules and words and given us a useful source of reference.

It may be helpful to summarise what the editors say as to the major points of the new Rules. They are:

1. The language is simplified by the use of the active voice, the elimination of archaism, legalese and Latin expressions,

2. There is a new structure, which has done away with Orders and rules and replaced them with Chapters, Parts and Divisions.

3. They tend not to focus on what the Court must or may do, but what the parties must or may do.

4. Parties continue to be referred to as “applicant” and “respondent” except in Corporations and Admiralty jurisdictions in which case they are “plaintiff” and “defendant”.

5. Not all the Rules have been revised.

6. The Rules emphasise that the Court is the manager and controller of proceedings, not the parties.

7. No longer do we have prescribed forms, but forms approved by the Chief Justice.

8. Proceedings under the Admiralty Act are now governed by Admiralty Rules, which have not been revised.

Practice in the Federal Court is enjoyable once one gains familiarity with a different set of rules and procedures. Too many people avoid practice in this Court due to lack of that necessary familiarity.

I commend LexisNexis and the authors for simplifying the means of gaining an understanding of this Act and Rules in a way that every practitioner will frequently use and find of great value.

Brian Morgan

7th Floor, Inns of Court, Brisbane

11th June 2013

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