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).
- 12 Jul 2019:
Genetic Technologies Limited, in the matter of Genetic Technologies Limited  FCA 1088
CORPORATIONS - ex parte application for remedial orders under s 1322(4)(d) of the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) (the Act) - where the plaintiff failed to provide a cleansing notice to the Australian Securities Exchange in accordance with the exception under s 708A(5) of the Act - application granted
Judge: Reeves J
- 12 Jul 2019:
Bechara v Bates  FCA 1077
PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE - application for an extension of time and leave to appeal - delay in commencing application - intervening application to the High Court - extension granted PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE - new argument not previously relied upon - new argument warrants grant of leave in the interests of the administration of justice - a question of …
Judge: Flick J
- 11 Jul 2019:
Crescent Capital Partners Management Pty Limited v Crescent Funds Management (Aust) Limited  FCA 1082
COSTS - application for award of costs on a lump-sum basis for costs of trial and two appeal proceedings - where Registrar had issued estimates in trial proceeding and one appeal proceeding - where bills of costs prepared in each proceeding - whether estimate for work done for taxation should be excluded - whether counsels' fees should be reduced…
Judge: Markovic J
- 10 Jul 2019:
Baron v Commonwealth Bank of Australia Limited (No 2)  FCA 1062
REPRESENTATIVE PROCEEDINGS - practice and procedure - two class actions - one open class action - one class action closed at its inception - substantially the same claims and causes of action- whether Cooperative Case Management orders should be made
Judge: Yates J
- 10 Jul 2019:
611 Pty Ltd (in liq), in the matter of 611 Pty Ltd (in liq) (No 3)  FCA 858
CORPORATIONS - application by receivers to use trust funds to pay for liabilities incurred in the course of the receivership
Judge: Yates J
- 10 Jul 2019:
Capic v Ford Motor Company of Australia Limited (Costs Forthwith)  FCA 1065
COSTS - application by respondent for dismissal of its application for anti-suit injunction - whether applicant should pay costs of application COSTS - application for costs payable forthwith - where respondent obtained multiple costs orders on various interlocutory applications - whether circumstances justify departure from ordinary rule in…
Judge: Perram J
- 10 Jul 2019:
Zonia Holdings Pty Ltd v Commonwealth Bank of Australia Limited (No 2)  FCA 1061
REPRESENTATIVE PROCEEDINGS - practice and procedure - two class actions - one open class action - one class action closed at its inception - substantially the same claims and causes of action - whether Cooperative Case Management orders should be made
Judge: Yates J
- 9 Jul 2019:
Ritson v Commissioner of Police, New South Wales Police Force (No 2)  FCA 1069
COSTS - where costs order in favour of the present applicant - whether appropriate to make a lump sum costs order in a particular amount - whether set-off against a costs order in favour of the present respondent in other proceedings appropriate - whether disqualifying delay in seeking set-off - whether set-off may amount to a preferential payment …
Judge: Robertson J
- 8 Jul 2019:
Gindalbie Metals Limited, in the matter of Gindalbie Metals Limited (No 2)  FCA 1066
CORPORATIONS - scheme of arrangement - application for orders to approve two schemes of arrangement - where low attendance by shareholders at the meetings - where late service on three shareholders - orders made approving both schemes
Judge: Colvin J
- 5 Jul 2019:
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission v Woolworths Limited  FCA 1039
CONSUMER LAW - representations of "biodegradable and compostable" made on labelling of disposable dish and cutlery products sold by respondent - identification of nature of representations - whether representations were as to "future matters" within meaning of s 4 of the Australian Consumer Law - consideration of meanings of "future matter" and…
Judge: Mortimer J
Latest Speeches & Papers
- 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.
- 30 Aug 2018:
The judicialisation of values
Paper presented at the LCA/FCA Joint Competition Law Conference, Sydney, by Chief Justice Allsop.
- 30 May 2018:
Access to justice in modern legal practice - what does it mean?
Presented at the TC Beirne School of Law Awards Evening by Justice Sarah Derrington.
- 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.
- 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.