Hearsay ... the Journal of the Bar Association of Queensland
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Making Civil Litigation Less Expensive Print E-mail

MEDIA RELEASE

DATE: 20 August 2018 

MAKING CIVIL LITIGATION LESS EXPENSIVE

The Supreme Court of Queensland has introduced new practices to make civil litigation more efficient and less expensive.

Experience shows that in many cases the real issues to be tried are not identified and narrowed until the eve of trial or during the trial. This comes at a great cost to parties and to the public.

Parties will be required to confer at any early stage to resolve or narrow the issues in dispute, identify the real issues and agree steps for their just and expeditious resolution at a minimum of expense.

Parties are directed to adopt a proportionate and efficient approach to the management of both paper and electronic documents at all stages of the litigation.

The traditional approach to “doing disclosure” results in excessive costs as parties search for, review, exchange and print too many documents. Parties are required to agree a basic document plan as soon as possible, and are encouraged to defer disclosure until the real issues are identified and a document plan that suits the case is agreed or ordered.

At an early stage, parties must exchange a limited number of critical documents, being documents which either help or harm their case.

Parties are expected to adopt a sensible and cost-effective approach to not requiring proof of matters which should not be in serious contention. A failure to do so may result in adverse costs orders against a party or a practitioner.

Parties are required to record in a suitable form:

  • a short summary of the issues to be tried; and
  • facts that are not in contention

They must develop a basic trial plan, which is revised as the matter approaches trial. A realistic trial plan will allow a matter to be set down for trial as soon as possible, and ensure it finishes within its allocated dates.

Practice Direction 18 of 2018 Efficient Conduct of Civil Litigation can be found here: https://www.courts.qld.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0007/579418/sc-pd-18of2018.pdf

The Supreme Court expects that the new practices and new litigation culture they create will improve the practice of law for practitioners and improve access to civil justice for all.

Ends.

Contact: Anne Stanford, Principal Information Officer, 07-3247 4119


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