What are the aims of case management?
The key objective of case management is to reduce costs and delay so that there are:
- fewer issues in contest
- in relation to those issues, no greater factual investigation than justice requires
- as few interlocutory applications as necessary for the just and efficient disposition of matters.
The overarching purpose of civil practice and procedure and case management within the individual docket system is to facilitate the just resolution of disputes according to law as quickly, inexpensively and efficiently as possible - see ss 37M and 37N of the Federal Court Act.
The parties and their lawyers are expected, and have a statutory duty, to co-operate with the Court, and among themselves, to assist in achieving the overarching purpose. This includes identifying the real issues in dispute early and in dealing with those issues efficiently. There are no exceptions to this expectation because of the size or nature of the matter.
This co-operation requires parties (and their lawyers) to think about the best way to run their cases conformably with the overarching purpose.
The Central Practice Note (CPN-1) sets out the Court's expectations with regards to case management in the Federal Court.
What is mediation and when is it suitable?
Mediation is a structured negotiation process in which an independent person, known as a mediator, assists the parties to identify and assess options and negotiate an agreement to resolve their dispute.
A Judge may order for a mediation to be held in a matter as part of the case management of the matter. Usually (but not always) all the parties agree to this.
Any party can also request the Judge to refer the matter to a mediation, however, it is a good idea to discuss this with the other parties before making this request to the Judge.
A mediation is usually conducted by one of the Federal Court Registrars. It will involve all parties meeting in a conference room to discuss ways of settling the case.
Mediation can result in a speedy resolution of a dispute at minimum cost to the parties.
What if I need the Court to make an order other than at a case management hearing?
As far as possible you should ask the Court to make any orders that you need at the scheduled case management hearing(s). This will save you time and money.
If however, you want to request that the Court make an order other than at a case management hearing, or without the consent of all the parties involved in the matter, then you will need to start an interlocutory application by completing a Form 35 and an affidavit (Form 59).
These documents need to be filed and served on the respondent at least 3 days prior to the date set for the hearing of the interlocutory hearing.
Filing and hearing fees may apply.