Australia: New Federal Court Proceedings to Permit Shorter Hearings
From March 2016, the Australian Courts will introduce a new hearing framework for insurance matters, known as the ‘Insurance List’, to permit shorter hearings for certain insurance disputes.
In November 2014, a new national structure for the Federal Court of Australia (Court) was announced, entitled the National Court Framework (Framework). The Framework aims to improve case management and achieve more effective use of judicial expertise in the Court. Part of the Framework includes the establishment of an Insurance List (List) to hear certain matters within the commercial contracts, banking, finance and insurance area.
The List will permit shorter hearings for relatively straightforward insurance disputes, particularly those involving policy interpretation or concerning the operation of insurance legislation. It is intended to be a forum where questions on relatively shorter issues can be heard in order to resolve disputes without the need for full-blown hearings.
List hearings will initially be run by the Chief Justice, covering both marine and non-marine issues, and will take no more than two hours.
The List will commence on 10 and 11 March 2016 in Melbourne (followed by dates in March and April in Sydney, Perth, Brisbane and Adelaide). The Court intends to provide a regular availability of hearing times for such short matters. Parties will need to provide a short statement at the time of filing proceedings, outlining why the matter should be heard in the List.
Australian law firms should be aware of the new List. If you are involved in such matters that you feel would benefit from being heard in the List, we encourage you to discuss this with the Solicitors you are instructing.
Further information on the List can be found on the Federal Court of Australia website.