About this NPA
The Commercial and Corporations National Practice Area (NPA) covers:
- commercial contract disputes
- disputes concerning the conduct of corporations and their officers
- financial and transactional disputes
- insurance disputes
- all insolvency matters, both corporate and personal
- commercial class actions
- consumer claims (including Regulator claims)
- competition matters (including Economic Regulator-related matters)
- international commercial arbitration disputes.
This NPA consists of six Sub-areas and each has a dedicated group of judges with expertise in that Sub-area:
- Commercial Contracts, Banking, Finance and Insurance Sub-area includes commercial contracts and matters relating to insurance, banking, finance and commercial transactional disputes
- Corporations and Corporate Insolvency Sub-area includes Corporations List matters, such as:
- the appointment or conduct of liquidators
- corporate insolvency matters, such as voidable transactions, extending of convening periods and cross-border insolvency
- schemes of arrangement
- shareholder oppression actions
- Australian Securities and Investments Commission actions, such as the approval of director appointments, winding up of companies, fundraising matters, corporate management and misconduct by company officers
- corporations matters referred to a Judge by a Judicial Registrar.
- General and Personal Insolvency Sub-area includes bankruptcy matters referred to a Judge by a Judicial Registrar and personal insolvency matters, including:
- applications by trustees in the management of bankrupt estates
- applications by bankrupts contesting decisions of a trustee
- applications for annulment of bankruptcy.
- Regulator and Consumer Protection Sub-area includes:
- consumer-related matters such as misleading and deceptive conduct, unconscionable conduct, unfair commercial practices, product liability matters and false advertising
- Australian Consumer Law actions by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.
- Economic Regulator, Competition and Access Sub-area includes:
- matters concerning anti-competitive conduct, including cartel matters (civil), mergers, misuse of market power and exclusive dealing
- competition actions by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission
- infrastructure access and regulatory pricing.
- International Commercial Arbitration Sub-area which covers matters concerning international contractual disputes under the International Arbitration Act 1974 (Cth) including:
- scope of jurisdiction of an arbitral tribunal
- stay applications and setting aside arbitral awards
- enforcement of a foreign award or arbitral award
- appointment or termination of appointment of an arbitrator
- enforcement issues pursuant to the UNCITRAL Model Law.
This is a general guide to the types of matters in each Sub-area and is not intended to be exhaustive.
The Court is of the view that case management should reflect a practical business-like method of resolving a problem that eliminates unnecessary process-driven costs. It expects, particularly in commercial matters, that parties and their lawyers approach the litigation in a thoughtful, practical and common-sense way.
To facilitate this, the Court is encouraging:
- new mechanisms, such as the “concise statement method”, to expedite the commencement of commercial disputes
- tailored case management, to ensure the matter is managed in the manner best suited to its character and needs
- targeted document production and evidence procedures, such as “the Redfern Discovery Procedure” and the “Memorial Procedure”
Expediting a commercial dispute – Concise Statement Method
Under the NCF reforms and new practice documents, you may now seek to expedite your hearing process by any of the expedited processes available, including by way of the new “concise statement method”.
The Court anticipates that the majority of Commercial and Corporations matters will be assisted by being commenced with a concise statement. For details about the concise statement method see the National Court Framework webpage and the Central Practice Note (CPN-1) and Commercial and Corporations Practice Note (C&C-1).
The former Fast Track mechanisms permitted parties to seek a quicker or more truncated hearing process than usually available and to use less formal pleadings. The Fast Track procedure was effectively a commercial list procedure and such a procedure, or other effective and commercially sensible methods of commencing or expediting proceedings or introducing informal pleadings processes, remains open to the parties in this NPA. The procedure for the Fast Track mechanisms are set out in the former Practice Note: CM8 - Fast Track.
If a Fast Track or other expedited proceeding process is appropriate, the Court will attempt to provide a judge who has the necessary time available to devote to an expedited process and hearing.
Case management imperatives - first case management hearing
The first case management hearing is integral to the case management of a commercial matter, with the aim of identifying the issues in the matter at the earliest possible stage.
The Court expects that prior to the first case management hearing parties will consider and discuss with the other parties the “case management imperatives”, which are set out in the Court’s Central Practice Note, with some additional specific imperatives set out in the Commercial and Corporations Practice Note.
