Supreme Court of Western Australia

Case Management of your Action

All civil matters are managed and supervised by a judicial officer – judge, master or registrar. The objective of case management is to finalise matters as efficiently and fairly as possible, which reduces the impact on the Court and on the parties involved.

Order 4A of the Supreme Court Rules, deals with the case management procedures used in this Court.

The following information sets out the key components of case management used in the Court.

1. Case Managers

Each matter is allocated a case manager who will become familiar with the matter and the parties involved. Most civil matters are case managed by a Registrar. More complex matters are managed in the Commercial and Managed Cases (CMC) list by a judge or master. Some actions, such as those including claims for defamation or asbestos diseases, are automatically admitted to the CMC list.

2. Case Management Conferences

The first step in the case management process is a case management conference, which is a hearing to deal with procedural matters.

When a defendant enters a matter by filing a memorandum of appearance, the case manager will set a date for the first case management conference, and the Court sends the parties a notice that advises the date and time of the conference.

Most conferences are held on Level 7 of the David Malcolm Justice Centre. There are display boards in the foyer of the building and on most levels that show what room is being used for a particular hearing. The court lists are published in the West Australian newspaper and on the Court’s website.

Each conference is given a particular time, so that in most cases there will be no waiting for parties or lawyers.

Who attends

All parties and their lawyers (if they are represented) must attend the first case management conference in person. Permission may be given for a party or lawyer to attend by telephone if necessary and is permitted for later case management conferences.

What happens

It is not always possible to predict in advance what matters will be dealt with at a conference, and the case manager may stand a conference down (that is, adjourn it for a short time) for the parties to negotiate or discuss matters that have arisen, or how to proceed.

Generally though case management conferences deals with the following procedural issues:

  • Times for parties to complete pleadings
  • Third party or similar proceedings
  • Discovery and inspection
  • Expert evidence
  • Mediation
  • Date and length of trial.

The case manager is able to make any interlocutory order, case management direction or enforcement order that is fair and just to the parties in the matter. The purpose of the conferences is to assess the
matters’ readiness for trial but also to encourage the parties settle the matter and avoid the cost of a trial. The Court will strongly encourage all parties to a matter attend mediation hearings.

A matter will not be entered for trial until the case manager has conducted a full evaluation of the matter at one or more case management conferences.

What are pleadings?

Pleadings are the documents that set out the plaintiff’s and the defendant’s case:

  • Statement of claim (Plaintiff)
  • Defence (Defendant)
  • Counterclaim (Defendant)
  • Defence to counterclaim (Plaintiff)
  • Further and better particulars (Plaintiff & Defendant)

It is really important these documents are accurate and set out.

Last updated: 1-May-2019

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