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.

A number of members of the legal profession in the high risk category have raised concerns about the possibility of being exposed to COVID 19 if they are required to attend a pre-trial conference listed in the District Court building.

Accordingly, with the agreement of all parties, pre-trial conferences may take place outside the confines of the District Court building at a venue agreed to by all parties, until further notice. The venue should have facilities that enable the parties to break out into separate rooms and to enable a registrar to have a private discussion with the parties if and when a registrar is required to become involved.

In those circumstances it will be necessary for the plaintiff’s counsel to telephone the pre-trial conference secretary;

  1. to advise when all parties have arrived at the venue selected for the pre-trial conference;
  2. to advise when a settlement is reached;
  3. to advise when an impasse has been reached and/or the assistance of a registrar is required.

Shane Melville
Principal Registrar
17 March 2020

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.


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: 6-Apr-2020

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