The case management imperatives that the Court expects parties to have considered include:
- identifying and narrowing the issues in dispute and making appropriate admissions in relation to the facts and matters which are not seriously in dispute
- considering any alternative dispute resolution, including mediation
- considering if any issues can be dealt with separately – such as preliminary issues of fact and law, or liability and quantum or penalty
- considering if expert evidence is required and if so, how best to put forward evidence – ie. by affidavit, statement, oral evidence or a combination
- discussing how to eliminate or reduce the burden of discovery
- agreeing on the time for trial and how it may be divided.
The Court’s national duty system has dedicated Commercial and Corporations NPA Duty Judges who provide timely and proactive responses to urgent Commercial and Corporation duty matters.
Practitioners can liaise directly with the chambers of the Commercial and Corporations Duty Judge to ensure that genuinely urgent matters are heard as soon as practicable. An urgent matter can be heard at any time, including, for cases that must be heard immediately, outside of business hours.
All practice notes are to be read with the Central Practice Note. It is the essential guide to practice in the Federal Court in all proceedings.
Central Practice Note (CPN-1)
The NPA practice note sets out the arrangements for the management of Commercial and Corporations proceedings:
NPA Practice Note:
Other general practice notes and Court developed guides which may be relevant to this NPA include:
General Practice Notes:
Forms, Rules & Fees
Filing fees for commencing a proceeding in this NPA may apply. Information about Court fees, including the fees payable and circumstances where an exemption or deferral can be given is available on the Forms, Fees & Costs section of the Court’s website or from the Registry.
Commencing a proceeding in this NPA
Specific forms and rules for commencing proceedings in this NPA are available for each of the Sub-areas listed above.
In addition to the Federal Court Rules 2011 (Cth) (Rules), in the Corporations and Corporate Insolvency Sub-area and the General and Personal Insolvency Sub-area, the following rules apply respectively:
- Federal Court (Corporations) Rules 2000 (Cth) (Corporations Rules)
- Federal Court (Bankruptcy) Rules 2016 (Cth) (Bankruptcy Rules)
Subject to any specific legislative requirements relating to proceedings in any of the NPA Sub-areas, a Commercial and Corporations proceeding will generally be commenced by filing:
Parties should consider whether it is necessary to file a Genuine steps statement (Form 16) in certain proceedings in this NPA - see r 8.02 of the Federal Court Rules and the Civil Dispute Resolution Act 2011 (Cth) (including sections 6, 7 and 16).
- 13 Dec 2018:
Director of Consumer Affairs Victoria v Domain Register Pty Ltd (No 2)  FCA 2008
CONSUMER LAW - penalty hearing - contraventions of s 18 of the Australian Consumer Law (ACL) - injunctive relief, non-party consumer redress orders and publication orders - whether appropriate to make non-party consumer redress order under s 239 of ACL - not necessary to individually identify which persons are non-party consumers or the nature of…
Judge: Murphy J
- 13 Dec 2018:
McCann, in the matter of Walton Construction (Qld) Pty Ltd (In Liq) v QHT Investments Pty Ltd  FCA 1986
CORPORATIONS - winding up - voidable transactions - uncommercial transactions - purported agreements to "restructure" insolvent companies - agreements designed to benefit insolvency advisers - not reasonably commercial for insolvent company CORPORATIONS - winding up - voidable transactions - uncommercial transactions - identifying transaction "of" …
Judge: Derrington J
- 12 Dec 2018:
Easton v Kostov  FCA 2002
BANKRUPTCY AND INSOLVENCY - application to review sequestration order made by District Registrar - application for an extension of time to bring application for review - purported notice of discontinuance - non-appearance of the applicant for review (the respondent) at the hearing of her application
Judge: Robertson J
- 12 Dec 2018:
Jahani, in the matter of Northern Energy Corporation Ltd (Administrators Appointed)  FCA 1983
CORPORATIONS - application to extend the convening period for the second meeting of creditors under s 447A(1) of the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) - where company is in administration - administrators seek extension to pursue sale of company assets and enable a DOCA to be proposed - extension opposed by three unsecured creditors of the company -…
Judge: Farrell J
- 11 Dec 2018:
Australian Securities & Investments Commission v Westpac Banking Corporation (No 2)  FCA 1984
PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE - application for separate questions pursuant to r 30.01 of Federal Court Rules 2011 (Cth) - where proposed separate questions concern scope of assessment requirements under ss 128 and 129 of National Consumer Credit Protection Act 2009 (Cth)
Judge: Perram J
- 11 Dec 2018:
Agnish Pty Limited v Folio Invest Pty Limited  FCA 1992
PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE - leave to serve outside the jurisdiction - whether requirements of r 10.43 satisfied - whether Court should exercise its discretion to grant leave
Judge: Griffiths J
- 11 Dec 2018:
King (Trustee), in the matter of Zetta Jet Pte Ltd v Linkage Access Limited  FCA 1979
PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE - application for summary dismissal pursuant to Federal Court Rules 2011 (Cth) r 26.01(1)(a) - application to strike out statement of claim - whether reasonable prospect of successfully prosecuting proceeding CORPORATIONS - Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) s 588FF - whether plaintiff 'company' for purposes of s 588FF - whether…
Judge: Perram J
- 10 Dec 2018:
Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited, in the matter of Hawks (bankrupts) v State of Queensland  FCA 1982
BANKRUPTCY AND INSOLVENCY - application by a mortgagee under s 133(9) of the Bankruptcy Act 1966 (Cth) to vest certain real property owned by certain bankrupts in the mortgagee subject to conditions - where the Trustee in Bankruptcy disclaimed any interests in the property, with the consequence that the property is escheated to the Crown of the…
Judge: Griffiths J
- 10 Dec 2018:
Baker & McAuliffe Holdings Pty Ltd t/as JSB Lighting v Carey  FCA 1972
CORPORATIONS - where the applicant seeks an interlocutory injunction against the first and second respondents to restrain them from making direct or indirect contact with certain clients of the applicant and assisting in three specified projects - where there is a serious question to be tried - where damages are an adequate remedy - where the…
Judge: Markovic J
- 7 Dec 2018:
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission v Jayco Corporation Pty Ltd  FCA 1981
PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE - discovery - claims of misleading conduct and unconscionable conduct - whether documents sought relevant to pleaded case - whether discovery sought oppressive - discovery allowed
Judge: Murphy J
Latest Speeches & Papers
- 1 Nov 2018:
Opening address at the AILA National Conference
Presented at the AILA National Conference in Perth by Chief Justice Allsop.
- 15 Oct 2018:
The role of law in international commercial arbitration
Paper presented at the CIArb Inaugural Annual Lecture, Melbourne, by Chief Justice Allsop.
- 21 Sep 2018:
The rise of the international commercial court
Presented at the 2018 Hong Kong International Commercial Law Conference, by Justice Middleton.
- 30 Aug 2018:
The judicialisation of values
Paper presented at the LCA/FCA Joint Competition Law Conference, Sydney, by Chief Justice Allsop.
- 16 Apr 2018:
Commercial and investor-state arbitration: The importance of recognising their differences
Opening Keynote Address at the ICCA Congress 2018, Sydney by Chief Justice Allsop.
- 22 Feb 2018:
The common law and competition law
Presented at the Bannerman Competition Lecture, by Justice Jagot.
- 29 Nov 2017:
The personal property securities legislation - Experiences from Australia and New Zealand
Presented at the Personal Property Securities Act Workshop, Papua New Guinea, by Justice Collier
- 20 Oct 2017:
Certification of class actions: A 'solution' in search of a problem?
Paper presented to the Commercial Law Association Seminar "Class Actions - Different Perspectives", by Justice Lee.
- 1 Jun 2017:
Varying funding agreements and freedom of contract: Some observations
Presented to IMF Bentham Class Actions Research Initiative with UNSW Law: 'Resolving Class Actions Effectively and Fairly' by Justice Lee
- 29 Mar 2017:
Rules and values in law: Greek philosophy; The limits of text; restitution; and neuroscience - Anything in common?
First given as a lecture at a seminar of the Hellenic Australian Lawyers Association - Queensland Chapter at Brisbane on 29 March 2017.
- 16 Sep 2014: National Commercial Law Seminar: Commercial transactions in an insolvency context
- 07 May 2014: Things every commercial lawyer should know about judicial review - a panel discussion
- 18 Mar 2014: Personal Property Securities Act: beyond the transitional period
To stay up-to-date with news in the Federal Court, including developments in this NPA, subscribe to our email subscription services.
We provide subscriptions to the latest judgments and events (by NPA); Practice News to keep up-to-date with changes to practice and procedure; and Daily Court Listings.
Important note: This information is procedural advice only. You should seek your own legal advice about legal cases and procedure in the Federal Court and in this area of law.