Introducing the National Court Framework

Overview

The Court possesses a national and international reputation for jurisprudence and practice of the highest quality. The Court has earned this reputation by undertaking continuous improvement to its practices, processes and technology.

With the introduction of electronic court files, the Court has the opportunity to create a truly national court across its subject areas and to create efficiencies in case management. A national court structure allows the Court to organise the Court's work along practice area lines rather than the current practice of organizing the Court's work along Registry lines.

About the National Court Framework

The Court is in the process of reinvigorating its case management approach through the National Court Framework (NCF). The NCF has four main goals; to:

  • organise and manage nationally the whole of the Court's work by reference to the great subject matter areas of the Court's work;
  • organise the Court's resources to meet the demands of the broad range of work done by the Court;
  • develop the confidence of the profession and the community, particularly in areas requiring a degree of specialised skill and knowledge; and
  • broaden the base of judicial knowledge and experience in the Court.

To achieve those goals, the Court will restructure itself, broadly, as follows:

  1. Restructure the system of allocation of matters to ensure efficiency, national consistency and the allocation of matters to Judges in the most appropriate manner;
  2. Create, with consultation, new simplified practice notes reflecting the national practice areas, driven by a central case management practice note which offers guidance to parties, the profession and judges about critical aspects of practice; and
  3. Operate a carefully managed docket system to support judges and facilitate timely judgment delivery, with allocation principles taking account of workload management, practice area expertise, and the character of matters filed.

Update on the National Court Framework

The Court has conducted a public consultation exercise to seek feedback from the profession on the draft Central Practice Note, draft National Practice Area (NPA) Practice Notes and the draft Class Actions Practice Note. This feedback is being reviewed and considered by the Court.

Further public consulation is continuing with Practitioners' Consultation Forums in the Commercial & Corporations NPA.

Benefits for Litigants

The National Court Framework reinvigorates the Court's case management approach.

The benefits for litigants include:

  • Simplified practice and procedure
  • Access to judicial experience and expertise
  • Early scheduling conference
  • Enhanced facilitation of ADR (mediation)
  • Bearing in mind the interests of the parties, the Court will endeavour, where possible, to set a matter down for hearing within six months of the case management hearing
  • Judgment delivered within approximately 3-6 months of the completion of the trial
  • Encouragement of lump sum or apportioned cost orders at the time of judgment

Description of National Practice Areas (NPA)

The Court recognises the need for a degree of specialisation. This will be reflected in the NPAs and sub-areas. The subject matter areas of the Court's work will be organised under the NCF into eight National Practice Areas (NPAs) and sub-areas. The NPAs and sub-areas are:

National Practice Areas

NCF Presentations

Contact information

For further information about the National Court Framework, please email query@fedcourt.gov.au.

Updated March 2016