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).
- 24 Jan 2020:
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission v Geowash Pty Ltd (Subject to a Deed of Company Arrangement) (No 4)  FCA 23
CONSUMER LAW - application by regulator for relief orders and pecuniary penalties against a company, its sole director and its 'national franchising manager' - where findings as to liability made - where findings of unconscionable conduct and breach of the good faith obligation made - where director and 'national franchising manager' found to be…
Judge: Colvin J
- 23 Jan 2020:
Epsilon Insurance Broking Services Pty Ltd v Liberty Managing Agency Limited (No 2)  FCA 20
INSURANCE - where insured covered by applicant under combined business liability policy and by respondents under management liability policy - where insured charged, convicted and sentenced for pollution offence following incident at site resulting in diesel spill - whether respective policies respond to provide cover for steps taken by the…
Judge: Allsop CJ
- 22 Jan 2020:
Crown Resorts Limited v Zantran Pty Limited  FCAFC 1
CONTRACTS - express obligations of confidence allegedly preventing voluntary communications with the solicitors for opposing party in litigation - primary judge followed AS v Minister for Immigration and Border Protection (Ruling No 6)  VSC 774; 53 VR 631 in exercising a discretion to relieve persons owing otherwise enforceable obligations…
Judge: Allsop CJ, White and Lee JJ
- 21 Jan 2020:
Scott Russell Constructions Pty Limited (in liq), in the matter of Scott Russell Constructions Pty Limited (in liq) v Queensland Building and Construction Commission  FCA 26
PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE - whether ss 24(1AA)(a) and 20(3)(a) of the Federal Court of Australia Act 1976 (Cth) have any effect on the competency of the application
Judge: Reeves J
- 21 Jan 2020:
Villani, in the matter of Bounty Mining Limited (administrators appointed) (receivers and managers appointed)  FCA 24
CORPORATIONS - application by administrators for extension of convening period for second meeting of creditors under Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) ss 439A(6) and 447A(1) - where investigations into companies incomplete - where administration complex - where receivers and managers simultaneously considering sale of business as a going concern -…
Judge: Perram J
- 20 Jan 2020:
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission v Trivago N.V.  FCA 16
CONSUMER LAW - misleading or deceptive conduct - where the respondent conducted an online search and price comparison platform for travel accommodation - where the respondent's television advertisements stated that the respondent made it easy "to find the ideal hotel for the best price" - where the website presented prices from a number of…
Judge: Moshinsky J
- 16 Jan 2020:
Swashplate Pty Ltd v Liberty Mutual Insurance Company trading as Liberty International Underwriters  FCA 15
INSURANCE - where helicopter damaged during transit from Mississippi to Sunshine Coast - whether applicant entitled to indemnity for repair costs under Aviation Helicopter Single Transit policy - construction of master slip, placement slip, policy wording and Institute Cargo Clauses A (2009) - effect of Static Cover extension - timing of…
Judge: Allsop CJ
- 10 Jan 2020:
Perera v Genworth Financial Mortgage Insurance Pty Limited, in the matter of Perera  FCA 11
Judge: Farrell J
- 7 Jan 2020:
Mandhan v Toyota Finance Australia Limited (No 2)  FCA 3
Judge: Besanko J
- 3 Jan 2020:
Campbell-Wilson (administrator), in the matter of Ceres Agricultural Company Pty Ltd (Subject to Deed of Company Arrangement)  FCA 4
CORPORATIONS - application by administrators of a company subject to a deed of company arrangement (DOCA) to extend the "Condition Precedent Satisfaction Date" in the DOCA - time extended
Judge: Griffiths J
Latest Speeches & Papers
- 19 Oct 2019:
Assessing the future: The challenge of running competition cases
Presented by Justice Middleton at the 17th Annual Competition Law and Economics Workshop, 'Competition law: The penicillin of public policy?'
- 26 Sep 2019:
The intersection of companies and trusts
Paper presented at the Harold Ford Memorial Lecture, by Chief Justice Allsop.
- 11 Jul 2019:
An Australian international commercial court - Not a bad idea or what a bad idea?
Presented at the Australian Bar Association’s Convergence 2019 Conference by Justice Colvin.
- 28 Jun 2019:
Case management & insolvency: matching rhetoric & reality
Justice Lee details the development of active case management in both Australia and overseas and discusses how the increased emphasis placed on the use of referees and referee reports as a ‘case management tool’ identifies a need for insolvency
- 10 May 2019:
Judicial cooperation in cross-border insolvency
Presented at the UNCCA Fifth Annual May Seminar, Canberra, by Justice Gleeson
- 10 Apr 2019:
The repeal of s 51(3) of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth)
Address by Justice O'Bryan at the LESANZ Breakfast Meeting.
- 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.
- 4 Oct 2018:
Litigation funding: access and ethics
Presented at the Academy of Law Lecture by Justice Sarah Derrington.
- 21 Sep 2018:
The rise of the international commercial court
Presented at the 2018 Hong Kong International Commercial Law Conference, by Justice Middleton.
- 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
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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.