More NPA logo with link NPA logo with link

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.

NPA Sub-areas

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.

Case Management

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).

Fast Track

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.

Urgent Matters

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.

See the list of the current Commercial and Corporations Duty Judges in each registry (updated daily) and more information on How to Apply.

Practice Notes

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.

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:

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).

Latest Judgments

  • 21 Oct 2019: Frigger, in the matter of an application by Frigger [2019] FCA 1730
    CORPORATIONS - application for leave to manage corporation under s 206G(1) Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) - application for order that applicants not disqualified persons under s 126J(1)(b) Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Act 1993 (Cth) - discussion of circumstances giving rise to applicants' disqualification - factors in favour of granting…
    Judge: Jackson J
  • 18 Oct 2019: Clarence City Council v Commonwealth of Australia [2019] FCA 1721
    COSTS - no reason to depart from usual order - no separate events
    Judge: O'Callaghan J
  • 18 Oct 2019: Davey v Dessco Pty Ltd [2019] FCA 1735
    PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE - costs - interim application by the respondent to review a costs order made by a registrar of the court - application of Bell Lawyers Pty Ltd v Pentelow [2019] HCA 29 ("Bell") - abolition of the "Chorley exception" - where a costs order is made in favour of a self-represented litigant who is also a lawyer - whether phrasing …
    Judge: Snaden J
  • 18 Oct 2019: Dudley (Liquidator) v RHG Construction Fitout & Maintenance Pty Ltd (No 2) [2019] FCA 1723
    PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE - 'mothership' unfair preference proceeding against multiple unrelated defendants - irregularity in commencing proceeding - declaration under s 51(2) of Federal Court of Australia Act 1976 (Cth) - dispensation from requirement that relief claimed arise out of same transaction or event or series of transactions or events
    Judge: Jackson J
  • 18 Oct 2019: Hamex Corporation Pty Ltd v Latrobe Street Ventures Pty Ltd [2019] FCA 1717
    EQUITY - application for interlocutory injunction - trustee of deceased estate alleging breach of trust by co-trustee - units in a unit trust held on behalf of estate - co-trustee of estate holding office as director of corporate trustee of unit trust - co-trustee also a director of a company holding units in the same unit trust, being a company…
    Judge: Charlesworth J
  • 17 Oct 2019: Bupa HI Pty Ltd v Chang [2019] FCAFC 180
    HEALTH LAW - proper interpretation and application of Medicare Benefits Schedule - claim by private health insurer under the Australian Consumer Law against ophthalmologist and his service company in respect of allegedly overpaid amounts - primary judge dismissed insurer's claim - appeal dismissed CONTRACT - whether insurer formed a "reasonable…
    Judge: Gleeson, O'Callaghan and Jackson JJ
  • 16 Oct 2019: Bonham as trustee for the Aucham Super Fund v Iluka Resources Ltd (Security for Costs) [2019] FCA 1693
    PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE - application to provide security for Respondent's future costs by providing deeds of indemnity issued by insurance or reinsurance companies - where quantum of future costs agreed during course of hearing - application to replace earlier sum paid into Court by way of security for Respondent's costs with deed of indemnity…
    Judge: Perram J
  • 16 Oct 2019: Commonwealth of Australia v Essendon Airport Pty Ltd (No 2) [2019] FCA 1694
    COSTS - whether costs should follow the event - where the Court did not wholly accept the submissions of either party - where it was claimed that the conduct of the successful party caused the unsuccessful party to incur additional costs - where the decision of the Court did not align with the valuation position put by either party - whether the…
    Judge: Steward J
  • 16 Oct 2019: Endeavour River Pty Ltd v MG Responsible Entity Limited [2019] FCA 1719
    REPRESENTATIVE PROCEEDINGS - application for court approval of settlement under s 33V of the Federal Court of Australia Act 1976 (Cth) - whether the proposed settlement is fair and reasonable - whether proposed litigation funding commission is fair and reasonable - application adjourned - leave to put on further evidence and submissions in the…
    Judge: Murphy J
  • 16 Oct 2019: Aromas Cafe Toowoomba Pty Ltd v Aromas Tea & Coffee Merchants Pty Ltd, in the matter of Aromas Cafe Toowoomba Pty Ltd [2019] FCA 1699
    CORPORATIONS - application under s 459G of the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) (the Act) to set aside a statutory demand - whether there is a genuine dispute about the existence or amount of the debt in the terms of s 459H(1)(a) of the Act - whether the plaintiff has an offsetting debt in the terms of s 459H(1)(b) of the Act - whether there is a…
    Judge: Reeves J

Latest Speeches & Papers


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.

All Subscriptions

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.