Hearings and reviews

You may need to attend several different hearings and reviews as part of your proceedings in the Planning and Environmental Court (P and E Court): a directions hearing, review hearing, callover hearing and final hearing.

The hearings begin once the party with the onus of proof (usually the developer) applies for a directions order within three months of the notice of appeal being filed. A directions hearing before a judge is then set.

Timings

Directions/review hearings in Brisbane are held on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday mornings at 9.15am. The court in which the directions/review hearing will be conducted will be posted on the display panels in the court foyer.

Attending hearings and reviews

All parties must attend all hearings and reviews listed before a judge or the court.

A party is any individual or organisation that has filed a notice of appeal, an originating application, an entry of appearance or a notice of election to co-respond. Property developers, local councils and other government bodies, businesses, home owners and residents affected by the case may become a party to proceedings in the court.

If it’s difficult for you to attend a review or hearing in person, you can apply to appear by telephone. To apply, speak to or email the judge’s associate at least 24 hours before the hearing.

If your case is to be reviewed by a judge and all parties wish to adjourn (postpone) the review, the ADR Registrar may adjourn the matter ‘on the papers’ if all active parties have applied and given consent by email before 1pm on the proceeding day (see practice direction 2014/02, rules 13 and 14).

The ADR Registrar will list the review on a later day instead.

In this case, you don’t need to appear on the original review day as long as it’s not a callover review and there haven’t been more than three adjournments ‘on the papers’ since the last appearance before the court.

Types of hearings and reviews

Directions hearing

At the directions hearing, the court issues a directions order outlining the steps that parties must take and time frames for doing so. A draft order is usually agreed between the parties beforehand and handed up to the judge.

Directions orders usually include a dispute resolution plan. This may be a 'without prejudice' conference chaired by the ADR Registrar or other means of dispute resolution.

Read more about alternative dispute resolution in the P and E Court.

Review hearing (pre-callover)

A review hearing occurs a few weeks before the final hearing and enables to court to check the case’s progress.

At a review hearing, the parties are expected to tell the court:

  • whether they’ve complied with the previous directions order
  • if they haven’t complied, why and when they will attend to the outstanding matters
  • whether the case will be ready for the final hearing.

If the parties haven’t complied with the timetable and/or the direction order, the case may be listed for a further review to check its progress.

Other reviews may occur if either a dispute arises between directions hearing and the callover (below) or a party makes an application to the court for another review.

If disputes arise while the trial is being prepared, we encourage parties to return to the court for a review so they can resolve the dispute early and prevent timetable delays.

This pre-callover review hearing precedes a callover hearing.

Callover hearing

A callover is a final review of the case. In a callover, a judge allocates fixed hearing dates for the cases that both:

  • are due to be heard in a particular sittings
  • have satisfied the court at the pre-callover review hearing that the case is ready to proceed.

The callover is usually held a few weeks before the final hearing. For example, many cases may be set down for hearing in Brisbane during February. At the January callover, the judge sets specific February dates for each case to be heard.

See the dates for the 2017 callover hearings.

Final hearing

If all steps in the directions order have been followed, the final hearing determines the result of the case.

Open communications

The core of our justice system is the principle that each party knows the case against them. All communications about the case must occur openly and in the presence of all interested parties.

Therefore, parties to proceedings in the P and E Court can’t speak to judges outside the courtroom or contact the judges about the hearing.

A judge’s associate may contact you about:

  • when a hearing will occur
  • when a judgment will be given
  • procedural matters.

Property inspection

If you think having the judge inspect the relevant land, buildings or area would help the court understand the evidence, let the judge know.

Contact the judge’s associate after the callover when you know which judge is conducting the final hearing.

Usually the inspection won’t involve taking or recording evidence.

Show the judge only those things that are relevant to the case. Additionally, avoid telling the judge anything during the inspection regarding your evidence or case, or the opponent’s evidence or case.