The Commonwealth Parliament recently enacted legislation to ensure that people take genuine steps to resolve disputes before certain civil proceedings are instituted in federal courts. The Victorian Parliament has also enacted legislation that imposes pre-litigation requirements on persons involved in a civil dispute prior to commencing proceedings.
This new legislation will shift the initial focus of disputes away from the courtroom and towards settlement negotiations and dispute resolution processes before commencement of proceedings.
Parties in dispute will need to turn their minds to making genuine attempts at settling the dispute prior to any civil proceedings being initiated. The benefits of doing so could mean that disputes might be resolved earlier and without the burdensome expense of taking a dispute through the court.
What will constitute appropriate genuine steps will turn on the facts of each matter. Parties should seek appropriate legal advice at the commencement of any civil dispute to avoid costs orders being made against them by the court.View PDF