National Administrative Notice NAT 1
Commercial and Corporations National Practice Area
Background to this Administrative Notice
1.1 The Court is in the process of reinvigorating its case management approach through the National Court Framework (NCF). As part of the NCF, the Court is realigning the case management of matters filed in the Court along eight specialised National Practice Areas (NPAs), including the Commercial and Corporations NPA. Information about the NCF generally and details concerning each of the NPAs and sub-areas are available on the Court's website.
1.2 The Court is commencing the roll-out of the NCF with the Commercial and Corporations NPA from February 2015. Other NPAs are expected to be fully integrated into the NCF by mid-2015. New Practice Notes in all NPAs will be developed and circulated for consultation with the profession. In the meantime, and until the final Commercial and Corporations Practice Note is issued, practitioners should apply the principles and requirements set out in this National Administrative Notice when dealing with Commercial and Corporations matters within the Court nationally.
Commercial and Corporations NPA
2.1 Within the NCF's Commercial and Corporations NPA, there are six 'sub-areas'. The sub-areas are:
- Commercial Contracts, Banking, Finance and Insurance
- Corporations and Corporate Insolvency
- General and Personal Insolvency
- Economic Regulator, Competition and Access
- Regulator and Consumer Protection
- International Commercial Arbitration
2.2 The operation of the Commercial and Corporations NPA will be consistent across the Court nationally. This includes the following key features:
- A National allocations system, with a dedicated group of Judges with special expertise in the Commercial and Corporations NPA who will be allocated Commercial and Corporations matters. A comprehensive list of all Commercial and Corporations NPA Judges nationally, and in each Registry, is available via the Federal Court website.
- An initial case management hearing will take place in the case management of all Commercial and Corporations matters to ensure that the matter is case managed efficiently, with a focus on minimising the areas of dispute, minimising discovery and evidence processes, and ensuring the matter is ready for trial at the earliest appropriate time;
- The Court expects all parties and practitioners, in accordance with the overarching purpose set out in the Federal Court of Australia Act (ss 37M & 37N), to participate in the case management of Commercial and Corporations matters so as they will be dealt with as quickly, inexpensively and efficiently as possible. This includes participating in good faith in alternative dispute resolution processes such as mediations and confidential conferences, which the Court will actively encourage and facilitate;
- Commercial and Corporations Duty processes will take place by practitioners liaising with Commercial and Corporations Duty Judges' Chambers directly, to ensure that genuinely urgent matters are heard by dedicated Commercial and Corporations Duty Judges as soon as practicable and with a view to addressing the special issues arising in each matter and the needs of the parties. Self-represented litigants will be directed to the Registry NCF Co-ordinator, rather than dealing directly with Judge's Chambers, in order to assist them through the application process efficiently. A list of the relevant Commercial and Corporations Duty Judges in each Registry is available on the Court's website. The daily contact information for applications to the Commercial and Corporations Duty Judge is available on the Court's website.
Corporations and Corporate Insolvency Sub-Area – "Corporations Matters"
3.1 The expression "Corporations matters" includes matters arising under or relation to:
- the Corporations Act 2001;
- the Australian Securities and Investment Commission Act 2001;
- the Cross-Border Insolvency Act 2008;
- transfers and amalgamations of insurance businesses under Part 9 of the Life Insurance Act 1995 (Cth) and Div. 3A of Part III of the Insurance Act 1973 (Cth);
- All corporate insolvency matters, but not personal bankruptcy matters.
Corporations Lists and Corporations Judges
3.2 All Registries Nationally will have a Corporations List and dedicated Corporations Judges. The Corporations Judges in each Registry are set out on the Court's website and on the Daily Court List. The Corporations List in each Registry will operate on consistent NCF principles for Corporations matters and according to the workflow and needs of the particular Registry. Information regarding the Corporations List, including the Corporations List Judges is available on the Court's website.
3.3 At the first Court date, which will generally be between 2 – 5 weeks from the date of filing, depending on the needs of the parties and the character of the matter, the Corporations Judge will either substantively determine the matter or deal with any case management, interlocutory or procedural matters that arise and explore the suitability of making a mediation order.
Registrar Corporations Matters
3.4 Registrar Corporations matters, such as winding up applications, will be dealt with in the Registrar's Corporations List. Corporations matters within the delegated jurisdiction of a Registrar are set out in Schedule 2 of the Federal Court (Corporations) Rules 2000. The arrangements concerning the regular Registrar Corporations List in each Registry, together with relevant contact information, is available on the Court's website.
Commercial and Corporations Duty Judge Matters
4.1 The following Commercial and Corporations matters may be dealt with by the Commercial and Corporations Duty Judge:
- any urgent Commercial and Corporations NPA matters;
- applications without a defendant, such as, but not limited to, applications under Part 5.1 (Arrangements and Reconstructions) and Part 5.3A (Administration with a view to Deed of Company Arrangement) of the Corporations Act 2001 and insurance business transfers and amalgamations;
- ex parte applications in respect of Corporations matters, such as abridgement of time for service, interlocutory injunctions, freezing and search orders; and
- any other application that may arise in respect of a Corporations matter that is not conveniently accommodated by filing a Corporations matter in the Corporations List in the usual way.
4.2 Commercial and Corporations Duty matters will be heard by dedicated Commercial and Corporations Judges. Commercial and Corporations Duty Judges will be regularly available to the parties for genuinely urgent matters based on a regular roster system.
4.3 Arrangements for hearing applications in respect of Commercial and Corporations Duty Judge matters should be made by practitioners directly with the Associate of the Commercial and Corporations Duty Judge and by self-represented litigants with the Registry NCF Coordinator. The daily contact information for applications to the Commercial and Corporations Duty Judge is available via Court's website.
Previous Practice Arrangements
5.1 This National Administrative Notice will remain in place until the final NCF Practice Notes relevant to the Commercial and Corporations NPA are issued. This National Administrative Notice revokes and substitutes, in whole or in part, the following Administrative Notices:
|Notice / Registry||Date||Title||Revocation|
|ACT 1||1.4.12||Administrative arrangements||Part 1|
|NSW1||2.8.11||Duty Judge Matters||Part 2|
|QLD 3||12.4.13||Listing of Matters Under the Bankruptcy Act 1966||Part 3|
|QLD7||8.10.14||Applications concerning schemes of arrangement under the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth)||Whole|
|VIC3||11.11.13||Allocation of matters in the Victorian District Registry||Part 4|
5.2 The following Practice Notes relevant to the Commercial and Corporations NPA (Corporations & Corporate Insolvency sub-area) continue to apply unaffected by this National Administrative Notice:
- Practice Note CORP 1 – "Interlocutory Process And Pleadings In Corporations Matters"
- Practice Note CORP 2 – "Cross-Border Insolvency - Cooperation with Foreign Courts or Foreign Representatives"
- Practice Note CORP 3 – "Schemes of arrangement"
5.3 All other Practice Notes or Administrative Notices that are not expressly revoked by this National Administrative Notice continue to apply unaffected and should continue to be observed. If any Practice Note or Administrative Notice overlaps in substance with this Administrative Notice, to the extent of any inconsistency, practitioners should observe the practice requirements set out in this Administrative Notice until the final Practice Notes are issued.
Enquiries and Contact Information
6.1 If a party has any queries concerning the practice arrangements in the Commercial and Corporations NPA, parties should contact their local Registry and ask to speak with the NCF Co-ordinator.
J L B ALLSOP
16 February 2015