Case flow

The case flow process helps the court identify cases that require a high level of resource support. The process also ensures that case files are managed comprehensively.

The process starts once a claim is filed in the registry. Case flow applies to all claims filed in the Brisbane registry since July 2012.

If an affidavit of service or notice of intention to defend is filed in the registry, the case flow process will begin for that case. Parties (lawyers and self-represented litigants) will be advised that certain actions must take place within set timeframes to ensure the timely completion of the case.

If this advice is not followed, your case will be referred to a judge who will make directions as appropriate.

Timeframes for lodging documents

The last review date for 2020 is:

  • Friday, 21 February 2020
  • Friday, 20 March 2020
  • Friday, 17 April 2020
  • Friday, 22 May 2020
  • Friday, 19 June 2020

(The above dates are subject to change.)

Any material to be submitted on case flow matters that are listed for review must be emailed to the associate of the case flow judge—and copied to the caseflow manager and all other relevant parties to the proceeding—by 12.00 noon on the Thursday prior to the review (e.g. notices of discontinuance, consent orders, requests for trial date).

Any information received after 12.00 noon on the Thursday before the review will not be considered and the matter will remain on the review list.

Practitioners and self-represented litigants are expected to appear at the review before the Honourable Justice Bowskill. Failing this, the matter may be deemed resolved.

Legislation and resources

Practice direction no. 17 of 2012 (PDF, 246.7 KB) (17/2012) regulates the case flow management of proceedings in the civil jurisdiction of the court in Brisbane. Case flow management - A plain English guide (PDF, 288.7 KB) is a useful additional resource.

The Uniform Civil Procedure Rules 1999 (UCPR) prescribe time frames and other procedures for parties/practitioners to progress proceedings to a timely and cost-effective resolution.

Below is more detailed information about this legislation and practice direction

Uniform Civil Procedure Rules

Rule 5 of the UCPR provides that the purpose of the UCPR is to facilitate the just and expeditious resolution of the real issues in civil proceedings at a minimum of expense.

It also provides that, in a proceeding in a court, a party impliedly undertakes to the court and to the other parties to proceed in an expeditious way. If that is not done, the court may impose appropriate sanctions.

Practice direction 17/2012

The purpose of PD 17/2012 is to ensure that cases are dealt with by parties, practitioners and the court in a timely and orderly manner so the real issues in dispute may be dealt with expeditiously.

PD 17/2012 applies to any civil proceedings instituted by claim in the Brisbane registry of the Supreme Court from 24 July 2012, except those cases that are on the supervised case list or commercial list.

The case flow management system sets time lines by which proceedings should progress to specific stages—for example, from service of the original claim to filing a defence and filing a request for trial date—and monitors the progress of proceedings against those time lines. If the parties do not adhere to those time lines, the court may intervene.

A claim goes into the case flow management system once it is served on a defendant and the affidavit of service has been filed. A notice of intention to defend must be filed or a default judgment entered within 28 days from the date of service of the claim.

The occasion for case flow management intervention arises if a request for trial date has not been filed within 180 days of the filing of the notice of intention to defend—or the last notice of intention to defend if there is more than one defendant.

In such a case, the registrar may call on the plaintiff by notice (CFM1 Intervention Notice) to show cause why the proceedings should not be deemed resolved.

Case management notices and proposing plans

Paragraph 5 of PD 17/2012 provides that a party must respond to the intervention notice (CFM1) to show cause in accordance with the requirements of that paragraph/sub paragraph.

Where the notice is sent

Notices sent pursuant to the PD 17/2012 will be sent to the email address provided by the party on the claim or defence or notice of address for service.

If no email address is provided, either, the first notice will be sent by mail to the address for service. A party receiving a notice from the case flow manager by mail must file a notice of address for service (Form 8) setting out an email address within 14 days of the date of issue of the notice.

All subsequent notices will be sent to the email address of the party.

Responding to the notice

When a notice (CFM1) is sent to a party, the party must respond within 28 days of the date of issue of the notice by doing one of the following:

  • filing a notice of discontinuance under rule 309
  • giving written notice that the proceeding has been settled under rule 308A
  • filing a request for trial date under rule 467
  • justifying the failure to file a request for trial date, and proposing a plan to facilitate the timely determination of the proceeding.

Proposing a plan

If the party proposes a satisfactory plan for the timely determination of the matter, the case flow judge will approve the plan and give directions in terms of the plan.

A satisfactory plan must be detailed and include a specific date by which a request for trial date will be filed. It must also include a statement acknowledging that, if the request for trial date is not filed by that specified date, the matter will be deemed resolved.

If there is no case flow plan within the time prescribed or no acceptable case flow plan, the proceeding will be listed for a case flow review.

If a party does not comply with the CFM1 notice or the case flow plan that results from the CFM1 notice, the proceeding is referred to the case flow judge.

Currently, the case flow judge is Justice Bowskill. If the parties do not provide a satisfactory plan, the court will impose directions on them for the timely determination of the matter, including a specific date by which a request for trial date must be filed.

If those directions are not complied with, the matter will be deemed resolved.

If a matter is deemed resolved, it may be reactivated by an application supported by affidavit material that both:

  • explains and justifies the circumstances in which the proceeding was deemed resolved
  • proposes a plan to facilitate its timely determination.

The court may reactivate the proceedings and give directions.

If the case settles

If at any time after a claim has been filed and served, the matter settles or is otherwise completed, other than by court order, the parties should notify the registry by either email to or letter.

This ensures that the file can be closed so the case flow management timetable no longer applies to the matter.