First court appearance

In most matters (except mining compensation referrals and appeals against land valuations of $5 million or less), your first step is to attend a directions hearing.

At the directions hearing, the court asks parties to clarify the legal and factual issues in dispute. The parties will usually be invited to a court-supervised mediation to help resolve or at least narrow the issues in dispute.

The court then makes orders setting out a timetable for the proceeding (a ‘directions order’). Depending on the matter and the issues involved, the order may include:

  • disclosure—where you provide a list of documents in your possession that relate directly to the matter
  • if the parties are relying on expert evidence
    • an exchange of lists of experts and their fields of expertise
    • meetings of experts and the production of joint reports
    • an exchange of expert statements (if any and only if necessary) relating to the points of disagreement identified in a joint report
  • an exchange of affidavit material and non-expert witness statements (if any)
  • a court-supervised mediation
  • a review date.

The court will also allocate a date for the final hearing.

You must comply with the directions order and be prepared for the final hearing.