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Supreme Court goes commercial


Cite as: (2009) 83(03) LIJ, p.17

Victoria has a new judicial forum after the Commercial Court, a division of the Supreme Court, formally opened for business last month.

Victorian Supreme Court Chief Justice Marilyn Warren told the LIJ the new Court was created in response to calls from the legal profession and community for commercial cases to be managed more efficiently and cost-effectively.

“An increase in complex commercial cases and ASIC cases, combined with the current economic climate and expected jump in insolvency cases, prompted the Court to look at how commercial cases would be allocated,” Chief Justice Warren said.

“The Commercial Court procedures will be flexible to handle both complex and short trials.”

The move was also intended to halt the flow of cases to other jurisdictions, especially the Federal Court and the NSW Supreme Court, due to current delays for litigants in Victoria.

The new Court has introduced a docket system akin to that used in the Federal Court following urging from the Victorian Bar Council.

Generally, any commercial proceeding or corporations case may be entered in the Commercial Court.

However, cases that cannot be fast-tracked will still be managed under the existing Commercial List, established two decades ago as part of the Supreme Court’s Commercial and Equity Trial Division.

Five judges will form the new Court, headed by Justice David Byrne and including Justices Tony Pagone, James Judd, Kim Hargrave and Ross Robson.

The Court’s four associate judges are John Efthim, Simon Gardiner, Kathy Kings and Melissa Daly.

A briefing note added that directions in the new Court would be tailored and varied to suit specific disputes, which means the judges will seek to work with barristers to cut traditionally time-wasting legal practices.

“The Court will seek to ensure that the cost of and the work involved in any procedure adopted will be proportional to the issues and amount at stake,” the note said.

“The Court will expect that the lawyers will cooperate creatively in this endeavour.”

The Commercial Court will normally sit on Monday to Thursday, reserving Fridays for directions and applications.

For further information, see the Supreme Court website


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