Overview of the National Practice Notes

Practice Notes overview

Practice notes are used to provide information to parties in proceedings in the Court and their lawyers on particular aspects of the Court's practice and procedure. Practice Notes are issued by the Chief Justice upon the advice of the Judges of the Court pursuant to the Court's inherent power to control its own processes. In general, practice notes are issued to:

  • complement particular legislative provisions or rules of court;
  • set out procedures for particular types of proceedings;
  • notify parties and their lawyers of particular matters which may require their attention.

Categories of Practice Notes

The Court's practice notes fall into 4 categories:

1. Central Practice Note

The Central Practice Note (CPN-1) is the core practice note for Court users and addresses the guiding NCF case management principles applicable to all National Practice Areas (NPAs) and Sub-areas. One of its main aims is to ensure that case management is not process-driven or prescriptive, but flexible with parties and practitioners being encouraged and expected to take a common-sense and co-operative approach to litigation to reduce its time and cost.

2. National Practice Area (NPA) Practice Notes

Interlocking with the Central Practice Note are the NPA practice notes. Currently, each NPA, excluding the Other Federal Jurisdiction NPA, has an NPA Practice Note. Defamation is a Sub-area within the Court's Other Federal Jurisdiction National Practice Area. It is currently the only Sub-area to have a practice note, Defamation Practice Note (DEF-1).

Amongst other things, the NPA Practice Notes raise case management principles specific to NPAs and Sub-areas and can allow for expedited or truncated hearing processes and tailored or concise pleading and other processes.

Parties may also seek to adopt the processes set out in one NPA practice note for use in a different NPA, if appropriate.

3. General Practice Notes (GPNs)

Also interlocking with the Central Practice Note and NPA Practice Notes are the General Practice Notes (GPNs). These practice notes are intended to apply to all or many cases across NPAs, or otherwise address important administrative matters. A number of GPNs set out particular arrangements or information concerning a variety of key areas, such as class actions, expert evidence, survey evidence, costs, subpoenas and accessing Court documents.

4. Appeals Practice Notes

Further information regarding appeals and related applications is also available on the Court's website, accessible from the appeals page.

Guides and forms

In addition to the practice notes, a number of guides and forms have been developed to further assist parties and their lawyers. This includes:

Date of effect

All of the Court's practice notes take effect on the date that they are issued and, to the extent practicable, apply to proceedings whether filed before or after the date of issue. It is important that all parties and practitioners familiarise themselves with the Court's practice notes.

How to cite the National Practice Notes

As noted above, the national practice notes are organised into 3 categories: "Central"; "National Practice Area" (including any relevant Sub-area Practice Note) and "General".

Each practice note has been given a distinctive title designed to assist users in quickly and intuitively identifying the required practice note and a unique identifier, which varies depending on the category of practice note (ie. TAX-1: is the NPA Practice Note relating to the Taxation NPA; GPN-COSTS: is the general practice note on costs).

When citing the Court's national practice notes the rule stated in the Australian Guide to Legal Citation generally applies. The unique Identifier becomes the practice note "Number":

If the practice note is reproduced in a report series:

Court, Practice Note Number/Unique Identifier - Title of Practice Note, Citation of Report Series, Pinpoint.

If the practice note is not published in a report series:

Court, Practice Note Number/Unique Identifier - Title of Practice Note, Full Date, Pinpoint.

Providing feedback on Practice Notes

The Court's practice notes are developed following extensive internal consultation involving Judges and Judicial Registrars of the Court and external consultation with the legal profession and other Court users. In developing its practice notes, and other policy and practice, the Court's approach is to continually review its practice notes and procedures, and engage with the legal profession and other Court users on an ongoing basis. 

In addition, the Court welcomes feedback in relation to its practice notes. Please provide any feedback via email, addressed to the National Operations Registrar, email address: query@fedcourt.gov.au including a short summary of important issues that you wish to bring to the Court's attention and your relevant contact details. The Court will consider all feedback and acknowledge receipt of all feedback provided.