District Court of Western Australia

Civil Practice Directions and Circulars

Civil Practice Directions are issued by the Chief Judge and supplement the procedures set out in the Rules of Court. They impose obligations on the parties and their lawyers. Circulars to Practitioners are issued by the Principal Registrar and provide guidance about the practice of the court.

This Circular relates to attendance by counsel, solicitors, and parties at pre-trial conferences and mediations. As you are aware Circular 15 and 16 refer to the personal attendance of parties. Where such attendance is not possible then a dispensation is to be sought.

Following Public Notice 3 of 2022 - COVID-19 - Access to District Court of Western Australia (Open Borders), issued by the Chief Judge on 2 March 2022, all Pre-trial Conferences and Mediations will now be conducted via MS Teams, unless otherwise ordered by a judge or registrar.

Having regard to Public Notice 3, personal attendance is no longer required at mediations and pre-trial conferences, and no dispensation need be sought in each case

Accordingly, the following will now apply until further notice:

Pre-trial Conferences

All Pre-trial conferences are to proceed at the time allotted to them outside the confines of the District Court Building between the parties. This can be at a venue agreed to by all parties or via telephone, Skype, MS Teams or other video conferencing facilities agreed to by the parties.

Where a registrar is required

Where all parties have negotiated and have reached an impasse, or the assistance of a Registrar is required (for example, where the parties are seeking a Listing Conference), then a solicitor nominated by all other parties, is to telephone the Pre-Trial Conference desk on 9425 2793, advising that the assistance of a Registrar is required.

That solicitor is to provide the email addresses of each of the participants of the Pre-Trial Conference.

Each participant will receive a MS Teams meeting request via email from the Associate to the Registrar assigned to the Pre-Trial Conference. Participants join the MS Teams meeting by clicking on the link to join the meeting.

The Registrar will then link into the MS Teams meeting to facilitate the Conference.

Participants are requested to familiarise themselves with the Recommended Practice for Remote Hearings.

Where the matter is resolved

Where the matter is resolved, the parties are to file settlement paperwork through the ECMS (eCourts Portal). Settlement paperwork must be filed on the same day as the Pre-Trial Conference to enable Court record to be updated.

Where the parties agree to adjourn the Pre-Trial Conference

If the parties agree to adjourn the Pre-Trial Conference, a nominated party is to file a letter outlining the agreed adjournment date, or, where a date is not agreed, provide unavailable dates for the parties. The letter is to be filed through the ECMS.

The letter must be be filed on the same day as the Pre-Trial Conference to enable the Court record to be updated.

The Court will advise the parties in the event a proposed adjournment date is unavailable. Otherwise, the parties will receive confirmation of the new date through the ECMS.

Mediations

All parties are required to provide a valid email address and mobile phone number of all participants to the Court at Associate.Principal.RegistrarDC@justice.wa.gov.au at least 24 hours prior to the commencement of the mediation.

All documentation that the parties wish the mediator to have for the purposes of the mediation must be emailed to the Court, 3 clear days prior to the mediation. These documents MUST NOT be filed using the ECMS.

Each participant will receive a MS Teams meeting request via email from the Associate to the Registrar assigned to the Pre-Trial Conference. At the scheduled time, participants join the MS Teams meeting by clicking on the link to join the meeting.

The Registrar will then link into the MS Teams meeting to facilitate the Conference.

Counsel could establish a separate communication mode with their clients separate to the joint MS Teams meeting for confidential discussions.

The usual rules of mediation will apply.

During breakout sessions parties will be assigned to breakout “rooms” through MS Teams.

Registrar George Kingsley
Acting Principal Registrar
8 March 2022

Summary: The purpose of this Notice is to inform the profession of the Court’s intention to remove anonymization of parties’ names from cases involving allegations of historic sexual abuse where anonymization has occurred in the absence of an order.

Background

A practice has developed in the Court in cases commenced by originating summons and writs alleging historic sexual abuse, of anonymising the names of plaintiffs in the absence of a formal application. This practice has recently been reviewed and by Notice to Practitioners dated 4 October 2019 the profession was advised that as of 4 October 2019 a formal order from the court would be required if anonymization was sought.

Consistently with that background it is considered that a formal order is also required respect of those cases commenced before the 4 October 2019 and in respect of which anonymization of the party’s name has already occurred.

Current position

Accordingly the profession is advised that from 1 December 2019 the court record will reveal the full name of a party unless an order has been made. It will remain open to the parties to seek the appropriate order by filing a memorandum of consent pursuant to RSC Order 43 r.16.

Shane Melville
Principal Registrar
30 October 2019

The Court is to issue a new Practice Direction/Circular to Practitioners in the coming days regarding the process to be followed to have a plaintiff’s name anonymised in a civil action.

As from today, any plaintiff who wishes their name to be anonymised must seek a formal order from the court to do so. Any application is to be filed with an affidavit in support pursuant to Order 67B rule 5 of the Rules of the Supreme Court. Any application should preferably be made prior to the filing of the writ or at the time of filing the writ.

The Practice Direction/Circular to Practitioner will be available on the Court’s website www.districtcourt.wa.gov.au in the coming days.

Jacquie Kubacz
Acting Principal Registrar
4 October 2019


Last updated: 9-Mar-2022

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