Hearings and reviews

COVID-19 Update

During the lockdown period, practitioners and parties are advised that, in order to avoid personal appearances for the hearing of directions hearings, reviews and applications listed in Brisbane, appearances on all such matters should be by telephone.

The party with the onus should email the relevant Associate a single electronic appearance slip recording all proposed appearances.  Having ascertained relevant details from the other parties. That email should also include the proposed agreed order or the competing versions of orders sought.

Any order should be sent to the relevant Associate by 4.00pm the day before the listed appearance date. The Associate will, upon receipt, email the parties with the details for telephone appearances.

A Planning and Environment Court drop box will be placed on the ground floor for parties to place material that may be relied on in court in the next day. The material will be collected by the Associate at 4.00pm each day.

Final Orders and Judgments over 2 pages long should also be placed in the drop box as the Associate will not be printing out large documents.

The above requirements override any other advice on the Qld Courts website regarding appearances in person before the Planning and Environment Court. These requirements will remain in place during the current, or an extended, lockdown period.

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 six weeks of the notice of appeal being filed. A directions hearing before a judge is then set.

Timings

Directions/review hearings in Brisbane are held at:

  • 10am every day during a P and E Court applications week; and
  • 9.15am on a Wednesday, Thursday and Friday in any other week which is not a P and E Court applications week. The only exception is where two application weeks occur within the same month, in which case directions/reviews will not be held on a Thursday during that month.

The P and E application weeks for the current year can be found on the P and E Court Calendar (PDF, 252.0 KB) .

The court in which the directions/review hearing will be conducted in Brisbane is published in the Daily law list after 6.00pm the day prior to the day the matter is listed.  The information will also be posted on the display panels in the court foyer on the day.

If your matter is listed in a court outside of Brisbane, please contact the local Registry for information on when directions/review hearings will be held.

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 12pm on the proceeding day (see practice direction 2019/01 (PDF, 143.1 KB), rules 17 and 18 regarding when the ADR Registrar may grant an adjournment).

If satisfied with the request, the ADR Registrar will list the review on a later day instead.

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.

The P and E Court Calendar displays the review hearing (pre-callover) dates for the current year.

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 sitting
  • 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.

The P and E Court Calendar displays the callover hearing dates for the current year.

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.