- In 2016, the Federal Court established a National Court Framework (‘NCF’)to fundamentally reform and govern how the Court operates. The Court is now organised and managed nationally with nine key National Practice Areas (‘NPAs’) created.
- To give effect to the NCF and NPAs, new practice notes were issued: a Central Practice Note, NPA specific practice notes and general practice notes. The new practice notes took effect on 25 October 2016.
- This article provides an overview of the key changes to commercial and corporations practice.
In 2016, the Federal Court established a National Court Framework (‘NCF’) to fundamentally reform and govern how the Court operates. The Court is now organised and managed nationally with nine key National Practice Areas (‘NPAs’) created. All of the Court’s practice notes have accordingly been revised and reissued.
The Court still employs the individual docket system (‘IDS’). The general principle underlying an individual docket system is that each case commenced in a court is randomly or sequentially allocated to a judge of the court at the time of filing, who then supervises all pre-trial steps and hears the case when it is ready for trial. The idea is that by giving a judge ‘ownership’ of a case the judge then has the ability and incentive to exercise control.
Under the NCF, matters are now centrally allocated to judges based on the availability of judges with expertise in the relevant NPA and the needs of the case. However, once allocated to a judge it will remain with that judge for case management and disposition.
The NPAs of the Court are:
- Administrative and Constitutional Law and Human Rights;
- Native Title;
- Employment and Industrial Relations;
- Commercial and Corporations;
- Intellectual Property;
- Admiralty and Maritime;
- Federal Crime and Related Proceedings; and
- Other Federal Jurisdiction.